Does a mom’s middleschooler have to be a latchkey kid?

A friend, who is a divorced mom, sent me a note that she is relocating from a small town to Cobb County. She was surprised at how different the school hours were for the elementary school, middle school and high school and can’t figure out how she can possibly get her children off to school and still be at work on time.

Here’s what she wrote:

“My elementary school child will have a school schedule from 8:00 to 2:15 and my middle schooler will have a schedule of 9:00 to 4:45pm.  I work from 7:30 to 4:30 M-F. The middle school does not have an after school program and they can’t be dropped off at school before 8:15 a.m.  Maybe some of the other posters would know of clubs or programs that the middle schooler can attend after school. There isn’t a Boys & Girls Club for his school. We will be moving to the Kemp/Lovinggood/Hillgrove school district in Powder Springs.”

“I guess the middle schooler could become a latchkey kid but that is something I ABSOLUTELY don’t want to do.  If I drop them off in the mornings, the middle schooler would have to be a latchkey kid in the afternoon.  Or, he could be a latchkey kid in the mornings and I would be there in the afternoons.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.”

OK folks we need all your fantastic collective knowledge to help this mom figure out what to do. She doesn’t have family near Cobb. (They live in the small town she is moving from due to her job.)

Are there any programs you can recommend in the Powder Springs area for middle schoolers? How have handled wacky drop off/pick up times? If they have to be latchkey kids, are they better being alone in the morning or the afternoon? Can middle schoolers handle being alone? Is it safe?

(I’m wondering if she’s got a new neighbor the middle schooler could just sit with before the bus comes.)

59 comments Add your comment


October 12th, 2009
4:29 pm

Just reread my first post..NOT 19 kids..It was only 10..Last year when I had my 2 nieces living with me, I let them walk about 1/2 mile to Blimpie..They came back and were scared to death, two men had hit on them..One was 14 and the other was 16..So, as others have pointed out, it only takes a couple of seconds for a child to be snatched up..

From a Law Enforcment perspective...

October 12th, 2009
6:31 pm

The world is not a more dangerous place to live in; it’s actually safer in most areas. Your child has a better chance of being struck by lightning than being abducted by a stranger (most abduction’s are done by family or friends). It might be scary to hear about cases such as Elizabeth Smart’s, but those are the exception, not the rule. Crime stays pretty consistent over the years, but news coverage has gone through the roof…and home invasions have always existed and been committed, they just weren’t called that in the past. Amber Alerts and Sex Offender registries have just improved people’s awareness of crime against children and improved the chances of getting a child back, had they existed in the 80’s in Atlanta there might have been a few lees children abducted then.


October 12th, 2009
9:39 pm

I don’t think middle school age is too young to be home alone. Empower kids to be confident, independent and responsible. Before school and after school would not be so much of a concern for me, but the summertime and school breaks would be.

When my son was in middle school, I worried more about my kid losing his key than meeting up with trouble. Also, friends with big ideas and and empty house were a more of a concern rather than complete strangers lurking around the corner.

I live close to the bus stop, and years ago, for the few weeks following the birth of her third baby, a neighbor asked if I would watch her daughter walk to the curve, where she would pick up the watch. I did it for a week or two, b/c the daughter wanted to walk “alone.” Small steps lead toward independence and responsible behavior. She was in the 2nd grade.


October 12th, 2009
9:45 pm

the legal age in georgia for a latchkey child is 9….wow…thats a little young…when i had to leave mine alone there were always chores that had to be done by the time i got home….that keeps them busy and keeps them from getting scared-having stuff that has to be done…kids do get scared…i dont care how old they are there are things that can make them scared. you need to have an understanding at work that they can call you (as long as they dont call too often for no good reason) and you need to call and check on them as often as you can. it is scary to leave your kids alone but you just have to do what you have to do. i also had a couple of their friends who were allowed over..not all..only ones who were mature enough.

just for the record…stats tell us that most teens have their first sex after school at home…just something to think about.


October 12th, 2009
9:46 pm is a site for info regarding this subject


October 13th, 2009
3:32 pm

I bet if the original parent with the question had posted that she was totally in favor of letting her middle-school-age child be a latchkey child, there would have been a ton of posters saying how she shouldn’t do it.

Protecting the rep

October 13th, 2009
6:40 pm

deidre my first sex (LATE teens) was before school when the parents weren’t home. If there was a will there was a way.

Gwinnett Parent

October 16th, 2009
9:57 pm

I was a latch key kid in middle school and had 2 older brothers, one in high school. Our house was the neighborhood hang out. We had a lot of fun. My mom was gone for long hours(business owner) and my dad was a sales exec. and traveled over 50% of the time. Our favorite thing was to go through our parent’s closet. They had some interesting VHS movies. It was also very easy to skip school, because my mother left before me. I walked home from school most days. It was a 1 mile walk. I am glad that my mother did not need to pop a bag of valium because it took more than 90 seconds to get home.

Today I am a successful adult, because I was given the opportunity to make my own decisions and be responsible. We wonder why the new generation graduating from college does not know how to think on their feet and is lacking creativity. Helicopter parenting is ruining our young. I am going to tell my daughter to become a therapist, because the helicopter moms are creating a steady stream of future clients.

Yeah, there is a chance that your kid could do drugs, have a party, or have sex within the 2 hour time window. However, this could happen away from home as well as at home. Are you planning to chaparone all dates until this child is 18?

hayley w

February 19th, 2010
9:23 pm

hello, would anyone like to complete a survey for me to do with latch ket children. please email me if you are able to complete one, thanks