Leaving kids home alone during the summer holidays: OK or not?

Alice Sholl
Not everyone is given enough holiday days at work [Photo: Pexels]

A mum has been criticised for leaving her kids home alone for the summer holidays while she and her husband are working.

The two children, aged 10 and 13, will be in the house for six weeks alone – besides the one week the mum has off work.

They won’t be going to any holiday clubs or having friends round to the house either.

The Mumsnet user wrote about her predicament online, admitting that “I feel sorry for [my kids]”, and has received much criticism in response.

“My kids are 13 and 10,” she wrote.

How young is too young to be left alone? [Photo: Pexels]

“My husband and I work, and don’t get many holidays.

“We have a week off together in summer but rest of the time the kids are on their own, all day, every day for six weeks.

“They won’t go to any activity clubs. I can’t ask their friends round with no adult in the house.

“I know that they sit on computer with headphones in ALL day!

“I feel sorry for them. My friends are all teachers or have loads of holidays, so they’re all having days out or just going to the park etc.

Can teenagers always fend for themselves? [Photo: Pexels]

“Anyone else in same boat as us? I feel like they are ‘wasting their summer holidays’.”

She also explained that her husband is self-employed – meaning he won’t get paid for time he takes off – and that she gets very few, which she saves for Christmas.

While many users have responded with helpful suggestions such as seeing if the kids could go to friends’ houses, or if the parents could hire a nanny, others have branded the mum as “irresponsible”:

“I think they’re too young to leave at home for six weeks especially the 10 year old,” wrote one.

“Actually, I don’t think you should leave your kids all alone in the house all day at 10 and 13, to be honest,” said another.

Self-employment can be tough when you want time off [Photo: Pexels]

“Who is in charge of them? Is the 13 year old looking after the 10 year old?

“I’d have been raging at 13 if I’d been expected to spend my entire summer in the house babysitting a younger sibling and without being allowed my mates round because ‘there was no adult in the house’.”

Others, however, have rushed to her defence with experiences of their own.

“You are getting a hard time, for which I am sorry,” said one commenter.

Are they ‘missing out’ by watching TV all summer? [Photo: Pexels]

“I was a single parent and did much the same. In those days it was endless TV and videos.

“My daughter has grown into a well educated, balanced young woman. When I had time off we went on holiday and I organised as many fun activities as possible.

“She hardly remembers the time spent on her own, even though I look back with some regret. Families have to be fed, clothed and educated but most of all loved.

“Love doesn’t necessarily mean being there for every minute. Keep on truckin’!”

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