Quarter of parents think it's OK to leave 11-year-olds at home alone

Caroline Allen
Contributor
UK parents weigh in on the right age to leave their children home alone. [Photo: Getty]

If you’ve ever wondered what the right age to leave your child home alone is, then you’re not alone.

Knowing when your child is old enough to be left unsupervised is a minefield, especially when there are so many parents around you weighing in on the pros and cons.

According to a new study, one in four UK parents will leave their child home alone after they reach age 11.

There’s no legal age on when you can or cannot leave your children in the house unsupervised, but many parents think that as soon as they’re in secondary school, they’re old enough.

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The majority of people asked, though (34 per cent) said they’d leave their children alone from 12 onwards.

Ages continued to range, with some saying they’d let their 12-year-old offspring babysit for younger siblings.

The lack of continuity in the answers of the parents leads to a potentially bigger question; should there be a legal age for being left unattended?

Well, yes, is the short answer. At least, that’s what the majority of parents (59 per cent) surveyed said.

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A recommended legal age would certainly take one less thing off of UK parent’s plates.

Until then, a comfortable majority of parents admitted that they would pay their children – once they’re old enough, of course (although – how old is old enough?) to look after younger siblings.

The going rate for a babysitting child, you ask? It’s £10 for two hours. But, they’re only entitled to that money when they’re old enough to benefit from pocket money. At least, that’s what the surveyed parents think.

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Being a child sounds like hard work!

It’s important, though, for children to enjoy a bit of independent time. Not to mention the positive impact it has on the parents with over half of those surveyed saying they’d go out for some food in their much-needed downtime.

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