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?