Leaving the kids at home

I’ve been leaving my eldest at home on his own for about three years now, gradually building up how long we would leave him. Not long after we started leaving him, we started leaving his brother with him too for short periods of time. His brother would have only been 9 at the time.

But we’ve never left my daughter.


Because three is a crowd. Theoretically, either brother would be perfectly responsible and able to look after his sister for a short period of time, but the reality is that three kids fight like cat and dog. (Sadly the lovely bond that formed between my eldest and my daughter after the panto has now gone again.) The reality is, I wouldn’t trust either boy with my daughter for long.

The school holidays make running difficult because of being unable to leave my kids, but now I’ve got my running mojo back, I really wanted to run over half-term. I keep saying to myself ‘another year or two and I’ll be able to leave them’. But they’re 14, 12 and nearly 10 for flip’s sake! Will that year or two ever come?

Then, over half-term, it did come.

My kids weren’t good at getting up and out, so I just thought ‘sod it’, I’ll just go out on my own. Only for short periods of time – a quick walk or running a couple of laps of the block. When my daughter didn’t feel well enough to go to the supermarket, I took my younger son and left her with her biggest brother.

The whole thing felt liberating.

Even though they’re not babies and toddlers, it’s still a lot quicker to get out and do things without dragging the kids with me.

When they were at home, they didn’t fight or get into any trouble, so maybe I’ll brave a bit longer in the Easter holidays.

And maybe, by the time the summer holidays come, I will have reached the holy grail of a long run by myself, leaving the kids at home.

After nearly 15 years, I think I’ve earned that little bit of freedom. Haven’t I?

What age do you think is right for leaving kids at home alone? Would you be happy to leave three kids together?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh, you have definitely earned it Sarah! It must be amazing to just get out and go for a run. That’s the stuff dreams are made of when you’ve got two tiny ones like me! I hope you are enjoying your new-found freedom!x

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    • Thanks very much! It’s the stuff that dreams are made of here too! I only dared do three miles – just a couple of laps of the block, so I was always very close to home. My aim is long half marathon training runs by the summer holidays, but we’ll see what happens! x

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  2. I share your pain somewhat – Obvs Betsy is 19 so she does babysit Syd from time to time and regularly has him for an. Hour while I pop to shops or something – but only recently have I been able to leave them if max is here too – because, like you describe, of the fighting. I went out for an hour last year in the late afternoon and had to come back because Betsy and Max had rowed to the point he was hysterical. Luckily since she went to uni there seems to have been a truce and for the first time I don’t worry about leaving them together – but it is ridiculous that it took so long! Hope yours reach a truce without one of them needing to leave home first!! Xx

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    • Thanks very much! Wow, I can’t believe they still fight at that age! I’m just not sure I can trust the three of them together for long. I could imagine my daughter crying on the phone and demanding I go home and I’m four miles from home and the only way I’m going to get back is by running! x

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  3. I leave mine at home on their own. We even go out in the evenings now for a good few hours and yes, it’s liberating! I know what you mean though about worrying they will fight but in my experience, my kids only fight when I’m there! I think it’s an attention thing. You might find the same. First thing in the morning is a perfect time though. I often go out and walk the dog, just for some space. The oldest two aren’t even up when I get back! Glad you found some time and space.

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    • It must be so nice to go out in the evening. That’s interesting that your kids only fight when you’re there, maybe mine would be OK, then? It sounds lovely to go out before they even get up. That wouldn’t be difficult in our house with the boys getting up around 11 in the holidays.

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  4. Arghh 15 years! Yes it’s definitely time you deserve some free time to yourself. Weirdly when my parents left us for a couple of nights we suddenly grew up a bit and didn’t fight at all. I was 18 at the time though 🙂

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    • That’s very impressive! My parents left us to go on holiday for a week when I was 17 and my brother was 15. We realised how hard it was to keep a house tidy, but we didn’t argue!

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  5. GO FOR IT! They will be fine in the house snoozing and watching tele. And if you have your mobile you can always rush back. Blimey…HOW EXCITING! x

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  6. I started babysitting on my own when I was 10, but that was in France and I think when I was growing up, things were a lot more relaxed than they are now. I haven’t yet considered leaving the little ones on their own, but they’re little (eldest is 7).

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  7. I totally get the liberating feeling Sarah, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel lol. We left ours together for the first time just before Christmas (they would have been nearly 10 and 13 and a half), for 30 minutes whilst we popped out. We have since left them a handful of times again for around half an hour. In my experience I don’t even think they looked up from their devices they were on, and probably didn’t even have a conversation together. Like Suzanne said they probably only argue when parents are around, and this is definitely true with my 2. Enjoy that new found freedom xx

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