Let Kids, 12 & 9, Stay in Hotel Room Alone?
Question about leaving kids alone at a hotel. My family lives in Texas and my husband and I were invited to his cousins wedding in Colorado, we really want to go, and we want to use it as an excuse to have a family vacation for a week or so before the wedding. Only problem is it’s a child-free wedding. We tossed around our options and the kids said they’d love to stay at the hotel and binge pizza and TV while we attend the wedding. They are 12 and 9 years old, and the venue is 4.4 miles from the hotel. It seems like a weird age to hire a babysitter, but also a weird age to leave them in new surroundings for 4 hours. Any opinions?
Update to answer some questions: They have been left at home for about 4ish hours while my husband and I have gone out, and my older child stays home almost every week when I do grocery shopping. They’ve definitely proven they are responsible enough and would not be destructive or disruptive to other guests. My husband feels like it’s perfectly fine, and I mostly agree, I’m just prone to second-guessing myself, especially since my husband’s mom and sister were horrified at the idea.
SO: Readers, here’s a sampling of the responses. Love to hear yours, too — as a comment below, or over at the FB group! By the way, the headlines are ours, not the commenters’:
They’ll be fine!
I think you’re fine. They’re safer than staying at home alone. Talk them through fire alarm exit procedures and other than that they don’t leave the room or make enough noise to disturb other guests. Leave them a phone and tell them you’ll call once or twice and speak to them both briefly. Any unlikely emergency, like choking, and hotel staff are right there and you’re there in 10 minutes.
No they won’t!
No way in hell I’m going anywhere without my kids. 12 and 9 should not be left alone without an adult no matter how “mature” you think they are. Someone needs to be over 18 and at least have a driver’s license in case of an emergency, accidents do happen.
You can always send a gift to the bride and groom.
They’ve got a phone and snacks. All set!
If the kids are comfortable with it and they have a cell phone to reach you then I would load them up with snacks and screens and enjoy your night.
But at a hotel? I’m not sure.
I was babysitting at ten so their ages don’t bother me. It is a different city for them and it is a hotel. I would very much stress keep the door locked from the inside and not to answer the hotel phone. No they can’t go to the ice machine or vending machine.
Normally I don’t have a huge “stranger danger” mentality but it is a hotel so my nerves get the better of me too.
Avoid hotels with pools.
Is there a pool? I’d stay where there isn’t one just to ensure safety while they’re unsupervised.
Check in often and come home soon.
My kids would be in heaven; I think I’d let them, but I’d also check in all the dang time, and maybe leave the party early.
No judgment but…here’s a judgment.
No judgment but I think they are too young to stay in hotel only because if fire alarm goes off they would have to evacuate room and if they somehow got locked out they would have to go to front desk for key. Maybe an older relative, cousin that’s also not attending could stay with them.
This seems fine to me. You know your kids best.
Just remember not to have any fun.
I would go to the wedding but skip the reception.
LET GROW’S THOUGHTS!
Our opinion: Giving kids that age a few hours on their own, knowing that they are pretty responsible, seems very safe. Nothing is ever totally safe: There can be an earthquake at the hotel OR at the wedding. But kids 9 and 12 are not babies. They are young people. And coming up with worries about strangers and fire alarms and ice machine maniacs doesn’t make anyone safer. Nor does going all the way to a wedding and then skipping the reception just to rush back to oversee the pizza-eating and movie watching.
Being a good parent doesn’t involve imagining every single worst case scenario. It involves teaching your kids the basics of safety — including that they are free to go and get help, even from people they don’t know, if they find themselves in some tough situation. If you’ve already seen that your kids can be mature and trustworthy, let them prove this some more in a new city while you Y-M-C-A your heart out!
And readers: We want to hear YOUR thoughts, too!