For a kid to have a cell phone and to be left home alone?
What, you thought I was talking about something else? Get your minds out of the gutter!
Darling Boy aka DB is 9 years old and in 4th grade. We can't drop him off at school until 8:15, which most days isn't a problem. His best friend lives right next door, and his mom has offered for us to send him over each morning at 8:00 and she'll take the boys to school. For the most part, this arrangement works very well, except when Veronica needs to be at work earlier than 8:30 and I can't step in to take care of getting the kids out the door.
Such as during this past week. For 3 days Veronica had training in downtown Boston, and due to traffic, etc she had to leave pretty early. Normally I leave the house around 7-7:15 and am at my desk by 8:00 at the latest, so not getting in until 8:45-9:00 really messes up my day.
So we decided to leave DB alone in the house. Veronica left with Princess Persistent around 7:00 and I left for work around 7:30. DB was left with written instructions on what to do. Feed and water the dog, put the dog in the garage (the destructive little fucker can't be trusted to be left alone in the house!), turn out the lights, and to lock and close the door behind him. When I left I told him he could watch a cartoon and when that was over, it was time to head to the neighbors house. We had a little safety net in the neighbor, who was expecting him to come over at 8:00 and would come looking for him if he didn't show up on time.
We're pretty comfortable with this arrangement. DB did really well and didn't mess up any of the instructions we left for him. On other occasions, we've left him home alone for a little while, 30 minutes to an hour during the middle of the day, and he's done just fine.
But there is one thing we're uneasy about- we don't have a land line at home, Veronica and I only have our cell phones. What if there was a problem? What if one of us just wanted to check up on him? What if the neighbors aren't home? We have no way of getting in touch with each other if we needed or wanted to.
I can't believe I'm thinking about getting a cell phone for a 9 yr old, but I am. Next year we're considering not enrolling him in the after-school program and just having him come home on the bus and letting him have the house to himself for as much as 2 hrs before Veronica or I get home.
We're certainly not getting him anything fancy, just a basic phone for making calls and sending text messages. We can add a line to our calling plan for $10/month and get a flip phone for free.
Okay fellow parents, tell me, how old were your kids when you started leaving them alone, even for short periods of time? What are your thoughts about kids and cell phones? What sort of restrictions do you impose on their use? If you don't have kids or yours aren't old enough for this to be an issue yet, what are your plans?
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