Remeber Latchkey Kids? Were You One? I Was And I Survived! LOL

Keys - Picture of house keys
@schulzie (4064)
United States
December 2, 2008 8:29am CST
Remember the term "Latchkey Kid"? I was a Latchkey Kid from the time I turned eight years old. In case you have never heard of it, a child who returns from school to an empty house because his or her parents are away at work. It also can be a child who is often left at home with little or no parental supervision. A Latchkey kid uses their own set of keys to get into the house and stays at home alone until their mom or dad gets home. When I was 8, my grandmother passed away and my mother went back to work. So, I started walking to and from school on my own and using my own keys to lock up the house when I left and get back in when I got home. I carried my key on a necklace or cord I wore around my neck. I kept my key tucked inside my blouse or top all day long. I can remember being worried that I would lose my key and then I would not be able to get back in to the house, or that my mom would be mad, or that someone would find the key and be able to get into our house. I would never dream of letting an 8 year old child be a Latchkey kid today. At least not any of my children. My oldest is 17 but he did not have his own key until he was about 13 years old. I do not think I would trust a younger child with this task. I don't even know if you can legally let a small child like an 8 year old be a Latchkey kid any more, or if it was ever legal to do so. How many of you out there were Latchkey kids? How many have Latchkey kids? Or does anyone do this any more? Have a great day and happy myLotting!!!
6 people like this
19 responses
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
2 Dec 08
I was and so were my kids! We lived on a farm and got dropped off by the bus and spent time alone until mom or dad got home...back then we never locked our doors...and I was a single parent. My kids came home to an empty house too....and did their own thing until I got home. You are right....in this day and age everything is different!
3 people like this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
I know it is so different nowadays. There is no way I would let my children be Latchkey kids. I take them to school and I am there when they get home. I think it is so much better to have the mother home when the children get home than to leave them home alone or with a babysitter. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
3 people like this
@bobbyjoe143 (1287)
2 Dec 08
To start with, I don’t think it is illegal to have a latch key kid (or at least it is not illegal here in the UK). From my understanding of child law here, it is actually not illegal to leave a child from any age, so long as they are not in charge of any other child below the age of 7. Which in my view leaves a lot of doubt over what is moral and right regarding the law. Now, when I was a child, I was not a latch key kid, even at times that my mother needed to take on a job to help ease my father financially, me and my siblings were always taken to my nans or one of my numerous aunts or uncles (I have a very large family). I was given a key at the age of 11, this is when I started secondary school, and my mum gave all of us keys to the house at this age, even if she knew she would be home for us. I think it was more to show that she found us to be old enough to take on responsibility. When I was 14, my mother needed to take on a job, at this time my youngest sisters were 1 and 2 years old, the job my mum took was an evening job. Sometimes the time she needed to leave for work clashed with what time my father came home from his job, so I was asked to baby sit my sisters for around 30 minutes after school, which I didn’t mind doing. My son is now 10 and so far does not have his own key, I am always here for him when he finishes school, the only time he has ever been left alone is if I want to walk the dog and he doesn’t, and then it is for 10 minutes at most (and even then, if my partner is in, my son is with him). When my son reaches 11, we will give him a key, and then I may consider doing my own thing (like taking on a job), but I don’t really like the idea of leaving my son to his own devices too often, as I believe I had him, and so I should be here to take care of him. Each and every parent will inevitably do what they think is right, but for me personally, I don’t like the idea of leaving kids at a very young age to fend for themselves.
2 Dec 08
This part of my post, I meant that the oldest child should be no less than 7 years of age, sorry that I made it a little unclear. “From my understanding of child law here, it is actually not illegal to leave a child from any age, so long as they are not in charge of any other child below the age of 7.”
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
You are very lucky that you have a big family. Unfortunately when I was growing up it was me and my mother. We had no family living near us at all. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
@Amberina (1541)
• United States
2 Dec 08
My mom worked at nights as a bartender so usually she was home when us kids got off school but if not we where locked outside lol we lived in the country so we would just hang out or go over to my grandmas house up the road until mom got home. When we moved into town mom always had a key for one of us kids to get in. It was fun when mom wasn't home lol.
2 people like this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
You are very fortunate that your grandmother lived so close to you when you were little. I know it is not fun when your mom is not at home. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
2 Dec 08
Yep, I was. My mom left a key where my sister and I could get to it to get inside. Yeah, those were much better times when you could actually TRUST most people! It's so sad that those days are gone forever. My kids weren't latchkey kids because I worked from my home. I even picked them up from school. They could have walked, but a the time our neighborhood had some less-than-desirable elements in it. In Maryland, where we lived at the time my kids were in school, it was only legal to leave your kids home alone if they were 12 years old or above. If you had an 11 year old at home alone and something happened where emergency people were needed, you could actually be arrested! Heck, I babysat when I was 10 years old! Not anymore... if I were 10 now, I'D be the one needing the babysitter!!! Man, how times have changed!
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
I never ever had a babysitter and to be honest with you I have never hired a babysitter for my own children. Either my mother-in-law or my mother watched my children and when my mother got too old and I had my last one almost 4 years ago I started to be a stay at home mom. Previously I had been working a 40 hour a week job but once she was born I started being a homemaker. I would not let my children be Latchkey kids ever. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
@irishidid (8734)
• United States
2 Dec 08
My siblings and I weren't only latchkey kids, we were also left overnight alone quite often. Sometimes my mom would send for us and we would get a room at the hotel where she was at. Before your imagination gets too far, she had a male friend who lived in a hotel. We had run of the place and spent a lot of time irritating the staff. Usually though, we were left at home alone where my sisters took great joy in tormenting me.
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
Wow, I was never left alone overnight. I would be so scared to do that with my kids. Weren't you scared? I would have been. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8734)
• United States
3 Dec 08
Honestly, no I was never scared. We never locked our doors either. It was a different time. We had no clue we were neglected. We just knew mom was gone.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
2 Dec 08
I dont remeber carring my own key but my mom worked and I had to get into the house some how didnt I? May back then we never locked the back door see it was in the 50s safer then and ;lots of people never ever locked thier doors even at night. My kids werent for I was always home.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
3 Dec 08
yes times have really changed
1 person likes this
@laglen (19782)
• United States
3 Dec 08
I was a latch key kid! I have a 14 year old daughter and she is never home alone more than an hour. She doesn't want to be. We have three large dogs to keep her safe but she doesn't like to be alone.
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
That is good. I don't think it is good for children to be home alone without an adult present. Although at 14 she is probably old enough I think it is better if you are there with her. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
@Cerego (117)
• United States
3 Dec 08
Ha Ha Ha Ha! sorry, I only laugh because I am familiar with the term but never thought to ask what it meant,and now I find out that I was a latchkey kid! My older brother and I had to walk home from elementary school together and we would use our keys to get in, both our parents would be at work until about 5pm. We started that when I was about 9 and my brother is almost 2 yrs older than me. We have a brother who is 8 years older than me, but sometimes he would be there and sometimes he would not.
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
Yes, my mother usually got home around 5:30 too so I was home for maybe around 3 hours by myself. I guess it is not really that bad, but 8 years old was pretty young to be a Latchkey kid. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
@palonghorn (5485)
• United States
2 Dec 08
i was a latchkey kid, and i survived just fine. but i actually was not home alone for that long until my older sister graduated high school and moved out. she was 6 yrs older than i was. i was in 6th grade when i had my own key, i walked to and from school, and got home about an hour before my sister did. then when i was around 13 i was on my own until mom and dad got home from work. would i do that now, no. i didn't do it with my kids unless i was going to be gone a short time.
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
Yes, I won't do it with my children either. There are just too many things that could happen and you never know who is watching your house either. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
@doulaworks (1079)
• United States
2 Dec 08
Ok I remember that term, but then times were very different then and so were kids. that was back when the neighbors would check on you while your folks were'nt home and therewas no computer in every house and the kdis didn't have cell phones ( heck many didn't even have cordless land lines) and there wasnt a pedofile on every corner... Times have chagnes, I would leave my teens alone today I have 5 kids (28,27,25, 18 and 14) but I did when my older three were younger. (13, 12 and 10) but only for short periods of time and never with the littlest ones. My 14 year old has a key, but I am usually home so he rarely has to use it.
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
I am glad you are usually home when your son gets home. It makes me feel better when I am at home when my children come home too. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
3 people like this
@tyc415 (5706)
• United States
2 Dec 08
I was never a latchkey child, my older brother was there when my mother had to work after my parents got a divorce, before that my mom was always there. I am sure there are some latchkey kids around. Where I live they have what is called a latchkey program, a place for the kids to go after school until a parent gets home from work, they are given a snack and can play sports in the gym or play other games, do homework or whatever and are not home alone. I was always home for my kids before and after school, I was fortunate enough not to have to work outside of the home. My youngest daughter when she was working had her son in daycare then when he started school there was a home across from the school who had after school care, she is not working now but taking college online courses so she is home again now and has been for the past few years.
1 person likes this
@schulzie (4064)
• United States
3 Dec 08
That really sounds like a nice program for the kids where you live. We never had anything like that when I was little. Thank goodness I was a good child and didn't get into trouble. Thanks for your comment and have a nice day.
2 people like this
• United States
6 Dec 08
I was not a Latch Key Kid, but sometimes my mom would leave me at home alone once I got home. That probably started when I was about 10 years old. And it was only for maybe 1 hour or so. It wasn't every day either.
@onlydia (2808)
• United States
6 Dec 08
Well, yes I was and so was my son. Until I got home. Or when I started frist shift He had to get up and get off to school and lock the door. You have no Idea how many times I came home and the door was wide open. Oh and I don't live in the best place at all. But you know It was just my son and I so we didn't have no one esle and they said I made to much for any type of daycare. Well, he turned out fine as now he is 18. He only lost his keys once and he got them at 8 years old. We had a thing if he was scared where to go. And my nieghbor that had a auto shop next door ended up with him alot as he would sweep the floor and take out trash. Years later it was changing oil. So all in all. Sometimes it pays off. Your friend onlydia
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
5 Dec 08
My Mom raised 4 kids by herself while working 2 jobs and most of the time we were Latchkey kids. Well, my older brother and I were, one of us was always home for the two younger ones after school. The only time my Mom refused to let us be latchkey kids was when we lived in Detroit and she felt the neighborhood was so dangerous that she wouldn't even leave us home alone let alone come home alone. At the time, there weren't many options as to other places to live so we dealt with it. [b]MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! ~~AT PEACE WITHIN~~ **STAND STRONG AND TRUST IN GOD**[/b]
• Mauritius
3 Dec 08
me, every time i used to come home my mother was always at home. but a very few times she used to go somewhere when my father comes home early. then she always used to put the key hidden somewhere i would know. most of the time would be at home and even now. she "works" at home and she always here to make a cup of tea and some biscuits.
@laila675 (528)
• United Arab Emirates
3 Dec 08
I'm lucky not to be one those coz our houee was never empty as i have my mom, grand parents, aunties and cousins even the neighbors too. but congratulations to you coz you survived, i mean at the age of 8 is still such a kid. i have from my work since they are living abroad with any relatives is a difficult tasks, she use to take her kid at work when the school started she started to let her be dropped by their school bus at their home and let the kid (whose 8 also) to stay there alone. Like this things happens because there's no other choice specially when both parents are working. but in the other hand, parents can still find someone to be with the children while they are out.
@mikeysmom (2092)
• United States
3 Dec 08
wow. that is young to be left alone. it is also against the law, many states have laws about how old a child can be before he or she can stay at home alone. i believe here in nj it is 12 but i am not sure. i even think that is too young but that is me. i understand people need to work to make ends meet but they also need to find suitable care for their children. no child that young should be left to his own devices. there are too many things that could go wrong or happen.
• United States
3 Dec 08
my mom was a housewife so i was rarely home alone but my hubby was one and he is ok lol.. its funny because i sometimes think there are more latch key kids now but then there is a lot more paranoia on leaving kids at home that parents go over board.. i guess it depends on where you live and what kind of parents you have
@bunnybon7 (37678)
• Holiday, Florida
3 Dec 08
yes i was the same. i think it was not illegal back then but know it is definately now. i went through the same horrors you did. i think todays kids are not taught much responsibility and therefore could not even pull this off and cant be left alone.