Mums divided over whether it's ok to leave a child, 11, at home alone to look after their nine-year-old sibling while parent goes to gym

Lauren Clark
Mumsnet users have been left split over whether it's ok to leave young children at home unsupervised [Image: Getty]

When you’re a busy parent, fitting in errands and time for yourself can be a challenge.

But mums have been left divided over the question of whether you should ever leave your kids on their own at home.

A debate was triggered on Mumsnet after a woman questioned if she could leave her 11-year-old child to look after their nine-year-old sibling unsupervised while she popped to the gym.

In a post on the popular website, she wrote: “Just wondering if anyone would leave 9/11 year old early morning at home to go to the gym.

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“Gym is a 10 min drive away, session 45 mins so would be just over an hour.

“Would be home to get them up and off to school. 11 year old is very sensible.

“No husband to help.”

She later added: “Just to clarify, they would be asleep.

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“When I get home I would wake them and make breakfast and get them ready for school.

“I go to a gym where you are pushed and I need that for my physical and mental health, just trying to find a way to make it work.”

Her post garnered a mixed response over whether it was safe to leave the children in the house unattended - even if they are asleep.

One person wrote: “I don't think I could. Just a bit too young.”

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Another commented: “I personally wouldn’t, they are too young imo and it’s not fair on them.

“What if there was an emergency, a fire or something? What if you had a car accident on the way to or from the gym?

“Can’t you just do a some sort of home workout / DVD or something downstairs so you don’t have to leave them?”

A third shared: “No absolutely not. I'm stunned people think it's ok to leave kids this age alone whilst sleeping!

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“It's hardly fair on the 11 year old. Do you work? Could you do a lunchtime class?”

But other people felt it was ok for her to do this.

One person responded: “Yes I think so if they were comfortable with it and I was always contactable.

“I would probably alert a trustworthy neighbour so I knew that someone could get to them in seconds if needed.”

Another revealed: “We do that every Saturday morning. They're asleep most of the time we're gone anyway.”

And a third added: “I think it is probably reasonable if you are confident that even if they wake up they will be sensible.”

The law doesn’t state an age at which you are allowed to leave children at home on their own.

However, the NSPCC says children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time, and babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone.

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