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I tend to be an overprotective mother so I'm not sure how to handle this. Would you leave a well-behaved 10 year old alone at a restaurant table while you went to the restroom? My younger child can't go by himself and my 10yo has stated she'd prefer to stay at the table while I took her brother to the bathroom. I've had her stand outside the stall or even the bathroom, but have never left her alone at the table. She knows not to leave with strangers, etc, but the idea of it still makes me nervous. Again, I fully admit I'm a bit overprotective, but I also know at some point I'm going to have to let them grow up a little. :)

 

WWYD?

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Absolutely. I've been leaving mine alone (in small restaurants in small town) since they were about 5 or 6. A ten year old, anywhere. I leave them with the instructions to not go outside. If anyone tries to make them go outside, scream.

ETA I don't worry about abductions because that's extremely rare. But just in case, I give contingency plans.

Edited by MotherGoose
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I would have been willing to leave my kids much younger than that. Assuming it's not a super sketchy restaurant, it's just the bathroom. You're still in the same building even. I don't think most people would even call that leaving a child "alone."

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I think your gut matters a lot more than a survey from people who live in all sorts of areas (all over the world). It's not just about how old the child is. There are a lot of factors. It's important to learn to trust yourself to make these decisions.

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Of course. 

 

I won't leave my 4 year old alone at a restaurant table if I have to take the toddler to the bathroom, but that is largely because I worry about strangers overreacting if they see him alone...and if I'm headed to the bathroom I'd rather the 4 year old try to go at the same time.  In another year, when he is 5.5, I expect I will be comfortable leaving him at a table, just as I was comfortable leaving his brothers around that age.

 

At most restaurants and other public places, I am also very comfortable sending kids to the bathroom on their own starting when they are 5 or 6.  I'm not talking about large airport or amusement park restrooms, but small, familiar, local library/restaurant/grocery store restrooms provide a great training ground for building confidence and independence.

 

Wendy

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I think your gut matters a lot more than a survey from people who live in all sorts of areas (all over the world). It's not just about how old the child is. There are a lot of factors. It's important to learn to trust yourself to make these decisions.

 

This is true and there can be reasons not to leave a 10 yo alone for five minutes in a public place... but I think if you have a neurotypical, well behaved 10 yo and are in a decent neighborhood in a public place and your gut is screaming don't do it every time regardless of anything else, like an unusual person giving you the creeps or something... I think it's time to examine your gut.

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This is true and there can be reasons not to leave a 10 yo alone for five minutes in a public place... but I think if you have a neurotypical, well behaved 10 yo and are in a decent neighborhood in a public place and your gut is screaming don't do it every time regardless of anything else, like an unusual person giving you the creeps or something... I think it's time to examine your gut.

 

I agree with this.  My gut instinct is always to take zero risk; I have to override that feeling with logic all the time.

 

If I am willing to eat in the restaurant, I would be willing to leave my kid at the table for 5 minutes, assuming the kid is not prone to misbehavior.  On the (very unlikely) chance that someone would mess with the kid, a 10-year-old can put up a fuss which would alert the staff that something is wrong, not to mention people at adjacent tables who probably noticed me with kid.  If the place (and the staff and patrons?) was so sketchy that I thought it was a high risk, I wouldn't eat there. 

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I leave my 9 and almost 12 year olds home alone regularly, and sometimes in charge of their 2 year old brother.  I let them wander stores unattended. (not the 2 year old).  I was shopping for a sewing machine the other day, for example, and my 9 year old (only her) was bored.  I told her she could wander around the store but not go outside.  She did fine.  I did not have concerns about her destroying or breaking anything, and I trusted that if anything bad happened, someone would scream.  To avoid alarming her, I told her that the rule was that she could not go outside the store.  

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I leave my 9 and almost 12 year olds home alone regularly, and sometimes in charge of their 2 year old brother. I let them wander stores unattended. (not the 2 year old). I was shopping for a sewing machine the other day, for example, and my 9 year old (only her) was bored. I told her she could wander around the store but not go outside. She did fine. I did not have concerns about her destroying or breaking anything, and I trusted that if anything bad happened, someone would scream. To avoid alarming her, I told her that the rule was that she could not go outside the store.

This. I'll leave my 6 year old alone at a table.

We are in a rural area, and I routinely send my 10yo into the store next to our grocer while I go into a different store t get food.

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I tend to be an overprotective mother so I'm not sure how to handle this. Would you leave a well-behaved 10 year old alone at a restaurant table while you went to the restroom? My younger child can't go by himself and my 10yo has stated she'd prefer to stay at the table while I took her brother to the bathroom. I've had her stand outside the stall or even the bathroom, but have never left her alone at the table. She knows not to leave with strangers, etc, but the idea of it still makes me nervous. Again, I fully admit I'm a bit overprotective, but I also know at some point I'm going to have to let them grow up a little. :)

 

WWYD?

 

My son is age 10 and I've left him alone at the table while taking my daughter to the restroom.

 

I feel better leaving him alone at the table than to go into the restroom alone.

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In a heartbeat. And I'd let her go to the bathroom alone in that same restaurant as well.

 

When I was that age, back in the dangerous 1990s, I came home by myself to an empty house and frequently went from there into Manhattan alone as well. It's a lot safer now than it was back then.

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I do that all the time with my 9yo. I figure that even if there was a kidnapping psychopath in the restaurant, she's also surrounded by a bunch of other people who aren't kidnapping psychopaths, and if someone tried to drag her out of the restaurant kicking and screaming while I'm peeing, many of those other people would stop it from happening. Because the vast majority of people are good and want to do the right thing.

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I tend to be an overprotective mother so I'm not sure how to handle this. Would you leave a well-behaved 10 year old alone at a restaurant table while you went to the restroom? My younger child can't go by himself and my 10yo has stated she'd prefer to stay at the table while I took her brother to the bathroom. I've had her stand outside the stall or even the bathroom, but have never left her alone at the table. She knows not to leave with strangers, etc, but the idea of it still makes me nervous. Again, I fully admit I'm a bit overprotective, but I also know at some point I'm going to have to let them grow up a little. :)

 

WWYD?

If it is a familiar place and he feels comfortable, I allow my 9 year old to remain at the table while I go to the restroom or to the counter to order. I am working on getting him to go to the store (across the street) with him older brother or older cousin.

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My youngest from around 6.5-7yo. My oldest was probably closer to 7.5-8, because he's special needs AND tiny, so he looks and comes across as younger to people. Roughly same ages for sending them to the restroom in a restaurant alone. 

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Yes, I'd let my 10 or 8 year olds do that, and they go into the toilet by themselves too.  Dd10 is allowed to stay home alone at this point.  Her sister was babysitting at 12, so I figure if you can do that, being in charge of yourself at 10 is pretty reasonable.

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Yes, unless the restaurant was really unsafe but I imagine I wouldn't be eating there anyway. I think I started letting them sit on their own and/or wander in a store around 7 or 8 yrs for oldest..youngest must have been 5 or 6? 

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Yep I am pretty overprotective but would be ok with that unless for some reason I had a bad feeling about the location of some specific person there. There's going to be staff around and security cameras.

 

 

I think your gut matters a lot more than a survey from people who live in all sorts of areas (all over the world). It's not just about how old the child is. There are a lot of factors. It's important to learn to trust yourself to make these decisions.

 

 

 

I agree to follow your gut.  I would absolutely leave a 10 yo alone at the table UNLESS something just felt wrong- either a particular customer, location... anything that felt off in the mom-gut sense.  

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No, but only because generally I would ask my 10 year old to take the 6 year old to the restroom. I have heart-pounding anxiety about stuff like that by the way. (I've also let kids that age and younger sit alone in places potentially more dangerous, like theaters and swimming pools. It's not because I'm cavalier. Just the opposite.)

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We travel a lot, and live in a not-so-safe area.  I will sometimes leave my kids alone in public places, but I much prefer to leave them with a buddy.  I'd let my 10 and 12 year old stay there, or my 10 and 9.  I'd also let my 5yo stay with any of the older ones.  My 7yo, however, always must be in my line of sight.  Because she's SO unpredictable, lol.

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With zero hesitation. Probably starting at 6 or 7. FOR SURE by 8 it wouldn't be a second thought. I'm certain I left my oldest to watch one or more of her younger siblings at a table (or in a store) at 8.

 

To me, asking this question of a neurotypical 10 year old suggests that there are some fears on the parental end that need to be dealt with in a healthier way. I've seen parental fears cripple children. 

 

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I did this kind of thing all the time.  I started leaving my kids at home alone for short periods of time at 10.  At a table in public while I run to the restroom even younger.  I can imagine situation where I might be uncomfortable, but that would have been extremely rare.  

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I can't say what you should do, but I only did stuff like that with my oldest child.  The next 5, no, I kept them with me when in public.  No regrets and would do the same again (as I did with my younger 5).

Edited by lllll
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