When it is a good time to give school aged kids keys the house?

Jennifer - posted on 11/29/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I might be repeating a conversation from before, but when it is a good time to give the kids keys the house? My daughter is in school now (5 years old). I am a SAHM and my husband and I have had many conversations about when to give her a key to the house. We don’t feel we need to just yet because I do stay at home, but what if I am at the store or running errands and the car breaks down or I am in an accident and there is no way for me to make it back to the house to get her off the bus. We really don’t live close enough for her to walk to a family (30 mins away) or a friend’s house closest is about 3 blocks away to far for a 5 year old I think. Is it too early to give her a key in those just in case times or am I just being too paranoid about what could happen? I usually stay at home on the days she goes to school right now, but sometimes that is just not possible. What should we do?

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Jennifer - posted on 12/03/2011

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I have called the school about her getting off the bus with out me there but they just said that with most parents who work and are not at home they have to now a days. Also because we live in an apartment right now all the kids get off at the same stop and they tell me most parents don’t come to the bus stop so they don’t worry about it. Then I told them that I must be there for her to get off the bus but they did not seem to care. Her first bus driver also let her get off the bus at the wrong stop about a block away. Oliviah thought it was her stop because one of the girls who normally gets off with her got off there but the bus driver let her. The driver said she called to her, but when she did not hear her she left believing it would be ok because I was just up at the next stop. Like I said that was her first bus driver she no longer drives my child’s bus. I do have issues with the school and the lack of responsibility they seem to have but I have to do what I have to do for my child. My husband and I have also talked about just taking her and picking her up everyday if it comes down to having to go that far because we do not trust the school to be responsible enough for our daughter.

Tamara - posted on 11/29/2011

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I think when you are comfortable with them being home alone. when they are mature enough to be in the house alone. I totally understand what you are saying, I often have the same fear, I plan my outtings where I will be home at least 30 minutes before my youngest two will be home. just in case something happens I do have a little lead way. Or I can call someone to be there for them.

So the question you need to ask yourself is Is she mature enough to be home for any amount of time alone?

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Amy - posted on 12/03/2011

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My son's school made us send a form back at the beginning of the school year letting them no if it was ok or not ok to leave if him if there wasn't an adult present. Maybe talk to the school district about implementing something like that in the future or talk to the busing company and let them know it's not ok to leave your child if you aren't there. Our school district also has in the handbook all the places your child will be if you aren't home to get them, for example if there is an early release for a snow day and you can't get home in time. I agree with Sherri that doesn't seem right that they are letting 5 year olds off the bus without any supervision regardless of where you live!

Sherri - posted on 12/02/2011

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Well my kids didn't need them until they were in middle school as I am a SAHM and if I had to go out for an emergency I just left the house unlocked.

I wouldn't give them a key so young but maybe have an emergency key stashed somewhere outside that they know how to get too. Although I am shocked your bus will even let them off the bus if you aren't there to get them. I know ours won't till they are out of elementary school.

Bonnie - posted on 11/30/2011

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I don't think I would be comfortable until at least 10, but that's just me. I wouldn't leave a child home alone before the age of 12 unless it was just for a few minutes. Plus my kids are only 3 and 5 so I still have awhile to really think about it.

Sylvia - posted on 11/29/2011

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If you think she might need a key at some point and you're reasonably sure she won't lose it, there's no harm in giving her one. Just in case she does lose it, you probably don't want the keyring to have your address on it ;)

My DD, who is 9, only got her own keys last year. She now takes herself home from school every day (she takes a bus and then walks the rest of the way), so she needs both her own stash of bus tickets and her own keys. Before that though she was running errands for us -- going down to the lobby to check the mailbox, going next door to the corner store to buy a bag of milk -- and she didn't need her own keys for that, as she could use ours or just have us buzz her in. In fact she still does that, because that way *her* keys stay on their little clip in the pocket of her backpack, so she always knows where they are.

Anyway, I guess I just don't see the harm in giving her a key. It sounds like she will hardly ever need to use it, so it's just a matter of making sure she has somewhere secure to keep it so it doesn't get lost.

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