Is it okay for your child to be alone inside while you're doing yard work? What are your safety tips for when they are inside alone?

She's happily taking a nap or watching an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba and the grass is threatening to overtake the sidewalk outside. Is it okay to leave your child alone inside for a short time while you mow the lawn or pull a few weeds? What's your take, moms?

40  Answers

6 20

I have a Playroom designed to keep my 2 1/2 y/o locked in and safe if I need to get house/yard work done. But it does depend on her mood of whether or not I can get stuff done. I typically wait till her nap and take the monitor with me. If I'm doing something noisey, it has a "vibrate" feature that comes in very handy. It really does depend on your child...if they are notorious for getting into trouble, than no. But my kids are usually self-sufficient and are able to be left alone for a bit. Afterwards, I reward them by playing a game or doing something they enjoy. However, some things can wait till the other parent is home and able to help

7
16 49

Yes, especially if I'm mowing the lawn. A lawnmower or a whipper snipper (which I use as well) is loud machinery and I can't hear if my kids are behind me when using it. Woud you allow your child outside while you were moving the car? No. Same should go for machinery. Case in point: very sad incident when a man was using a ride-on lawnmower, his four year old ran out to say hello, the man had out it in reverse at the same time and ran over his son. Horrific injuries to boy's abdomen and groin, it's touch and go for this little one. Heavy machinery + kids= never! To the mum who was locked outside, this is what spare keys in a fake stone, etc were made for! I have one hidden for various emergencies, including if my twin 4 year olds decide to play monkey and lock mum outside. Hey, at least they have a sense of humour! I'm a single mum so have no-one to stay with my kids so I can't 'get things done' and child care is not an option. I don't cotton-wool my kids, they've been taught what they are allowed to and not allowed to do/touch, etc.

7
534 65

It all depends on the child(ren). Some kids are into everything, where some kids are great for a little while by themselves. We have our house really baby proofed and set up so that they can play safely. They both do well by themselves, alone, or together, for up to 10 or 15 minutes by themselves. They are only 2 and 4, but they are great kids. I also feel that by doing this, it has helped to teach our children to be independent and responsible for themselves, and their actions. They both are very well behaved for being 2 1/2 and 4. We do let them be kids though. They play a lot, we take them to the park and outside as much as possible.

6
69 42

It would depend on the age of the child. Under 7, I would say, no. Second or third grade and up, if the child has demonstrated an ability and desire to only do those things that Mom says are ok to do and Mom is willing to check on him/her periodically, OK. Its far better to be safe than sorry. My inclination is to have my child/children out in the yard 'helping' me. Not as much gets done but any shared task that can be enjoyed builds self confidence. And in my book, that's a lot more valuable than a well groomed yard!

6
1 24

It depends on a number of issues. Age of child. Typical behavior of child. Distance you are from house. How often you check on the child/children. And the neighborhood or area you live in.

4
123 16

Depends on your child, You guys are all talking about kids being unpredictable. I go out and wash the car or do the gardening etc and my son (28 months) comes to see and asks what I am doing, He helps for a bit and if he gets bored he potters back inside..he knows not to play with doors, and has been taught what he is allowed to play with and what he isn't. Obviously your house is child-safe..if you can hear them etc and your close to house I don't see why not.

4
123 16

Not to mention, Do you leave your child alone when you shower?

0 4

Absolutely not! Too many things can happen. What if they choked on something? What if the house caught on fire? I don't think any child should ever be left unattended.

2
5 33

So, what you're saying is, no child should be out of your sight, even for a minute, EVER? Because that's how long it takes for a fire to start or a child to choke. I guess you sleep in the same room with them, too, huh? How do you drive - if you're supposed to be looking at traffic ahead, but your kid is in the back seat? We're getting too "helicopter-y", ladies.

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0 3

Apsolutely not! Well I suppose its ok if you dont care if your child gets hurt or kidnapped.. I would say up until maybe the age of 6, the child should NEVER be left alone to go outside to do yard work. Remember it may only take you 15 minutes to do your duty, but it only takes one second for something bad to happen. Say They happen to pick something up somewhere and put it in their mouth and start chocking, that leaves them 14 minutes before you are there to help them. By then it will be to late! Work can wait till your partner is home or maybe when you have company. Take the baby outside with you if need be and put them in a play pin.And even our children who seem to be " Good" kids can and will do things when we are not there to guide them. Its better safe than sorry with our precious childrens lives. Not to mention what all else can happen.. I mean if your running to check the mail or something real fast thats a different story.

2
0 0

I would say around age 7 and up I have been comfortable with leaving my child in the house alone while I was outside - And if my child has wanted to be inside alone in the past at a younger age I have set up a baby monitor so I could still hear kind of what was going on if I was still concerned.... which works very well!
-Dawn Miller

2
2,216 33

I think not for any Toddler.

2
3 23

For me it depends on the disposition of the child and his/her tendencies. I'm a mother of two (3+ son and 1+daughter) and while my son tends to he hyper active, he also cant resist his favourite cartoons or the feeling of being a big brother. I have left them indoors alone on a couple of occasions to go spread clothes on the line, bring in clothes in a storm's threatening. I don't have a lawn so mowing doesnt come up but if i did have a lawn, i believe i can leave them alone provided i slot in a mickey mouse cartoon to calm my son and surround my daughter with her favourite stuffed animals. the key for me would be: keep the windows open so i can hear them and check on them periodically and to ensure that no potentially dangerous object is left lying around.

2
68 7

Maybe I'm a too-trusting mom, but I've let my 6 yo twins and 7 yo be inside alone for short periods of time. I trust they will not try to run a bath or mess with the stove or lock me out, etc. They are pretty responsible as far as that goes. They are content to read or play or watch TV if I mow or get the mail. I've never left them home while I was away from the house (ie drove somewhere else). I think where we live a child must be 12 yo before they can be left home alone for any amount of time. As always kids are different and you have to use your best judgement...do you always have to run after them to keep them out of dangerous things and situations??

2
0 20

I agree with some of you... it does depend of the child. With my son (he is 5 years old now), I make him stay inside when I am using the lawn mower and he knows that if he needs me, he stays on the porch and waves his arms (and sometimes yells) to get my attention. Then I can stop the machine I am using and he can some to me safely or tell me what he needs. He is usually good on his own, but I do not leave him for long periods of time. I am a single parent myself, and when I need to get things done.... I do them, unless there is something else that I need to do with my son. So, to answer the question: It really depends on the age, situation, and the child themselves. If it was my son was still a baby... I would take my monitor out while he was sleeping and mow the lawn.... like one of the mother's on here said.

1
0 14

I am a stay at home mom of 4 kids that range from 2 - 7 years old. My kids are very well behaved and have always been taught what they can & can't do. This comes in handy because to do laundry in my building, I have to go outside, go around the building to the complete opposite side and go up a flight of stairs and then down the hall. You can just imagine how much laundry a family of this size goes through. I have to do laundry, there's just no way around it, but taking the kids with me on that trek is just ridiculous especially in the winter months. I try to start the laundry when my youngest is napping (which doesn't happen very often anymore I might add.) and my 4yr old is just playing. I'm lucky that I can trust the ppl in my building too. Since laundry is free, if my stuff is in the washer & they need it, they put it in the dryer for me and vice versa. Long Story short. I know my kids. I know that I can trust them for the few minutes it takes to do the laundry, or shovel the driveway. Or as I recently found out, to string Christmas lights. You have to know your kids, you have to correctly assume how much time you'll need and you need to know their environment. For example, as much as I love to multi task, I would never try to do any outside task while there was something in the oven, or something on the stove, or anything else equally adept at bringing the pessimist out in you. You have to learn to trust your kids and they need to learn that you DO trust them. They need to be given the opportunity to succeed, but, according to their age, limit their ability to Fail. Boost their self condidence, boost their awareness in the world around them, show them pride in responsibility. We are our childs best teacher.

1
1 11

I found that because my daughter hasn't had a nap in the day since she turned one it has been very difficult to leave her without wondering if she would escape or hurt herself so I decided to get her involved .... Mmmmmm, difficult to begin with but now she's nearly four she is very helpful and very clever.... I think children spell love TIME ...... They don't care what it is they are doing along as its with you ! Xxx

1
5 33

Ah, some children DON'T like to "help" or be with their moms every moment... My 5YO is extremely bright, and would MUCH rather be inside, doing puzzles or reading books or playing on his PC. If I try to get him involved in yardwork or housework - he goes out of his way to cause trouble or slow me down. If I force him to come with me, he misbehaves intentionally so that I am forced to send him inside. Those moms here who say "house/yardwork can wait" must have maids or landscapers or something.... 'Cuz if I don't get it done - it will NEVER get done.

0 23

It is also good to teach children how to exit the house in case of emergency. Have a family exit plan and a meet up point as well.

1
32 26

Depends on the kiddo. How long? How old? How safe is the enviroment in the house? Too many variables to answer here.

1
46 1

It does depend on how many children you have, their ages, and the temperaments of each one. I have a 7 year old, 4 year old, and 2 1/2 year old. I will not mow the lawn while home alone if my 2 1/2 year old is awake. I always wait for my husband to be home or for her nap time (with a child lock on her door). I've often taken the baby monitor outside with me while I do yard work so I can listen for her. If it's just small yard work like weeding, watering, etc., then it's different. However, if using the mower, it is too difficult to watch and listen for your young child. If my older two are around, I keep the windows and doors open so I can easily check in and listen to what's going on.

1
11 10

If you have a young child wouldn't it be alot easier to set up a playpen in the shade so they are with in view, safe and enjoying the fresh air also???

1
1 0

I have an 8 yr old son. Often I would go and hang the washing out, do some work in the back yard. I would ensure the front door is locked. I would tell him I am going to be at the back. If anyone rings the doorbell, he must call me and not open. If he needs anything he must come nad ask. Often he would say he would like to help. He has been quite good, would watch telly, read or play. I would often pop my head in the window just to check if all's well.

1
2 15

it all depends how big your garden is!

1
3 15

Beware at any age I went to get the dog off the porch and left the door open, and within seconds shut behind me and locked. My son was 3. So scary!

1
3 28

I would say no. Kids are unpredictable, even if you really think that you can trust that your child will be sitting and watching tv, in a split second she may think of taking a bath or something and that's how fast an accident can occur. I would not leave them asleep either. At least if they are asleep, go check on them like every 5 min. It only takes them a secondto get into things and at young ages, there mind does not know the obvious danger in things. So my answers would be NO.

1
0 0

1] depends on the age of the child, This is most important! 2] trust level you have with the child about getting into things.

0
2 0

when i leave my 6 year old inside (if i have to take out the garbage or shovel the walk), i give some simple rules - like come get me if there is a problem…my daughter is a good listener but she is only 6, so i check in periodically.

0
1

No child should be left alone inside while the parent works outside....Also, parents that sleep with their babies in the bed with them are crazy because they can roll over on the baby.

0
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21 0

Of course!

0
1,510 49

I usually wait until she is napping, its easier that way, but if I do need to go outside, we have a huge window in the front of the house and she is tall enough to look outside at me, we wave at each other and I just make sure I'm quick about it. She will be 2 soon and I don't have to worry about her too much.

0
178 56

I don't see that harm in it. As long as she knows where you're at, letting her know that she can get you if there is a problem.

0
149 22

i have a almost 7 yr old boy and an almost 2 yr ol girl..i live in an apartment and we have our garage around the building. its cold here and im pretty much a single mother 5 days a week. so i have to do EVERYTHING myself with no help. My son is at school during the day and thats the only time i can get crap done ie take out garbage, take stuff to garage or otherwise im breaking up fights all night after he gets home. so i leave my daughter in the apt alone to do that stuff weather shes awake or not. I lock the door and do my stuff. I come back in and shes waiting at the door for me..its not possible to take her with me to do those things cuz one its cold or rainy and two while my arms are full i cant keep hold of her. in my opinion its ok to leave toddlers alone for a few mins like that and then when shes sleeping i can go to the garage and do cleaning or bbq or whatever. my building is securly locked and so is my only door into the apt itself.

0
4 28

door is open so i can hear if she gets up and moves around, also i'm always yelling "Hey hows it going." mine is 7 though

0
1 0

I have a 6 and 7 year old, and when yardwork needs to be done, or a neighbor stops me in the front yard to chat, I don't mind leaving them inside for a short while. When my youngest was 4, and my oldest 5, I started stepping outside for little pieces of time. I would, and still do, check on them periodically, to make sure they are behaving. I have never had a problem with either of them. They know the house rules, and they know what they can and can't do. And if they want to come out and join me, that works as well.

To the single mom who mentioned having a spare set of keys...I had to LOL! When my son was 3, my husband and I stepped onto the back porch just to sit down - there are windows where we could watch the kids inside. My son came to the door and sure enough locked us out...he didn't know how to unlock it. We had to bang on the window for his older sister to come let us in. After that, we always grabbed the keys anytime we stepped outside...just in case! :) You do have to have a sense of humor about it. It was a lesson learned!

0
0 25

I can't hardly leave my kids inside the house, beause they are curious about everything! Even if I were to walk from one room to another they both are into my jewelry box, or in the bathroom drawers!!! so I honestly can say I can;t do it :) but I enjoy remembering back on the other times while cleaning up the new messes they make.

0
0 23

Yes, only if you have a baby monitor with u.

0
0 9

Like some other moms I think it depends much on the individual child...when my son still took naps I would things outside and bring the monitor with me. Around 31/2 his naps were sporadic, so whether or not I did things without him by my side depeded on a couple factors...I'd put the monitor in the living room and bring the other piece out so I could hear any signs he's getting into trouble; I'd make sure he was fed and had a cup of juice/water so he didn't feel the need to get into the fridge; I'd put the gate on the stairs and the kitchen so his only area was the living room (though if he really desired he could've climbed over the gate so checking in every 5-7 min. is needed); I have birds and a dog so I wouldn't leave the animals in the room with him so he couldn't experiment on them; I would make sure he had things that would occupy him; and of course all child safety devices like switch covers, secured shelves, etc. were in place. I definitely agree with the other mom who said if at all possible I bring my son with me to do most things...doing chores with him not only gives us extra time to be together but also teaches him responsibility and builds his self-esteem when he gets to help with big boy tasks. The only way they will learn how to be responsoble is if we teach them-the earlier the start the better. Above all-use your parental judgement-if for any reason you think it's not the best idea to leave your child alone and your gut is telling you not to-no matter the age-don't do it.

0
0 18

I have no choice but to leave my children alone during the day. we live on a first floor flat and I have to take the dog out the back going thru two gates and my downstairs neighbours like to let thier dogs out in the side garden so it can be a battle and.would be impossible with my children in tow. I make sure my eldest is engrossed in fireman Sam or a toy and my youngest is in the play pen. The stair gates are shut at all times. They are two years old and six months. If i had a choice I wouldn't leave them as they are young but the are safe for the short amount of time Im letting the dog out.

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0 20

I think it depends on the child. My first born was really independent and hardly eer got into trouble. He prefers playing alone most of the time and didn't need much supervision. He would go to his room for an hour or two at a time and just play alone. He only came to me if he needed help with something. My daughter was a little more hands on, but still pretty independent and could go for 30 minutes or so on her own. My niece, on the other hand, is always getting into the exact things she shouldn't and never plays with what she should. I won't leave her alone for anything longer than a potty break and I make those fast!
Like I said, it all depends on the child.

0
79 37

I feel it depends entirely on the age of the child, the size of the garden and the size of the house. If I had a child asleep inside, not matter how old, as long as I had a baby monitor on me and wasn't too far away from the house then I would leave my child inside. I have a nine and six year old and we live in an 2nd/3rd floor maisonette and I would leave them inside while I popped down to the garden but if it was a child under 5, I would take them down with me.

0
0 20

Depends on the child and the time. Some children mature faster and have a less curious nature than others. And walkie talkies or baby monitors are useful. My almost 3 year old can operate a walkie. But I know that she'll only last inside through a couple episodes of spongebob( that's true even when she's inside with my 17 yr old. ).
My 4 year old however can sit and behave for a couple hours.
So I say take it on a case by case basis.

0
0 11

Yes it is okay, as long as the child is busy with the things that she loves to do. Like for my daughter, I used to give her coloring books and asked her to do some art works then I'll give rewards after. It can be another book, food, playtime, etc... This way, she becomes excited to do her stuff while I can work on my chores outside the house.

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