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Baby sitting

(157 Posts)
MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:00:06

Well, child sitting, seeing as my grandson is 11.
My neighbour/friend agreed that she would help out if I needed to work and wouldn't be home, which happened yesterday.

I worked until 10.
I came home to find grandson had put himself to bed (and was lying awake) and my neighbour had bought him down a microwave burger at dinner time.

She was sitting upstairs in her flat, and he was in mine, on his own.
I had shifts booked for the next two days, but have cancelled them, as I wouldn't have been home until 11.

I feel like crying...

In defence of my neighbour, she is a funny old stick and a bit eccentric, but I expected a bit more from her.

She knocks at mine several times a day to tell me every detail of everything that is going on with her life and that of her adult children, and I think I am more than patient.
I just feel really let down.
My first shifts and I have had to cancel..

I suppose I just wanted to get it off my chest. sad

MawBroon Thu 17-Jan-19 11:08:42

Dont cry - you and your grandson have survived! He may have found it all a bit of an adventure.
I agree your neighbour sounds (more than) a bit “odd” and might have reservations about depending on her. However in her day (and ours when we were children) we didn’t set quite so much store by childcare safety - remember all the latchkey kids?
So if you absolutely need her again you would have to give very clear instructions about how she does it.
But you have so much on your plate, - breathe flowers

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:13:08

I don't feel I can instruct her, as its a favour, (though obviously I would 'treat' her) but I'm a bit aghast that she could sit watching tv in her own flat and leave him down here on his own until that time.

She has already knocked this morning as usual (on her way to and from the shops) but I have ignored her, as I don't trust myself not to say something awful.

kittylester Thu 17-Jan-19 11:17:57

Don't cry MissA. I would feel the same a nd thwarted into the bargain. I can't help more than that I'm afraid but do understand!

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:23:16

Thank you for being kind, Maw and kitty.
I'm able to leave him for short periods, because I have to, sometimes, but I can't let him spend the whole evening on his own.

He just needs someone to sit in mine, to listen to him read and so on, and I literally don't have anyone to do it.

MawBroon Thu 17-Jan-19 11:24:13

When you can, I would start with the “positive”
He was fine
Thank you for the burger, another time I will leave tea
A 10 year old cannot (legally) be left alone in a flat -does she realise?
I will leave you something, or help yourself to the fridge and my TV, tea, coffee etc but do not leave him in the flat on his own.
(Although it is not ideal, a 10 year old can put himself to bed, he may have felt very grown up)

Telly Thu 17-Jan-19 11:26:16

Looks like a break down in communication. You obviously both had different expectations of what helping out entailed. You need to find alternative cover should the situation happen again so that you can accept shifts with some confidence. He didn't come to any harm which is the main thing, not that there is any reason that he should. I would just avoid the neighbour till you have calmed down, as you don't want a falling out.

grannyactivist Thu 17-Jan-19 11:29:26

This seems to me to be a simple misunderstanding, but I do feel for you - I would have been upset too. Your idea and your neighbour's as to what constitutes 'child sitting' are obviously different and perhaps you need to explain (kindly) that you had thought she would stay with your grandson and were surprised to find him alone when you got home.

I'm slightly bewildered that you feel you can't explain what is required of your friend because she is doing you a favour. I think an explanation is perfectly reasonable, favour or not.

Telly Thu 17-Jan-19 11:31:22

BTW - There is no legal age which defines when a child can be left alone. The govt website states 'The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.' It also seems that general thinking is that 12 is the age when they may be mature enough. But of course it depends on the child.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:33:44

I suppose I just assumed that she would know.
He didn't come to any harm, and it appears that he can be quite sensible, but I don't want him spending hours alone.

Its only a year since his life was turned upside down when his mum died, his brother went to live with his dad, his dog was rehomed and so on.
I just imagined she may take that into account.

Newatthis Thu 17-Jan-19 11:52:05

I guess if he was in a house and him downstairs and the childminder upstairs it wouldn't be a problem - not quite the same though. Does he have a mobile? would he have been able to call her for help if needed? Does he know not to answer the door to anyone but her? It seems a shame you have to miss work. What is your next door neighbour like? Can they help?

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:54:23

Yes, he knows all that stuff, but I don't want him coming home to an empty house, eating alone and putting himself to bed.
My next door neighbour works shifts too, so no, not able to help out.

Marilla Thu 17-Jan-19 12:04:57

I don’t think I would leave my grandson with the neighbour again. Despite your grandson being sensible, there is always risk of a fire or other emergency. Do you know of any older teenagers (sixth form) who would be looking to earn some money by keeping your grandson company when you are working? Or if the care of your grandson is official, can social services offer any advice? If none of these suggestions are feasible, are you able to work during the day rather than evenings? Your grandson is obviously very precious to you and to make this arrangement work, you need to think about a long term plan for the future.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 12:17:17

I think its one of those times when I could do with my mum. sad
No, we have no input from social services, although I have a court order in place for residency.
I think a teen is the best idea, although I don't know any.
My work is in the care industry, so the hours are pretty unsociable, but hopefully something will come up.
I think my neighbour is quite blinkered in her thinking sometimes.
She was quite obsessed by what time he should have the burger for some reason.. She has mental health problems, so is very set in some of her ways, and has some strange ideas.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 17-Jan-19 12:48:29

MissA, please do not upset yourself. You did all the correct things in order for your Grandson to be cared for, he was safe in bed when you came home.

Could he not have a "sleepover" with a friend from school when needed, and you could have the friend over to stay with you sometime.

Your neighbour sounds as if she is slightly confused and probably not the most reliable sitter.

Really hope you can get something in place soon.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 12:58:24

I don't know any of the other mums, as my daughters illness just took over both of our lives for the last year or so.
It was very isolating.. just hospital visits and treatments and so on.
My own friends seemed to fade away, too, apart from the odd text.
Its on my 'to do' list, to make at least one friend, just as soon as I get myself straight. Its just taking an awfully long time.

downtoearth Thu 17-Jan-19 13:07:44

MissA...can understand as I have been in the position when E first came to live with me,the responsibility gets to you to be mum,dad,not forgetting that he had also lost his nan too who then becomes 'mum' our case I was a nummy,you would do anything to make life secure for these children,I would have felt the same as you....still do,and she is now almost

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 13:24:24

Well, my neighbour has just been in.
She asked what time I was working today, and I told her I had cancelled.
"Oh" she said, "Well it will be alright".
"Well, I don't want him to be on his own until 11, and he was on his own last night".
"Oh, alright then" she said, then went straight on to tell me about yet more family problems her lot are having. hmm
I think yet another friendship has run its course.

Madgran77 Thu 17-Jan-19 13:54:43

Could you not say to her that there seems to have been a misunderstanding! Tell her that you are grateful for her help but that you are not comfortable for your grandson to be left alone so is she able to come and sit in your flat? If she says yes, then fine! If No, say thanks, we will leave it then!

Marilla Thu 17-Jan-19 13:56:04

MissAdventure, I have been giving more thought to your problem.
Might I suggest you contact the school your grandson attends and make an appointment to speak with the Headteacher as first port of call. She may be able to point you in the direction of useful contacts. The school may not know you are needing assistance with your grandson.
Please don’t leave him with the neighbour. She just isn’t a suitable person to be in charge of a young lad.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 13:59:28

I think its safe to say we'll be leaving it.
Also safe to say I won't be helping out with form filling in, moral support, help with appointments, explaining instructions, escorting to hospital and doctors appointments and being an 'in house' shoulder to lean on, cry on, and everything else.

Marilla Thu 17-Jan-19 14:01:18

You are quite right. You and your grandson are your priority and that will take up all your time and energy.
Please keep us posted in how things progress.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 14:05:21

Thank you Marilla.
Unfortunately, the school have been useless, unkind and dismissive of any problems.
Ranging from a teacher coming out to my daughters car to loudly tell her off for not getting out of it to pick up grandson at the gate, to the Senco person saying that since they knew that my daughter was dying they had no problem with grandson missing school as he wasn't playing truant, to still sending him home with letters addressed to my daughter months after she had died.

SueDonim Thu 17-Jan-19 14:21:14

I'm so sorry you've lost your daughter MissAdventure, what a tragedy. sad

Your neighbour doesn't sound suitable to be looking after a child. She doesn't sound deliberately uncaring but simply not up to the job. The way you describe her, she seems a bit airy-fairy.

Does your GS live with you fulltime? If so, then you need to arrange proper care for him and not have to rely on people's good will. Paying your neighbour might be a better option, as it would be more like a job and not just a favour.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 14:26:26

She isn't deliberately unkind, its true; in fact she is one of the kindest people I know, but she is strange, and getting stranger as the years pass, sadly.
I would happily pay her, but as I suspected, she isn't up to the job. (I knew really, before we even spoke about it, so that is my fault, with hindsight)

I'm just feeling very sorry for myself these last few weeks, tearful and angry at being pushed out to work.

I'm sure things will get better.

SueDonim Thu 17-Jan-19 14:30:56


Someone above suggested employing a teenager. That's a good way to go, beneficial for both teen, your GS and of course for you. Maybe contact Guide/Scout or other youth organisations?

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 14:37:04

Thank you all for helping me.
It does me good to be able to have a sensible chat about things. (Wavery.Smile.Icon)

EllanVannin Thu 17-Jan-19 14:50:33

MissAdventure, believe me but I feel tearful for you x You're one of those people I'd help no problem if you lived near.
I know I'm old myself but I'm still perfectly capable of helping anyone in distress without bending any ears about my life history. I often wish there were folk like yourself living near instead of me being surrounded by people akin to your neighbour.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 14:55:20

Ah, thank you, Ellan.
I just feel a bit defeated.
I love doing my care work; almost 30 years I've done it for, and it feels like its almost impossible now, just for the sake of someone to sit in my flat for a couple of hours.
Mind you, its cluttery! smile

farview Thu 17-Jan-19 15:03:23

Oh MissAdventure I can't offer any help but feel for you and your dillema've been through so much and are a wonderful it worth trying to find out if anyone on GN lives nearby and could help out x

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 15:06:47

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say wonderful. grin
I was just wondering about mumsnet?
Or, going out and scanning the cards in shop windows, maybe?

jacq10 Thu 17-Jan-19 15:08:20

Like EllanVannin I wish I stayed near you (it seems as though you are in England) as it would give me a focus to help out after the death of my DH. I think it is important for you to be able to continue with your work but I, like many others on this site and yourself, don't think you should rely on your neighbour. I would suggest you contact Social Work Dept who may not be able to provide back-up but could put you in touch with a voluntary organisation who may be able to help.

EllanVannin Thu 17-Jan-19 15:31:53

I don't look at " cluttery " in any home as I'm not a judgemental person. I see it as a home however it looks. It's the people inside who matter most.

Just be very careful in your quest,MissAdventure, as I know you will be and I hope very much that a solution will be found.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 15:39:10

Thank you.
Sometimes it helps just to have people 'listen', although being called wonderful doesn't go amiss. wink
I will be very careful, and I will carry on doing all of those things for my neighbour, now I've had time to think about it.
Not her fault; mine, for asking something which is too much for her, although I have no idea why it would be.
I'm feeling more understanding now I've moaned about her..

Jalima1108 Thu 17-Jan-19 15:57:42

Yes, best not to 'rock the boat' as you may need her in the future - although she doesn't sound at all reliable and in fact sounds a bit dotty. Your DGS is probably more sensible than she is.
You may find a teenage girl who would be happy to sit with him, but perhaps not in the week if she herself has to get up for school the next day.

I do hope you can sort out something suitable and manage to get some shifts which are better for you both.

Jalima1108 Thu 17-Jan-19 16:04:09

I would suggest you contact Social Work Dept
I'm not sure that I would do that.

A friend used to look after DC after school (wouldn't accept payment) but by the time she was 13 DC insisted she was fine to let herself in and look after herself after school.
It's not illegal to leave a child on their own but different authorities may put different interpretations on it. He sounds very sensible and I presume he has a mobile, can contact the neighbour who is only upstairs and knows all the rules re safety etc.

silverlining48 Thu 17-Jan-19 17:29:51

missA flowers [ sunshine] cupcake [ flowers] x

silverlining48 Thu 17-Jan-19 17:32:47

Sorry about the sunshine and second bunch of flowers, not sure why they didnt appear. X

silverlining48 Thu 17-Jan-19 17:34:11

Do you have a volunteer bureau nearby?

GrannyGravy13 Thu 17-Jan-19 17:38:36

Miss A, is it worth putting something on the local Facebook page (I am not on Facebook but know there is one). You may find someone in a similar situation whereby you may be able to help each other?

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 17:39:02

I don't know.
Probably not. We don't seem to have much except empty buildings.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 17:39:54

I don't use Facebook, grannygravy.
One of those times when I wish I did though.

grannyactivist Thu 17-Jan-19 17:43:22

What a lovely attitude you have MissA; I'm feeling more understanding now I've moaned about her.
Do you have any youth provision nearby? Local youth clubs (most are church run ones) may be able to help with advice and even some provide some activity nights.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 17:54:46

I'll check out all of the suggestions tomorrow, thank you.
Neighbour has gone off now to deal with yet another family crisis, so its just as well, really.
None of it is her fault; I think we both overestimated what she can manage these days.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 17-Jan-19 18:01:57

MissA I will make enquiries this side for you 💐

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 18:03:08

Oh thank you! I really would appreciate that! smile

Iam64 Thu 17-Jan-19 18:58:20

Miss A - just catching up with this and wanted to send some positive thoughts to you. Firstly, there is no legal age when children can be left alone. It's up to parents/carers. The down side is that if anything happens to a child (under 16) when s//he/s been left alone the carer can be prosecuted for neglect. I simply can't imagine that happening to you. I have work experience of the kind of place you find yourself and grandson in and can't imagine anyone being anything other than sympathetic and constructive

I'm involved in putting baby to bed right now, but will have a think and come back, hopefully with something constructive. Meanwhile, relax x

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 19:04:59

Its not the legal aspect that I was concerned about too much, although its also part of it.
I just think how miserable it must be to come home to an empty flat, eat dinner alone, and then get yourself ready and off to bed all without anyone there, when you've just turned 11.
Fine as a very occasional thing, perhaps, but not as a regular thing, particularly under the circumstances.

Jalima1108 Thu 17-Jan-19 19:07:50

Is this a new job MissA? Is it a case of last in does the most unsocial hours?
Would you be able to change your hours in the near future?

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 19:13:00

Its care work, and the shifts are almost always unsociable hours.
There are exceptions, but its an agency, so I have to get my feet in the door, as it were.
I think they're well and truly out at minute!
My thinking was to persevere until I could find somewhere with better hours, so I could become a regular ad hoc worker, as and when it fits in with grandson.

Day6 Thu 17-Jan-19 19:27:10

Oh Miss A, what a dilemma (and a heartache) for you when you and your grandson have lost a person so precious to them. I am so sorry that things aren't running smoothly.

I can understand you wanting to do your very best for your grandson in the circumstances, and I agree, he being left alone in the evening wasn't what you planned and is worrying. I am so sorry your neighbour failed you both, and I am sorry too that you have to go out to work unsociable hours. It's no wonder you feel like crying.

I couldn't have a falling out with your neighbour, mainly because she is someone you know and who knows you. It does sound as though you give more of yourself to her then she gives to you.

I really wouldn't know the best way to go about getting a reliable babysitter, so I am of little help. I wouldn't go to social services though. The last thing you want now is anyone carelessly and thoughtlessly applying labels - about you not being there for your grandson, or he being at risk or neglected. That would be awful, but you know how people can misinterpret situations.

I do sympathise with you and if I lived nearby I'd gladly help out. I wish I could offer more helpful advice. flowers

Jalima1108 Thu 17-Jan-19 19:33:04

Miss A, is it worth putting something on the local Facebook page (I am not on Facebook but know there is one)
I don't think I would do that, you don't know who might reply. You need someone you can trust. Is his brother nearby, could he help or perhaps if he has a girlfriend?

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 19:36:29

Thank you.
The shift times have not been an issue really, and they still wouldn't be if I had reliable help.
Working 9-5 Monday to Friday only works during term time, so I would rather do late finishes a few times a week and be around more during school holidays.

I'm going to work as a dinner lady, I think.
My most dreaded job!

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 19:38:49

His brother is at college now, and works in the family business as well.
Plus, his dad now has full say about what he can and can't do (for now!)

Jalima1108 Thu 17-Jan-19 19:44:22

School secretary? Few and far between though.

farview Thu 17-Jan-19 19:49:41

Or what about teaching assistant?

Jalima1108 Thu 17-Jan-19 19:50:50

Don't you have to pay for your own training course for TA?

kathsue Thu 17-Jan-19 20:09:00

When my gs was younger I had 2 babysitters who were his schoolfriends' big sisters ( both teenagers). So they weren't exactly strangers because I'd met the parents at the school gates and his friends. Not that I went out much... the PTA meeting was the highlight of my week sometimes!

I know what you mean about help from the school---sporadic at best--absolute cr*p at worst.

Good for you for looking after your gs though. I know how hard it is on your own but it is rewarding. flowers.

Coconut Fri 18-Jan-19 09:44:19

We all have our own ideas about when it is acceptable to leave a child and I think a lot of it depends on the maturity of the child. However, as Mums/Grans we do guilt trip ourselves and you are obviously feeling let down that your neighbour didn’t stay with your GS as you had expected. I expect that you are beating yourself up “ what if something had happened”. It didn’t, so be kind to yourself 💐

Saetana Fri 18-Jan-19 09:47:23

Whilst I cannot guarantee it is operating in your area, there is a local social network called Next Door
This consists of people who live within a couple of miles of each other and there are often requests for babysitting, dog walking, recommendations etc. In our area there are always plenty of young students available for these sort of jobs to make a little extra cash.

GrannyAnnie2010 Fri 18-Jan-19 09:49:01

When I had issues similar to yours, I stopped nursing and started waitressing. Big change but, looking back, I can say I did the right thing.

4allweknow Fri 18-Jan-19 09:50:49

Your neighbour doesn't sound the right person to mind your GS. Is there a college near you that you can perhaps approach regarding student earning a bit of cash childminding. Some have childcare courses so probably the best ones to approach. Not sure about the need for record checks if over 16 years though but sure this could be googled! Perhaps someone where you work would know or have a teenager willing to help out. Don't give up, keep open dialogue about how GS feels about situation, he may even come up with a solution.

M0nica Fri 18-Jan-19 09:55:17

MisAdventure, I do not think anyone could fault you, you did all the right things. Your sitter was someone you knew and your grandson knew her and you had a clear idea of what baby-sitting meant, which was in complete accord with almost everybody else in the country's - except your neighbours.

I quite agree about not being happy with him spending all that time on his own. After all he has been through so recently, however well he is coping, and at his, still young age, he will still be fragile. I wouldn't want to risk leaving him in this lady's charge again.

So good luck in finding another solution to the problem.

georgia101 Fri 18-Jan-19 09:57:56

We have been in a similar position to you so can relate to the isolation of looking after your daughter. Ours died last July after four long years of illness. Her children lived with us the last two years. Now they have gone to their respective fathers and I'm feeling doubly bereaved. I found the schools were very helpful and understanding of the situation surrounding the children so perhaps your school could advise you on childminding services you could use. Or perhaps you could contact the senior school near you to see if they know of a person that already does childminding? I know how much you have and are going through, and let me tell you that I'm proud of you. Not all family put the children first. Social Services were also reassuring about not taking our grandchildren into care unless absolutely essential and they could see they were fine with us. Although I was scared stiff of that happening, they just offered support to us, mostly emotional support. We didn't take it up, but they might be able to help you re babysitting if you really get stuck. My instinct is not to get them involved unless essential though as the press reports of them taking children scares me, and you don't need any more upsets in your lives. What about an honorary grandparent situation? Obviously that would take time to find someone you can trust and feel entirely comfortable with, but that could benefit a lonely older person as well as yourselves. Good luck.

Struggling2do1 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:03:09

Day 6 . I wouldn't go to social services though. The last thing you want now is anyone carelessly and thoughtlessly applying labels - about you not being there for your grandson, or he being at risk or neglected. That would be awful, but you know how people can misinterpret situations.

Wow talk about unhelpful statements Day 6!
Firstly I have investigated a number of cases of children left 'home alone' and always looked into the background in order to understand why and in cases like Miss A would look at helping to find solutions rather than being punitive or indeed applying labels.
My suggestion (for what it's worth) contact your local FE establishment where there is a Child Care Course running and see if a student or students would be up for some childminding. They will have been police checked and clearly child focuses given their chosen course.
Good luck and my hats off to you Miss A for stepping in and providing a loving home for DGS, I have known many who have not.

silverlining48 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:12:57

georgia there are no words, so very sorry, flowers and i hope you see your grandchildren regularly.

Jayelld Fri 18-Jan-19 10:28:25

Miss adventure
Have you contacted CAB to find out all the financial help you are entitled to? Besides Housing and Council Tax benefit there is Child and Working Tax and, I think but not sure Guardians allowance.
Speak to your Grandson to see if any of his friends have older siblings who would sit with him, (My 16 yr GS babysits for a neighbour roughly once a week). Or contact your local college or uni for student babysitters, maybe prepare and hand out flyers at the school gates. Also look into childminders, there might be one or two in your area who don't mind evenings, (they can be expensive though).
For yourself, next time one of your friends texts you, call her back, have a chat and arrange to meet for a coffee, or maybe send the text yourself.
Hope things resolve themselves quickly for you and you have one less burden to carry.

GabriellaG54 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:28:51

Gosh! I'm so sorry sad to read about your situation and if I lived near you, helping out would be a pleasure, to give you peace of mind.
Is it feasible to discuss this with the head of your GS's school? (S)he may have some suggestions re mothers who live near your home and you could pick him up on late shifts or teens k own to her who are honest and responsible. Uni student? Whoever, they must come with a recommendation as it's your home and your GC and they must be utterly responsible.
I really hope you can access some appropriate help, having said that, I wish I could offer more than an opinion. flowers

GabriellaG54 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:30:15


GabriellaG54 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:32:19

IMO flyers might not be a good thing. It's advertising that you won't be there and a vulnerable young person is alone. Flyers get discarded and who knows who reads them.

grannygranby Fri 18-Jan-19 10:45:41

Hi Misadventure, having read this truly upsetting post I am left wondering whether this Neighbour is lacking in self confidence or is truly selfish and self obsessed..and I think possibly the former.
She seems to rely a lot on you and it is humanly reasonable for you to expect reciprocation, but I have learnt that this rarely happens.. so another approach is needed. For instance have you ever invited her to watch tv with both you and grandson? Have you ever encouraged s bond between them? Strange as it may seem although she is an adult and your gs a child she might feel inadequate or shy in his company. She may be unconfident in those kind of social situations.
So rather than lose her, which i’m sure you are tempted to do, and I know you have a lot on your plate, you three should sit round a table and ask what they would like to do together. You never know they might like board games; It’s another strand of your caring! For which there are many rewards but not always direct ones. Good luck you can do it.

GillT57 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:53:34

I would suggest contacting the local 6th form or college and asking if they have a jobs board. Many teenagers will be happy to earn some money while they do their homework in the peace and quiet of your home. If they are doing childcare or even better if their is a university nearby which has teaching degree course, then they will also be DBS checked. My DD was working as a waitress while studying for her degree in Primary Ed and was approached by a customer who was chatting about her course and her plans. She ended up babysitting for them on a regular basis and was delighted to get out of her crowded student flat for a nice warm comfy home! If you provide food too even better! If it is any comfort, we are all supporting you online and wish we could be there with you to help practically.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:54:59

According to the law doesn't state precisely at what age children may legally be left alone at home, perhaps Maw has more information. I thought it was illegal in Scotland to leave children under 10 alone at home and have no idea about England or Wales.

I understand why you were upset and worried. If your neighbour is looking after the child again, could you leave him a phone, so he can phone her at need, or you?

If you can afford to pay for child care perhaps the best thing would be to find a responsible adult who could help out.

Kim19 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:57:45

Gosh MissA I'm overwhelmed with compassion for you and how you are dealing with the currently lousy deal fate has dealt you. Beyond admirable and thoroughly moving. Bravo! I would ask you to consider visiting the ministers of any locallish churches and explaining your plight. It matters not a whit of your spiritual conviction. There are many people of various ages therein who are even lonely themselves and would love the 'opportunity' you present to help out. The minister in question would know his flock and steer you mutually accordingly. Then these individuals (I think more than one would be helpful for flexibillity) would endeavour to build up a rapport with you and your grandson. I have yet to see any 'payback' pressure and I urge you to at least consider this. These people tend not to be judgemental so do take a chance. In the meanwhile may I again state my admiration for you.

Urmstongran Fri 18-Jan-19 10:58:07

What an awful situation MissA for you to juggle. And be anxious about. You need to work yet you have an 11y old grandson unwell and off school. And you are both recently bereaved too. This must be so stressful. No wonder you felt like crying. I would too.
I can’t think of anything helpful. Others are giving good advice though.
I’m sure you’ll want to get your ducks in a row for next time.
It’s good to vent - saves it going round your head. 💐

Jalima1108 Fri 18-Jan-19 10:59:12

Asking a lecturer at a local college if there are any students (particularly those doing a childcare course) who might be willing to sit would be a good idea. I wouldn't advertise in any overt way, though, FB or flyers etc.

I looked after children when I was a student - it was preferable to working in a pub or shop which some of my other friends did and enjoyable too.

Jane43 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:03:18

So sorry to hear of your dilemma. I agree it is unsettling for your GS to be alone after all he’s been through. I hope you can find somebody trustworthy to help out in these situations but please be careful of what information you put in the public domain and who you place trust in. I think the idea of speaking to someone from a local college or university to see if you can offer a student some valuable caring experience is very good. Having worked in a college myself I can say that it is often difficult for tutors to find sources of work experience for their students. It is certainly worth a try. I wish you both all the very best and hope you achieve peace of mind in the near future.

Bbbface Fri 18-Jan-19 11:03:20


Completely off the point, but are you sure you’re getting the benefits you are entitled to as a guardian?

TwiceAsNice Fri 18-Jan-19 11:07:10

Is there a local church yiu could talk to? The Vicar would know all the teenagers attending church/ youth groups and may know someone who would like to earn a little money or there could be an older person who might be interested. Worth a try I know our church is very approachable

ajanela Fri 18-Jan-19 11:09:20

I know people who contact their children who are home alone by Facebook. I think you can do it on messenger. I know I have helped my 13 year old grandson with homework, cooking his dinner, played games with him and generally keeping him company. It is like he is in the same room but we just happen to be 1000 miles away.

ajanela Fri 18-Jan-19 11:14:46

Babysitters are good but often charge as much as the op is earning for a much easier job.

Hollydoilly10 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:24:38

Sounds like she is loosing her marbles, I would feel left down and wouldn't ask her again.
You can't go to work and childsit at the same time. we need to learn to say no.

mabon1 Fri 18-Jan-19 11:36:18

Dont ask again.

rizlett Fri 18-Jan-19 11:37:44

I'm sorry you're in this frustrating situation MissA. Thank goodness your DGS has someone like you by his side.

I wondered if there is Homestart in your area - they may be able to offer more information.

I'm not sure how old you are - no need to say! - but if you end up not being able to work you can still gain NI contributions towards your state pension when caring for your grandchildren.

Yogabuddy Fri 18-Jan-19 11:47:01

Oh I feel for you, what a terribly sad time you have been living through. I do hope you will find some solutions to your problems, and please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your daughter.

sarahellenwhitney Fri 18-Jan-19 12:07:35

Are you now fully responsible for grandsons welfare.?
He has lost his mother so social services should be made aware of your circumstances.
I would not rely on this person who appears to be unconcerned about what time your grandson gets a meal.

breeze Fri 18-Jan-19 12:43:08

Firstly MissA, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you. Feeling overwhelmed and low is very understandable and it's still early days. Add childcare and money worries to that and it’s not surprising you feel torn and are struggling.

Your neighbour isn’t really at fault and nor are you. It seems she has a lot of family worries herself combined with the onset of dementia. So leaving your DGS with her isn’t a good idea even if you could get through to her that you meant for her to sit with him all evening.

I don’t know your circumstances to know why his brother lives with his father so they’ve been separated but can only guess your daughter was married twice. So your DGS is not his and your DGS’s father isn’t on the scene. Also it seems you have no other family members to help you, like a sister/brother/cousin.

So please excuse my ‘assumptions’ but I am guessing you would’ve turned to family if you could.

Someone made a very good point in this thread asking if you have explored all options regarding benefits you may be entitled to.

Now if I were in your shoes I would definitely consider finding other work. As someone said above, paying for childcare, especially evening childcare, would cancel out your pay and I think it would be risky to get an unknown teenager or other volunteer to sit with him as you have no idea of their background.

I think your DGS needs you. He has lost his mother and his brother at a tender age and he needs stability and someone he trusts to be with him. Believe me I know this. I lost my mother when I was 8 years old, then within a year, both of my sisters left home as they didn’t get on with my father. He decided he couldn’t cope so he sent me to live with an elderly aunt who didn’t understand children. I won't say more as this isn’t about me and I’m only bringing it up because it really did mess with my head that I lost my entire family at 8 years old within 1 year. If just one person had remained I think I would’ve been alright.

Your DGS lives with you is secure and loved but it would be better to have you with him for meals, homework and watching tv together. A real family home.

This is in no way a criticism of you at all. I think you’ve already realised a change of job is what’s needed by your comment re ‘dinner lady’ position. Is there anyway you could become a classroom assistant? Perhaps you could get some advice. The Home Start site someone mentioned above could be a good place to start for advice. Maybe temp work that doesn’t involve shifts? Easy to say but not easy to find I imagine.

I really hope you can get something sorted out where you can spend the evenings/weekends/holidays with your DGS but still cope financially. There are various groups for single parents that could be a good place to start for not only advice but support too. People who understand. I wish you every bit of luck possible to sort this out and feel better. flowers

Edithb Fri 18-Jan-19 13:06:27

Are there any local nurseries? Some of the workers there may be glad of extra money and they have training in child care, albeit younger children.

winterwhite Fri 18-Jan-19 13:12:35

Coming late to this thread and nothing new to add but Oh, MissA, I would not only have felt like crying but done so. Hope you can keep going with the equally important work that you do. I can't imagine the misery of having a childcare crisis like this just when you felt ready to extend a bit and take on new shifts.

How lucky your grandson is to have a gran like you.

crazyH Fri 18-Jan-19 13:27:50

So , so sorry about the loss of your daughter. And how sad for your little grandson. I want to come over and give you both a big hug.
As someone mentioned there's no legal age for being left alone. But I would worry about leaving a 10 year old on his own. I don't leave my 15 year old teenage granddaughter on her own, for more than 1/2 hour.
Your neighbour seems so self centred especially when you are going through so much. Glad you've ended that friendship. Hope you can sort things out . Big hug coming your way xx

Pat1949 Fri 18-Jan-19 13:33:42

I can understand how you feel, but 11 is far to young to be left on his own. It does seem as though you've made any firm plans with this neighbour so perhaps she doesn't know what was expected of her.

janc Fri 18-Jan-19 14:06:31

Hi, have you thought of looking at child minders or advertising for 'babysitter'?
You are right your grandson has been through a lot in his small life, I hope you get settled xx

Caro57 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:11:16

Sounds tricky - did she remember she was ‘minding’ him and thought her actions were ok or did she forget about him?

willa45 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:26:19

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. Your grandson is lucky to have you and you can both do this with a little more planning.
First let me start by saying that at age 11, your grandson is old enough to be left alone provided his surroundings are safe. If you prepare a meal ahead of time, all he has to do is reheat (microwave?). Are you able to check on him from time to time by phone? Does he have homework to do and does he have a list of chores? How far away is his dad? As long as he has a mobile with emergency numbers he can speed dial (i.e. you, dad, your crazy neighbor, police, fire dept. and ambulance) he should be fine. Don't under estimate your grandson....give him some free time to watch TV or read a book, but make sure he has responsibilities so that he occupies his time productively.

Our own grandson is eleven. He gets off the school bus (with his younger sister) at about 3:20 PM. Together they walk about a half a block (along with other students, parents etc.). He lets himself in with the house key, prepares a snack for himself and his little sister and they're allowed to watch TV for an hour. They also have to do their homework until my daughter comes home at around 5:30 - 6:00 PM. They've had this arrangement since the current the school year began and so far it's working well.

Nannan2 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:26:38

Im wondering why she didnt take him up to her flat to sit in with her?yes he would have been up late- but he was awake anyhow,and maybe it would have been easier for her& she might have made the both of them more than a burger?Actually im surprised you didnt arrange that with her in the first place-it makes more sense if shes a bit eccentric& may 'forget' or whatever.But yes its what they did in her day probably-just 'listen out' for a child in another flat or next door! Also if she herself needs all the help you give her then no id say she shouldnt look after your grandson- maybe a burger or ready meal is all she can prepare at all if she is how you describe.(in fact you could probably have been able to apply for a carers allowance from DWP for doing all that for you supporting her?)what about GS dad?is he willing to help when youve got to work?(im sorry im presuming there thats its same dad as his brother?)or his brother- is he older and could sit him maybe?i guess you could ask at local college if theres any sensible young lady on the childcare courses who'd like to earn a bit of cash- but i wouldnt just put an ad up or some such it might not be safe? you could get allsorts applying just for the money these dayshmmAnd yes you can ask at social services but theyre very stretched on carers front and might just 'breath down your neck' for years without really helping you-can work just give you day shifts for now at all?Has your GS got friends already whom he could sleepover with occasionally?or any other relatives who can help?Or his dad giving financial support at all so you can just work 9-3?Im so sorry for you all for the loss of your daughter- i hope ive not offended you in any way and have made some helpful suggestions.good lucksmile

Elrel Fri 18-Jan-19 14:32:24

Hope you soon find a more suitable sitter for your grandson. You both need as calm and routine a life as possible after going through so much.

Should you find that you do ever need to call on your neighbour to help in an emergency this might help you. Give her a card with a clear short list of what she needs to remember. Put the same information up in your flat, perhaps inside the door. It almost sounds as if she thought all she had to do was give your grandson something to eat and be available if needed - in her own flat!

Coyoacan Fri 18-Jan-19 14:36:37

It's hard to give advice, knowing so little of your circumstances, but do you have a spare room?

Because, if you could afford it, you could get an au pair, and if not, a lodger, maybe offering them a discount if they can stay in with your GS.

Nannan2 Fri 18-Jan-19 14:44:20

Yes very good suggestions too of asking at church and homestart- at least you may get sensible people to help who can be trusted- also you could make good friends for you both.And often these have kids clubs GS can make new friends there too.smileDoes your GS get to keep in touch with his brother at all- it must be awful for him right now as hes lost his mum and brother as well from his his brother close enough to come sleepover or visit sometimes?(even if hes younger it means not losing him too)It must be difficult for you too as your other GS is suddenly not there either.I wish i were near enough to help you myselfsad

Nannan2 Fri 18-Jan-19 15:23:35

I would be very careful of what you advertise- particularly the facebook side of things- you need someone reliable trustworthy caring- so as said earlier churchgroup or homestart is probably best starting point.(or college/university childcare students.)As for your neighbour- if shes got "family crisis" then she must surely have family who can do the form filling/dr/ hosp appts etc with her?are you sure they arent already claiming a carers allowance for 'doing' all that for her while in reality she turns to you for help?Bit cynical to assume this i know but it may be worth asking her outright if you can apply for a carers allowance for doing all that for her?(theres a form or look online at DWP website)apply in your own right to get this it £62 a week- if your doing all those things for her im sure your entitled.Yes i would ask at welfare benefits advice office if theres any help you can get financially(child tax credit?)you can get it if you work certain hours,or if on benefits only too.maybe you wouldnt need to do so many hours at work then?& could stick to school hours?

Bekind Fri 18-Jan-19 15:28:55

I'm so sorry! It makes me tear up, too!