An unsure parent has taken to the internet to ask for some much-needed advice after her ex criticised her for leaving their seven-year-old daughter home alone so she could go running
Image: Getty Images)
A mum has sparked a heated debate online after asking other parents whether or not it’s ok to leave her child home alone while she goes running.
The unnamed woman took to parenting forum, Netmums, to ask for some advice about her seven-year-old daughter.
In her post, she explains that she’s a single mother and she’s finding it difficult to find time to nip out for a run between working and taking care of her child.
As such, she’d started going for runs early in the morning while her daughter was asleep, for about half an hour.
She thought everything was fine until her ex told her off via their seven-year-old, warning her not to leave the child on her own due to the risks.
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The mum wrote: “I am looking for advice. My daughter is seven. I have started running but struggling to find a time to do this as it is just the two of us in the house.
“I work and we leave home at 7.15 and get back home at 5.30pm, barely having enough time for dinner, bath and homework before we start the bedtime routine.
“This week I went for early morning runs leaving my daughter in bed. She had woken before I left on two occasions and each time she stayed in bed and read a book or played on her tablet. The 3rd time she was still asleep when I left and I left her a note in case she woke while I was out. I am out for 30 mins. Do you think this is ok?”
The mum received a mixed bag of replies, with some saying it’s ok if the child is responsible but others arguing that she was “selfish”.
One person said: “I think it depends a lot on the child and you know her best. I think if she’s a responsible 7yo then I don’t see the harm in leaving her for half-hour whilst you go for a run. As long as she knows where you are and can contact you.”
Another responded: “Personally, I don’t only think it’s okay, I think children should be left alone (at home and outside) to develop into responsible and independent human beings.”
A third added: “In my opinion, a 7-year-old being left alone for 30 minutes is way too young and frankly think you are being selfish.”
Someone else wrote: “For goodness sake this child is 7 years old. I just can’t believe you are even considering it. You are entitled to a life too but, your child is the most important and precious consideration. She is far too young to be left alone.”
A different user posted: “I have a 7-year-old son who keeps asking to stay at home alone when we have to pop out. Answer is simple NO . Seven is still way too young. Two minutes or 20 minutes anything could happen and they say the worst accidents do happen in the house. Nine times out 10 you would probably be okay leaving them as at that age they are old enough to understand right from wrong but it’s still a risk.”
The mum later updated her post to say that her daughter recently had a nightmare about the house burning down and is now afraid to be on her own, so the “running will have to wait until she is feeling more confident again.”
As for the law, gov.uk states there currently is not a legal age from which you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.
They add: “Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, for example at home or in a car.”
Meanwhile, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:
- Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
- Children under 16 should not be left alone overnight
- Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.
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