A mum has sparked a heated debate after admitting to leaving her seven-year-old child home alone while she goes running.
The woman took to parenting forum, Netmums, and explained that she is a single mum and finds it impossible to find the time to run between working and looking after her daughter.
The mum confessed she had been getting up early while her daughter was still in bed and going out running for about 30 minutes – leaving the child at home alone.
She said she really didn’t see a problem with it until her ex found out and warned her not to leave the child alone, reports The Mirror.
The mum said: “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 up 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 up while I was out. I am out for 30 mins. Do you think this is ok?”
The mum’s actions divided opinion with some saying it was fine but others branded her 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 added: “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 said: “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 added: “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.”
The law, according to gov.uk states there currently is not a legal age from which you can leave a child on their own, but it is an offense to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.
They add: “Use your judgment 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’.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.