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#1 WaitForMe

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:07 PM

How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc
- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

Ok, we get these kinds of questions on EB all the time for kids of today, but what about when you were a kid?

A rough idea of the year would be interesting if you don't mind giving away your age.

#2 Kabu84

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:15 PM

I'm 35


- left at home without a carer: 12
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only 7
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc 10
- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

My memory is a little fuzzy but I think this is roughly the ages.

I was only thinking the other day about how young I was when I used to head out on my bike all day to various shops, friends houses, mcdonalds etc. I must have been about 9-10. Unfortunately I don't think my kids will be able to enjoy that level of freedom at that age!

#3 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:16 PM

View PostWaitForMe, on 19 July 2019 - 05:07 PM, said:

How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc
- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

Ok, we get these kinds of questions on EB all the time for kids of today, but what about when you were a kid?

A rough idea of the year would be interesting if you don't mind giving away your age.


hmmm... back in the early 90s, i did all of that in primary school.  But probably not first years.  So I guess I was 9 or 10.  I did have a sister that was 2 years older and we generally did things together.  But I definitely walked 1km to my friends house, by myself, during primary school.  And we would walk to the local milk bar together.  
By the time i was 11ish I would catch the train 1 stop to see a movie and maybe go shopping, and return home, with a friend.

#4 born.a.girl

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:16 PM

I first 'left home' without a carer when I danced across the main street of Bendigo, Pall Mall, and my mother found me jumping up and down the steps of the post office, from the other side of the road.  I started school, half way through prep, at 4 1/2 so must have been younger than that.

First walked to school alone second day of school, as was the custom. Would have been 4 1/2, 1957, but school was only about fifteen houses away.  Probably supposed to be watched by older sisters but you know how that goes ...

I think my biggest childhood milestone was being sent interstate to the RCH, alone, at 13.  I still can't comprehend my mother choosing to not come with me.  I was there for six weeks, and she had somewhere close she could stay.


ETA: Sorry, that was a bit maudlin, just been sorting through some of my mother's things, so on my mind.

Edited by born.a.girl, 19 July 2019 - 05:17 PM.


#5 José

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:16 PM

* about 10 .
* 8.5- 9 .
* 9-10.


#6 hills mum bec

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:22 PM

I am way too old to remember any of that.  I once attended a 21st birthday of somebody who grew up in the same street as me and when I got chatting with his Mum she said to me "Oh, I remember you!  I always thought you had so much independence at such a young age."  Meaning she often saw me out and about without parents in sight.

My Dad worked shift work, my Mum worked during the day from when I was about 8 so I guess by that age I would have been getting myself to and from school which was only two streets away.  I have childhood memories of rushing to get all my chores done on a Saturday morning so that I could go out and play.  Play dates were never organised, you just walked to a friends house and asked if they wanted to play and then made sure you were home by dinnertime.  I'm sure most of the time my parents had no idea where I was or which friends I was with.  My best friend also lived two streets away from the school but on the other side and I remember walking back and forth together between our houses a couple of times every day on the weekends.  If I had to guess I would say around 8 I would have been allowed out to walk to my friend's house by myself.  The shop was across the road from my friends house and I do remember being given money to go get milk, bread, cigarettes for Dad and then I could spend the change.  I lived in the suburbs but everybody knew everybody back then.  My Uncle owned the fish & chip shop, the lady who owned the deli (milk bar) was a neighbour and I would have known who lived in just about every house in the suburb.

ETA - I'm 43 so this would have been in the mid 1980's.

Edited by hills mum bec, 19 July 2019 - 05:23 PM.


#7 Kreme

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:27 PM

- Left home alone probably for short times around 8, which just would have been days when I got home from school before mum got home from work.

- walked to and from school at age 5 (1974). I tried to set off with the neighbourhood kids on the first day but mum convinced me to let her come just the once.

- I was walking to the local shop from about 6 or 7. Often with a note from dad to buy him a packet of benson & hedges.

#8 Elizabethandfriend

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:29 PM

All of mine were between the ages of 6 and 7.

#9 kadoodle

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:34 PM

View PostElizabethandfriend, on 19 July 2019 - 05:29 PM, said:

All of mine were between the ages of 6 and 7.

Same. My parents both worked, and OOSC wasn’t a thing yet.

#10 JustBeige

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:43 PM

I'm 55

How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer - around 6 or 7.
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only - same ages. pretty sure I walked most of kindy to school and back.
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc - this one was abit older as we had to cross a busy main road (no lights or pedestrian crossings) - so around 9 or 10.
- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

left at home to mind younger sibs.? probably around 8 and he was 5.  Used to drive me absolutely insane.

First sneak of alcohol (passion pop) around 12/13.
First cig.  around the same time - definitely High school

First fist fight - around 8 or 9. Beat up someone who was picking on my baby brother.

#11 .Jerry.

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:49 PM

View PostWaitForMe, on 19 July 2019 - 05:07 PM, said:

How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc
- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

Ok, we get these kinds of questions on EB all the time for kids of today, but what about when you were a kid?

A rough idea of the year would be interesting if you don't mind giving away your age.

I was a child in the 1970s:
- left at home without a carer -  no idea really.  But first stayed home while parents went away on holidays when I was 15.  Was babysitting kids by time I was 14.  Imagine I was left at home for short periods by 12.
- Walk to and from school - used to ride bike to school at about 10.  Was a fair way.
- Go to shops - probably about 9.  We used to play in what we called "the big hole" when we were under 8.  It was the gutter storm water drain a block away

​We used to hike up a local hill at aged 10-ish.  I recently hiked it as an adult and am shocked mum let us go. It's a hard, long hike and quite dangerous.  I don't think mum had any idea.

Mum used to leave my younger brother home sleeping when she drove about 10 minutes away to pick up my sister from preschool.  Brother was a baby/toddler.  Mum would have easily been gone a half hour or more.  It was common for mum to do this.   Her recollection is that what is what people did then and it was because she didn't want to disturb his nap.

Edited by .Jerry., 19 July 2019 - 05:50 PM.


#12 Pip_longstockings

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:50 PM

- left at home without a carer - maybe about 7/8 but the neighbours were all home and we had directions to see them if needed. We tended to hang out at their place but went home if we ever had a fight etc.

- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only - 5 I was walking with sister to the bus stop maybe about 700-800m, and then 2km to school by about 6/7 with my sister 2 years older

- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc - aged 8/9. We used to ride our bikes to the shop.

My parents worked but went to shops with neighbours kids and their mum was at home.

#13 SelceLisbeth

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:52 PM

How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc
- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

I was a child of the 80's living in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Left at home didnt really happen until moving back to victoria when I was about 11.

Walking to/from school alone was 5yo.

Walking around wherever was about the same age. Not a great idea given the snakes, buffalo and crocs. In grade one my friends and I would have competitions on who was brave enough to run and jump over red-bellied black snakes. Not an adult in sight.

#14 Gudrun

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:52 PM

I was a kid in the fifties. Everyone walked to school on their own, caught the bus, walked to the shops, visited friends etc on their own from the time they started school.

So I would have been 4. It was actually a lot of fun as I recall.

Families had either one car or no car.  No kids were driven to school.  Our school was set back from the road.  There was space for teachers to park and that was it.  The bus was just the public bus and kids would get off at the top of a long school path and walk in.  Or you could walk in at the back across the creek.

#15 Babetty

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:56 PM

View PostWaitForMe, on 19 July 2019 - 05:07 PM, said:

How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer
I remember being home from school sick on my own in grade 5 / 6, so about 11. Presumably I'd had shorter stays at home or with my 2 years older brother before that.
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only
In FYOS, but that was in a small village in England, school was round 2 corners and the village was full of kids with fathers at the military staff college nearby. Moved to Canberra in grade 1, brother and I walked to local primary school 5 minutes walk away, there was a pedestrian underpass so we didn't need to cross any roads.
- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc
FYOS - see above. The single shop was at the end of the street and the street.

- ??? other milestone independence you want to add

In FYOS all kids roamed wild - including re-enacting WW2 using an old gun emplacement on the hill across from our street, which was covered in stinging nettles.

In surburban Canberra, I'd go by myself to the little park along our street, or round the corner to a friend's house.


A rough idea of the year would be interesting if you don't mind giving away your age.

This was early 80s

#16 spr_maiden

Posted 19 July 2019 - 05:58 PM

- with older siblings home I was 6, on my own 8 or 9, I remember as I was home sick and it caused a fight between my parents. With both parents approval and on my own,  I would have been 11 or 12 from my memory.
- 5&1/2 with an older sibling, 6/7 on my own
- 7 or so.
- to friends house,  7
- gone all day, riding around town with friend, and maybe out of town to the river, 9 or 10.

Edited by spr_maiden, 19 July 2019 - 05:58 PM.


#17 all-of-us

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:01 PM

Small country town in the 80’s.
Walked every where
Came home and no parents would just watch the only tv station ABC


#18 rainne

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:03 PM

11 for all of them. My primary school was the other end of the city from home, so I couldn't walk or bus home, and my mum was over protective for the era (80s) and it was a rough area.

At 11 we moved to a nice safe suburb where I could walk to school so things changed.

I leave my own kids alone for short periods at 7 and 10, and the 10 year old is allowed more freedom than I was at her age to do things like take the dog on a short walk or go to the library or the shops. I'd let them walk to school together if it wasn't a couple of suburbs away, and next year (8 and 11) they'll catch the bus.

All of which means that I give my kids more freedom than I had!

#19 PhillipaCrawford

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:09 PM

I'm 56.
How old were you when first:
- left at home without a carer

When I was a baby I slept in the rectory while mum and dad when to church next door.(My grandfather was the priest so it was grandparents house)
- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only

We caught a bus to school so definitely first year of school, probably first week.  It was a mile away - country town and cost 5c. Mum didn't have a car

- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc 6or7

I remember walking home from kindergarten aged 4. Our house was at the end of the street and mum stood there and watched me - there would have been babies asleep.

At about 7 and 9 my brother and I were put on the bus from Whyalla to Adelaide as the youngest had pneumonia, so we were shipped off to grandparents. I got stuck in the toilets at a petrol station, still remember the terror when I couldn't manipulate the lock. Fortunately it suddenly gave.

#20 4lilchicks

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:14 PM

I'm 39.

Left at home without a carer - 10/11

Walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only - 8

Walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc - 11

I also used to catch the train into the city (approx 50 min train trip) and go shopping when I was 15

#21 CaSPer79

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:24 PM

Left at home without a carer - never really. Always had older sisters or brother home.

Walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only - never, caught a bus which stopped outside school and outside house.

Walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc - corner store was 6yrs old.

Caught bus and train into city with friends in early high school.

#22 Expelliarmus

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:25 PM

I’m 45.

Left home without a carer? No idea. But I walked myself to and from school from day one. Mum did walk me there the first day but I walked home with my brother who would have been 6yo.

I got hit by a car coming home one day during that FYOS so I’m not saying it was great! Still, mum never walked me there after that either.

Left alone at home for the day from 10.

Bus to the city from 12.

I was 13 and my brother 14 when mum and dad first left us alone for a week while they went away.

Edited by Expelliarmus, 19 July 2019 - 06:52 PM.


#23 BadCat

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:39 PM

Mum used to leave me in the care of my older brothers for progressively longer periods from when I was about 6 or 7.  They would have been about 8 and 10.  I REALLY wish she hadn't.

Used to walk to school with brothers and neighbour kids from about 6.

We mostly used to ride to the shops and school until they banned riding to school and we had to start walking.  It was a pretty long hike.  Still rode to the shops though.  Probably from about 8 totally on my own.

Used to ride all the way across the suburb to my besties house on my own when I was about8.

#24 BeAwesome

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:42 PM

- left at home without a carer

Maybe 11 or 12 for a couple of hours, with my friend who was 2 years older.

- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only

I never walked home from school, I got picked up.

- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc

Our 'local shops' was a giant Westfield, probably about 12.  I was allowed to catch the bus into the city with friends from about 14.

I know I was in late primary school and spent most of the holidays off riding my bike with friends, getting home at sunset.

I'm an only child if that skews the results any.

#25 kimasa

Posted 19 July 2019 - 06:45 PM

All of this occurred in the 90s

- left at home without a carer
8

- walk to/from school on your own/with other kids only
5/the second week of prep. Mum walked with me for the first week, then on the second week sent me off with the big family of kids down the road

- walk to the nearby shops to buy a bag of lollies etc
5

- ??? other milestone independence you want to add
12/year 7 for taking the public bus to and from school, by term 2 this began including going to the city/shops/movies with friends only




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