This was a phrase used back in the late 1950s/1960s to described very young children (some as young as 8/9) who had a door key hung around their necks and came home from school to let themselves into an empty house.
I was a "latchkey" kid from the age of 12 as my mother worked pat time at Vernon's Pools until 5pm. I had to come straight home, wash any dishes, set the table, and prepare the vegatables ready for when my mother got homs. Later I had to also put them on the stove and light the gas.
I was not allowed to stay on at school for choir or drama practice as my father considered those "sissy". However when I mentioned "sports" practice he relented because sport (even if it wasnt football) was good. My parents never found out that I wasnt staying for netball or hockey. I HATED sport with a passion and was never good enough to be in any team.
Later I had a young sister who had to be let into the house when she got in from school. Fortunately there was an aunt nearby where she stayed on my "sports" evenings.
I never really minded being a latch key kid as it gave me a feeling of responsibility.
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