I recently started a new job, which requires me to find something to do with the kids a few days out of the week after school.
My oldest child is 12 and very responsible... I have no doubt that he can watch over his sisters for an hour or two until I get home. The problem is, if the kids all take the bus home, the girls get home before he does on a separate bus. They (ages 10 and 8) would have to walk home from the bus stop, which is a good half mile walk, and then wait for a half hour for their brother to get home. It's a VERY safe neighborhood, with very little traffic.
I don't remember what age I started walking home alone and waiting for my mom to get home from work, but we always had to go straight home and call when we got there and we usually had a chore or two to do before mom got home. I was thinking of doing something similar... have the girls go straight home, call me when they get there, have a snack/cartoon until their brother gets home... and call again when he gets there. This would not be an every day thing, I'm talking 1 or two days per week.
I really need to hear some outside opinion on whether or not this is reasonable and safe or if it would be a bad idea.
I would check your state laws to make sure you're not in violation of something by doing that...
And yes, if I felt my kids were responsible enough to handle it, I would do it. I might not let the 8 year old do it alone if the 10 year old weren't going to be home for some reason.
But it would really depend on the kids. I have known kids that age who I would feel "no problem" and I have known kids that age who I wouldn't even consider it.
I would also line up a neighbor or two they can go to in case they have a problem. Make sure they know the phone number by heart AND have it written somewhere, and they know that if they come home and anything is amiss (door isn't locked and it should be, or something looks wrong) they don't go into the house but go to the neighbor instead to seek advice.
~*~ Full time mom ~*~ Hobby Sheep Farmer ~*~ Child Passenger Safety Technician ~*~
I often came home alone in elementary school.
I second the advice to have a neighbor on call for emergencies.
One of the challenges of being a parent is teaching your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety. Although some dangers do exist, you lessen the chances that your child will be abducted. And the idea of my children being harmed or lost is not something anyone wants to consider. Therefore, I have registered their smartphones in an application that can enable them to summon for help whenever it needed. In addition, I can also locate the place wherever they are and have the ability to know if their location is safe. If situation needs a medical, fire or police assistance they can quickly reached 911 in our area with the help of the Call Center with complete information. This is the site where I found the link: http://safekidzone.com/
My son is 9 years old and he rides the bus home and then is home alone until I get home from work. He doesn't have a very long walk home. It's just over two blocks. He calls when he gets home. He then calls again once he finishes his homework so that he can let me know if he plans to stay home playing or if he's going to a friends house.
We do have some good friends who live two doors away. She's a homeschooling SAH mom so if an emergency were to come up he could go there for help. I also have another neighbor who runs a daycare and lives across the street so they are also usually home if he were to need something.
So I guess for me a lot would depend on your neighborhood and your relationships with those neighbors.