would you let a 9 year old alone at the library? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Is it OK for a 9 year old to attend a book club alone at the library?
Yes. Sure. Why not? 119 76.28%
Hmmm. Not so sure 10 6.41%
Absolutely not. 9 5.77%
Maybe. 16 10.26%
The Proverbial Other 2 1.28%
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#1 of 109 Old 01-28-2012, 11:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i was shocked today.

 

the librarian at our local public library said dd could join the tween reading club. dd is a v. responsible 9 whom the librarian has not met yet. for those of you curious they are reading one book from the warrior series. 

 

she said i could leave dd there alone by herself to attend the club as long as she knows exactly how to reach me. 

 

i was ELATED at that (because dd wld be so excited and proud to FINALLY be allowed to do something by herself) yet a little shocked. i did not realise a librarian would allow a 9 year old to attend a book club by herself.  i always associate alone with 12 year old. 

 

i am not objecting. i am just fine with it. 

 

how would you feel if they said a 9 year old could stay in the library alone? irrespective of whether your child is ready or not. 

 

would  you find it shocking? i am in california. are the rules a little strict in other states. 

 

now at my college library, even though it has a children's section, children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent or adult. 

 

 


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#2 of 109 Old 01-28-2012, 11:44 PM
 
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I'm a little confused. You find it "shocking" that a nine yr old could be in a library w/o a parent? This past summer i noticed a local library (not the one in my town but a few towns over) had a note up with rules about unattended children, and i think it was something like under 12 had to be there with a parent (or perhaps older sibling)...i was "shocked" at that! I know that in the summer some libraries may have issues with parents dropping their child off for free "daycare" at the library but still...what have we come to that a 9 yr old couldnt bike to their local library and spend a few hours in a safe environment doing something we should all be encouraging (reading)?? Growing up i dont think my mother ever set foot in our local library but my brother and i would walk there all the time. I think if there is an issue with a child apparently "abandoned" for daycare, or a child being unruly or a child truly so young they should be w/ a parent (such as one not yet school age)...i think libraries should handle those situations on a case by case basis.

 

Do you live in a large city or unsafe area? I dont know that i would necessarily leave a younger child alone in a big city library but my city's library? Its about as safe as safe can get.

 

 


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#3 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 05:10 AM
 
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I don't find it that shocking. I have left my chidlren at 5,6,7,8 at theri sports programs alone and just drop off and pick them up, as has every other parent on their teams. Here, programs become "unparented" at age 3. I would find it shocking that at age 9 there would be an expectation that a parent needs to stay with a child at any program. As far as getting there alone, that is different. I wouldn't send my 9 year old to the library alone becasue it is really far, you'd need a car, but if we lived a block away I would consider it.

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#4 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 07:10 AM
 
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My DD has been attending her clay class alone since she was 4 1/2. Why would a structured library program be any different? My DS is 7 1/2. Our library is undergoing a big expansion and remodeling so it's being housed at a small mall across the street. I would definitely drop him off if he wanted to attend their book club. I'd be more likely to stay and read books with DD but I don't see a problem with him being there without me.

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#5 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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If someone told me that I would need to stay with my 9 year, I would be shocked! Our local library doesn't have rules about children being alone, or if they do, I haven't seen them. I know other libraries around do because of children getting dropped off. I have seen that personally when we used to live in another town close by, I witnessed children 5 and 3 being dropped off for the day with bags of candy and soda. My girls have been getting dropped off at sports programs alone since they were 3. I generally like to stay there for my 5 year unless it is gymnastics where the coaches know her and us very well. I am rarely around for my 9 year though and haven't been for a few years, maybe since age 6. She is capable of being dropped off at a sport at the door, getting herself ready, eating snacks, even doing homework there if I dropped her off early, and getting herself to the correct class and the appointed time, and she will be waiting for us when we come back to get her. She stays at dance alone once a week from 3:15-7:30pm. 


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#6 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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when i was nine i used to walk to the library (2 blocks) by myself.  or my mom would drop me off, and pick me up an hour later.  also in california, buy 20 years ago.  no big deal.

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#7 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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Around here kids are usually fine at all structured activities without a parent present once they reach school age. Unstructured activities usually like the kids to be 7 or 8 to be without a parents (things like open gym time). 

 

The assumption is that if they can be at school for several hours a day and be fine in a group setting why wouldn't they be able to do so for other activities, be it clubs, sports, classes or whatever.

 

I run a Jr Lego League for 6-9 year olds and I require a sign in sheet with a number to reach a responsible adult in case of emergencies, but would be shocked if parents stayed more than occasionally.

 


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#8 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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I'm confused--- will there be an adult present at this tween reading club?

 

If so, it's not unaccompanied: it's a class, with an adult leader.  My 9 year olds went to school and classes without me frequently.  I would not have dropped them at the library for an hour on their own, though just like I would have not left my children home alone for an hour at 9.  With another adult specifcially in charge of them?  No problem.  Around here, at least, most kids programs become kids only around 3-4 (swimming, gymnasitcs, arts & crafts, etc...).  When they are that young the expectation is that you are waiting nearby (especially for 30 minute classes) but it is fairly common to drop off school aged children at things like sports, scout meetings, etc.. and simply pick them up when they are done.


 

 

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#9 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 12:38 PM
 
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Yes, I would let my 9 yo be in the library by himself - with or without a reading group. And no, I would not consider it daycare, because a 9 yo would not be running around a library, disturbing others or making a mess. My 7yo wouldn't, so why would a 9 yo?

 

I leave my 5yo off at gymnastics and come back 45 minutes later. That is with a teacher. I wouldn't leave my 5 yo in a gym without any adult or teacher though. Nor would I leave my 9 yo or even 16 year old. I just don't think it would be safe having someone jumping on beams and bars without a spotter. But a library? Makes me want to chuckle. What could happen? Flying books or what?

 

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#10 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 01:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

eyesroll.gif.

Yes, I would let my 9 yo be in the library by himself - with or without a reading group. And no, I would not consider it daycare, because a 9 yo would not be running around a library, disturbing others or making a mess. My 7yo wouldn't, so why would a 9 yo?

 

I leave my 5yo off at gymnastics and come back 45 minutes later. That is with a teacher. I wouldn't leave my 5 yo in a gym without any adult or teacher though. Nor would I leave my 9 yo or even 16 year old. I just don't think it would be safe having someone jumping on beams and bars without a spotter. But a library? Makes me want to chuckle. What could happen? Flying books or what?

 


This is my opinion, for my family, but I just don't consider most 9 year olds responsible enough to be responsible for themselves.  As in, they could not take care of themselves in an emergency.  Because of that, I wouldn't leave them in a situation where they would need to.  If I knew someone at the library, I would be fine leaving a 9 year old there (with the understanding with the other adult that the child could come to them for help).  I just don't think it's generally okay to expect the librarian to do that. I figure that the recommendation (around here at least) for being left alone is 11 years old.
 

 


 

 

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#11 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post


This is my opinion, for my family, but I just don't consider most 9 year olds responsible enough to be responsible for themselves.  As in, they could not take care of themselves in an emergency.  Because of that, I wouldn't leave them in a situation where they would need to.  If I knew someone at the library, I would be fine leaving a 9 year old there (with the understanding with the other adult that the child could come to them for help).  I just don't think it's generally okay to expect the librarian to do that. I figure that the recommendation (around here at least) for being left alone is 11 years old.
 

 

I agree with this.  We have been involved with two libraries.  One is serving a larger community and has many classes a large user-base and I would not feel comfortable leaving a 9 year old there alone.  It's not that I'm worried about safety as much as how responsible he/she'd be with limited supervision.  A teacher or librarian is not a babysitter.

 

The current library we go to is a community place where they know you and your whole family and if you call to renew your books, they know who you are by your voice.  I would leave my child there because I know my child and we would have a lot of communication to see if it was working out.
 

 


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#12 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ah i should have better worded it.

 

this is in a big city at one of its huge major branches.

 

the 'shock' was because this is the first time i have to leave my dd alone. we have not done any classes where she would be left alone. i always have the 'not alone under 12" rule in my head. 

 

i never thought about it as a class. now that makes sense. 

 

but yeah she is allowed to wander the library alone as long as she behaves herself. 

 

i just have to change my mindset. its still stuck on rules of being allowed alone stage.

 

my school library which does not have any child friendly programs will not even talk to a child by herself (asking catalogue questions). 


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#13 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 06:07 PM
 
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I'm a bit confused still. Around here, at 3yo the kids can be left alone for story hour etc. (though some ask that parents stay in the building for kids in the 3-6 range). Definitely 9yo seems plenty old enough!! She's never been to a class by herself???

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#14 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 06:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I'm a bit confused still. Around here, at 3yo the kids can be left alone for story hour etc. (though some ask that parents stay in the building for kids in the 3-6 range). Definitely 9yo seems plenty old enough!! She's never been to a class by herself???


 

I just can't picture physically leaving the library while my 3-year-old went in.  It's not a daycare center. 


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#15 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 06:35 PM
 
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Wow! I have no idea where 3 year olds would be able to be dropped off for storytime or anything else, but around where I live, all pre-school programs pretty much say the parent has to be there (unless you are paying them to watch your child, i.e. parent's night out or something like that).  Definitely all the storytimes in my area would expect the parent to be right there (not just in the building). And even if it was an organized class like sports or gymnastics where the kids go off by themselves with a teacher or coach, the parents are expected to be close at hand - within viewing distance. No drop offs. Since I don't have a 9 year old, I can't comment on how I would feel about that age group, but I'm just shocked to hear about the 3, 4, 5 year olds.....

Sorry if I didn't really contribute to the OP's question - I just couldn't help but comment. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just shocked. :)

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#16 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I'm a bit confused still. Around here, at 3yo the kids can be left alone for story hour etc. (though some ask that parents stay in the building for kids in the 3-6 range). Definitely 9yo seems plenty old enough!! She's never been to a class by herself???

AHA!!! no way. NO WAY would ANY public library or book store here let a 3 year old be present without parent being RIGHT there. parent HAS to be accompanied with the child. 

 

a class yes i understand. but i did not think of storytime as class. i thought of it as parents present somewhere in the library as child attended book club. 
 

 


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#17 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:16 PM
 
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I live in CA.  I could see leaving my future 9 yr old in a class in a library while I wandered the library, but I don't think I would feel comfortable with leaving the premises while a 9 yr old was allowed to wander the entire library.  I have worked in a library, and I have seen many strange people that I would not feel comfortable being around my boys without myself present.  I have also had a man come up to me when I was working, about age 17-18, with a entourage of men standing behind him, tell me that if I was to "come with him" he would "take care of me" and  "give me everything I wanted." I was scared speechless but thankfully some male coworkers chased them out of there. 

 

In California, where I live, I would not leave a 9 year old alone in a place where no one is really looking out for them.  

 

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#18 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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meemee,  I've never heard of this "not alone under 12" rule before.  Is that a law in your state or something?  Or just your parents' rule?  When I was a kid that was not the rule, by any means.  When I was 8 I had a key to our apt and would spent the time between being dropped off by the school bus and mom getting home from work around 6 at home alone.  When I was ten, we moved and I had to walk or ride my bike to and from school (nearly 3 miles each way) on my own and then be alone at home until my mom got home.  I feel like it wasn't entirely abnormal back then  --  or maybe in some communities now.  My 8 yo has never been home alone for more than about five min, though, and he's told me he'd rather not even do that.  

 

I think I'd feel okay about leaving my 8 yo in that situation, but I probably wouldn't go too far.  A few mos ago I was leaving him at the Y for basketball practice and I'd take a walk while he was there, but I didn't feel terribly comfortable about it.  If it had been story time or art or something calmer like that I would have been fine, but I was always scared he'd get hurt and I wouldn't be there.  And then one time when I came back, he was on the bench, totally red faced and bleeding and I felt so bad!  Oddly enough, though, I think I might still choose to go for a walk.  I know he'd be taken care of, but I would feel bad for not being there.


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#19 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

meemee,  I've never heard of this "not alone under 12" rule before.  Is that a law in your state or something?  Or just your parents' rule?  When I was a kid that was not the rule, by any means.  When I was 8 I had a key to our apt and would spent the time between being dropped off by the school bus and mom getting home from work around 6 at home alone.  When I was ten, we moved and I had to walk or ride my bike to and from school (nearly 3 miles each way) on my own and then be alone at home until my mom got home.  I feel like it wasn't entirely abnormal back then  --  or maybe in some communities now.  My 8 yo has never been home alone for more than about five min, though, and he's told me he'd rather not even do that.  

 

I think I'd feel okay about leaving my 8 yo in that situation, but I probably wouldn't go too far.  A few mos ago I was leaving him at the Y for basketball practice and I'd take a walk while he was there, but I didn't feel terribly comfortable about it.  If it had been story time or art or something calmer like that I would have been fine, but I was always scared he'd get hurt and I wouldn't be there.  And then one time when I came back, he was on the bench, totally red faced and bleeding and I felt so bad!  Oddly enough, though, I think I might still choose to go for a walk.  I know he'd be taken care of, but I would feel bad for not being there.



I know you weren't addressing me, but I have seen the 12 and under rule all over the place.  In the malls, any place there is a "play area" or rest station, the ice rink, the parks...  I live close to a major city, though. Maybe that's why?


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#20 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBombMama View Post



I know you weren't addressing me, but I have seen the 12 and under rule all over the place.  In the malls, any place there is a "play area" or rest station, the ice rink, the parks...  I live close to a major city, though. Maybe that's why?



Weird!  I have never noticed that.  But may be it just hasn't registered because I'm pretty far from thinking of leaving him.  


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#21 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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Yes, when my DS was 9 he was left at the library for programs and activities.  Now at 11 he is allowed to bike to the library by himself. (almost 2 miles each way- this is the distance he would need to travel to get to school if not homeschooled).  DS started taking classes at the library around age 5-6 and I would stay in a different part of the library until he was about 7 or so.  From 7-9 I would vary between drop off and staying.  Now I am fully comfortable doing drop offs but I like to stay because that hour gives me time to browse the shelves, read, do paper work etc.  However I have no issues with DS in the library etc.

 

Our library has a sign up that says 'children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by an adult'.  This means you can not drop your kiddo off for the day etc.  The librarian is not a babysitter, however you do not need to stay for programs etc.


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#22 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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jayne yeah there are posts in a lot of places that specifically say what cherrybombmama said.

 

dd has been home for long periods of time - but always with the neighbors knowing.

 

she has been asleep, woke up - got herself breakfast (without turning on the stove but used a knife), got herself ready and then played games online and finished homework. she already knew from teh night before she would be alone and i left her a note. i was 10 mins away. 

 

i mean i am not too happy about leaving her alone (not fearful about her but more about neighbors adn CPS). but its something she asks for. and is ok being on her own. 

 

she has emergency knowledge and is a pretty responsible and careful child. 

 

the library is one block away across a fairly busy main street. but the good news is it has lights and crosswalks. so she can even walk over there on her own. we've spent a lot of time on the road since she was 2 so she has excellent road safety knowledge. so i have full confidence in her. however i fear what the police or other adults will say. 

 

its  because of the 12 year rules i dont take for granted that dd can be alone. 


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#23 of 109 Old 01-29-2012, 10:15 PM
 
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But in this instance, she isn't alone. She's with a librarian.

 

Our state has no laws about leaving kids home alone. We started to leave ds home alone for very short periods at 9, he took a Red Cross class about what to do when you're home alone, and at 10, I'm comfortable leaving him for a couple of hours. He enjoys the time to play uninterrupted Wii. We lock the doors and he knows how to get ahold of us, and which neighbors to go to if there's a problem. He won't answer the door, and he can't have friends over. So the "not alone until 12" would be a major pain for us. He really does not want to be dragged to his sister's choir, piano, etc. etc .


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#24 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 06:14 AM
 
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I just can't picture physically leaving the library while my 3-year-old went in.  It's not a daycare center. 
Only for story time or whatever, you can't just drop off a 3yo, you'd walk them to the story time and pick them up as soon as it's over. Age 8 is when you can just drop them off to wander unattended at the library near us.
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Wow! I have no idea where 3 year olds would be able to be dropped off for storytime or anything else, but around where I live, all pre-school programs pretty much say the parent has to be there (unless you are paying them to watch your child, i.e. parent's night out or something like that).  Definitely all the storytimes in my area would expect the parent to be right there (not just in the building). And even if it was an organized class like sports or gymnastics where the kids go off by themselves with a teacher or coach, the parents are expected to be close at hand - within viewing distance. No drop offs. Since I don't have a 9 year old, I can't comment on how I would feel about that age group, but I'm just shocked to hear about the 3, 4, 5 year olds.....
Sorry if I didn't really contribute to the OP's question - I just couldn't help but comment. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just shocked. smile.gif

That's interesting, maybe it's a regional thing? My DS is just about 3 and lots of the things he & his friends have been going to are suddenly parent-free (as long as they are potty trained). Story time, yoga class, music class, gymnastics... some require parents to stay in the building & others expect or require parents to leave. In fact, we aren't going to some of our previous activities because I don't feel DS is ready to go alone yet and I too can't imagine physically leaving him there at this age so we are sticking to parent-child activities.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#25 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 06:19 AM
 
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I'm in a small town, but my 9-year-old rides her bike alone to the library in good weather, so yeah I guess so.

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#26 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 06:24 AM
 
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double post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#27 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 06:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

The rule at our library is children under 10 are supposed to be supervised by an adult or responsible sibling.  I understand the reasoning for the rule -  it is not my job to watch kids.  

 

I must admit I (who work at a library) turn a blind eye to responsible 9 year olds who are alone, though.

 

Some storytimes in this area are parent participation - those that aren't do expect parents or siblings to stay on site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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#28 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 06:41 AM
 
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Either of my 9yo twin boys would be fine going to the library by themselves.  Some of their friends?  Not so much.  I think it depends on the kid.  But in general, I'd say yes, it's fine. 

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#29 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 07:32 AM
 
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I would be fine with my 9yo child going to a structured activity/club meeting by herself.  I would probably stay in the library, but that's because I like being in the library and I consider it a pita to drop her off, drive home, turn around, and pick her up.  If it worked for me to run errands nearby while she was in the group, I'd feel fine with that.


Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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#30 of 109 Old 01-30-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

dd has been home for long periods of time - but always with the neighbors knowing.

 

she has been asleep, woke up - got herself breakfast (without turning on the stove but used a knife), got herself ready and then played games online and finished homework. she already knew from teh night before she would be alone and i left her a note. i was 10 mins away. 

 

 



IMO, she is certainly safer being left "alone" with a responsible adult than *actually* alone at home.  I really can't understand how you would leave her home alone for "long periods of time" and hesitate to let her take an adult led library class without you there.

 


 

 

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