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Over the weekend, I had a lot of spam attacks on the site, so I have decided to disable comments for all the old entries as soon as I write a new one. You will still be able to read the old comments, but you won’t be able to add any new ones. I have also disabled “trackbacks.” I’m still not exactly sure what they are, but I don’t use them myself, and I was getting a lot of trackback spam. If you think it is important for me to allow them, please let me know.

Last week, I read a story on Japan Today about a toddler who died when his mother and father were out and he had been left home alone. I think he fell off the balcony, if I remember correctly. Anyway, it was a very sad story. In the comments, one person wrote that a Japanese friend of his (or hers) said that it is common for mothers in Japan to leave small children alone when they need to pop out to go to the shops or the bank. The opinion of most of the other foreigners was that small children should never be left at home alone, so I was wondering what you all think about that.

Incidentally, I wasn’t sure about the situation in the UK, so I looked it up. This is the advice given on the UK government website.

There is no legal age limit for leaving a child on their own, but it is an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ (Children and Young Person’s Act).

Personally, I can see how it might actually be less dangerous to leave a small baby on its own than to leave a toddler. After all, babies cannot do anything apart from roll over, so if they are in a cot, they can’t really hurt themselves. Toddlers are different, though. They can climb on things, pull things down, and basically hurt themselves in a million different ways. Do you remember the photo I showed you of my friend Aoki san’s son Rui? Just watching him running around and climbing on things makes me feel nervous! His mum said that he finds about five or six new ways to hurt himself every day! I can’t imagine that she would ever leave him alone, at least not until he is much older.

So, my question this week is: is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment? From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

PS A friend recently drew my attention to this blog. The man who writes it likes to translate my blog entries for his own study. I got in touch with him and asked for his permission to post the link here. If you are interested, please visit his blog and read his translations.

37 Comments

  1. DELYTH BARKER on Monday May 28th, 2012 at 05:10 PM

    Hello, I am David’s mother. I always asked a friend or relative to sit in with our three children. It is not a good idea to leave young children alone at any time. I did have friends who did that, but I did not agree with it. When David was older, he was left in charge of the other two, but we only went to the local public house for a quick drink and did not stay out late.



  2. YU on Monday May 28th, 2012 at 07:00 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    > Last week, I read a story on Japan Today about a toddler who died when his mother and father were out and he had been left home alone. I think he fell off the balcony

    You probably mean the incident, a 3-year-old boy has died after falling from the 5th-floor balcony of his home in Aichi?? Apparently, the boy was alone in the apartment for a few minutes while his mother was putting out the garbage, it was about 6:30-40 in the morning.

    I have no idea how a mother could leave her 3-year-old son home alone, but there always do seem to be a lot of these stories. I guess the mother thought the boy was still asleep, but he wasn’t. Or by chance he woke up while his mother was out for a few minutes, started looking for his mom and finally fell off from the balcony. There’s still a doubt why the window to the balcony was open or unlocked, though….

    > In the comments, one person wrote that a Japanese friend of his (or hers) said that it is common for mothers in Japan to leave small children alone when they need to pop out to go to the shops or the bank.

    I never do such a risky thing to my 3-year-old son, but yes, certainly a friend of mine from English language club used to do it to her 2-year-old son and maybe she still does, I don’t know…
    Anyway, last year when her son was still 2, she suddenly visited me at home(she lives just 3 minutes walk from my home)to give me some souvenior from her hometown.
    I asked her, “Where’s your son?”
    She answered, “He’s at home.”
    I said, “Is it okay to leave him at home alone?”
    She said, “Yes, he’s sound asleep.”
    So, I said, “Thank you for the souvenior, but you’d better go back now.”

    Actually, she’s a very very careful mother, so I never thought that she would do such a dangerous thing. By the way, she has another 6-year-old son.
    She probably has tried this kind of “pop out” to him when he was smaller and it went well, so she does it to her younger son too…

    > is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment?

    It is very dangerous to leave small children at home alone, even he/she was asleep. I won’t let leave my son alone until he is much older.

    > From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    It’s a difficult question to answer.
    Actually, I’ve mentioned this matter when we discussed “Babysitting” before. Like the UK, there’s no legal age for leaving a child home on their own in Japan too. Personally, I think children should never be left at home alone, at least until they finish elementary school.
    Some dual-income couples may oppose my idea, but there’re some places to leave children after school, such as 学童保育(care of schoolchildren after school hours). I think either father or mother should finish work before 学童保育 hours end.

    Your children don’t stay a child forever. Of course, it is very important to earn money for your children’s education or paying housing loan, but if your child died in some incidents at home during you work overtime, it would be a perfect case of mistaking means for ends, and you would end up living with the guilt and pain for the rest of your life.

    Hello Ms. Barker,

    I’m glad to see your comment here!

    >It is not a good idea to leave young children alone at any time.

    I totally agree with you.
    Young children should always be supervised by an adult or older siblings at appropriate ages for looking after their younger brothers or sisters.

    > The man who writes it likes to translate my blog entries for his own study

    Wow!!!
    I’ve come across his blog before!
    I can remember I thought it was very well translated. I think it could be a great help especially for beginning English learners reading your blog.

    See you !



  3. amo on Monday May 28th, 2012 at 09:51 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your birthday messages:)
    They made me happy.
    I went to see a musical called “Elizabeth” with one of my sisters. I wanted to see it because my favourite singer performs a role in it. He is Hungarian but played his role all in Japanese. He was amazing and the musical itself was great. After that we met up with another sister and dined out at our friend’s restaurant(of course, she is not owner, she works at there) We had Italian cuisine. When we were served the dessert, all the servers in the restaurant came to our table and sang a birthday song in Italian for me. It was a nice surprise. A guy who served us was an Italian and he was a good singer, too. Anyway, I had a wonderful day 🙂

    As for this week’s topic, as you know I don’t have any children so I don’t know what to say….
    As YU said, I can’t believe that how she could do that. If I were a mother, I would never do that. Having said that, I hear this kind of news sometimes, so as you mentioned, it is not rare to do that for mothers in Japan. Anyway, here are my answers your questions:

    1. is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment?
    No I don’t think so.

    2. From what age do you think it is safe to do this?
    Mmm, it’s a tough question, I think it depends on each children.
    Maybe for the average age is 10 or 11, I suppose.

    Hi Ms. Barker,
    Thanks for your comments, and I hope you will join us from time to time.

    Take care,
    amo



  4. Fumie on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 06:11 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    When I saw Macaulay Culkin’s picture, I thought you picked something lighter topic again.

    It was a very sad accident and we hear similar accidents sometimes on the news. Children were killed in a fire or they died of a heat stroke in a car when their parents were playing pachinko. I don’t tink this behavior (leaving small children alone) is common in Japan but it is true that those things happen more often than in other countries. It may because it doesn’t become an offence. I think that Japan should make it illegal to leave young children alone like the UK or US to avoid more sad accidents happening. But if we do that, we also should consider supporting system for parents. I think the situation is different in Japan. Often mother has to child rearing alone because her husband is too busy at work and doesn’t help her and babysitters are too expensive. And every facilities doesn’t have parking lot or not enough of it so when a mother has to go somewhere, she decides to go by herself sometimes.

    Looking back my own experiences , I lefted my children several times when they were little. When they were babies, I left them alone only when they were sleeping. I thought he just fall asleep so he didn’t wake up for 1 or 2 hours. Of course, I hurried to the place and went home right away. One time though, when I picked up my eldest son to the kindergarten, I left my second son alone at home because he just fall asleep when he was 2 years old. We were not allowed to use car to pick up children, so I had no choice. But when I got home, he woke up and were crying heavily at front door. My heart ached so much. I hugged him and said I’m so sorry. Anyway it’s a relief that nothing bad had happened to them. I did any precautions though. I hid lighters, small things which are the size toddlers can swallow and never put somethings which children can climb on on velanda or locked the door, windows when I couldn’t watch them.

    >So, my question this week is: is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment? From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    No, they should not be left alone.
    I think when children become 10-12 years old, they can be safely home alone.

    Hi amo,

    I’m happy to hear that you had a wonderful birthday. 🙂

    Hi Ms. Barker,

    Thank you for joining us. Please join us again when you want to.

    Fumie



  5. miktak on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 01:30 PM

    Hello David and everyone.

    This is my first time to comment on this blog.
    I have 6-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.

    I think toddlers should not be left alone just for even a little time.
    I think it depends on each family that children are allowed to stay home alone.
    In my case, I think the time is when my kids will be around 10 years old.

    When we go out for a long time, we must go with our children.
    Then, for a few minutes, it is easy to go with our children, isn’t it?

    We should enjoy spending time with our kids because it is a short time that children are so much trouble. When children become older, they may not make us take care of them even if we want to.

    I feel irritated that I can’t tell you my thoughts well.

    Anyway, we love our children from our heart and we have to protect them against every trouble.

    See you.



  6. David Barker on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 01:34 PM

    Hi miktak,

    Thanks for writing a comment. Nice to have you with us.

    Hi Fumie,

    You said that Japan should make it illegal to leave children alone “like the UK or US.” I’m not sure about the US, but in Britain, it is not illegal to leave children alone.

    Hi amo,

    I don’t have any kids either. It’s still an interesting thing to think about, though.



  7. rinko on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 03:03 PM

    Hi David and everyone.

    I hadn’t known about the news of this accident until my husband told me that. He said he was very anxious the accident like this could happen to our 2year-old-son because we live on 7th floor of apartment.Actually I’ve left my son in room alone once to dump trush outside when he was 2or3month-old-baby.As David mentioned,I thought a sleeping baby was quite safe from any dangerous things but I was seized with kind of fear that something trouble would happen to him while I was out even just for 2-3minutes so I never did that.
    And now I also can’t imagine I would leave him alone because I’ve experienced a lot of things that he made me shiver, like trying to plug out, putting some small parts of toy on his nostril ,climbing up anything tall…even when I was with him at home.

    I think some mothers never expect serious matter would happen to them actually just when popping out in Japan.But I strongly think I can never be cautious enough about small child and actually I’ve learned that.

    Hi Ms. Barker.
    Nice to see your comment!

    Hi amo.
    I’m glad to hear you had a great time!

    Hi miktak
    Nice to have you with us.

    Have a great day everyone!

    rinko



  8. YU on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 04:28 PM

    Hi amo,

    I’m glad to hear that you had a wonderful birthday dinner at the Italian restaurant.
    I always feel that your sisters are very close to each other. I have only one older brother, but I can’t imagine he would join my birthday party…
    トホホ…

    Hi Fumie,

    > One time though, when I picked up my eldest son to the kindergarten, I left my second son alone at home because he just fall asleep when he was 2 years old

    I see.
    I have only one child, so I haven’t gotten into such a situation.
    In my case, when I walk alone, all my neighbours ask me “Where is your son?”.(All of them are old ladies, they always have a long chat/ a housewives’ gossip outside the front door).
    Of course, my husband takes care of my son in those cases, though. So, I’m practically unable to go out without my son!!

    Hi miktak,

    Nice to have you with us!

    > I feel irritated that I can’t tell you my thoughts well

    Do you think so?
    But I understand what you mean very well !

    > I think it depends on each family that children are allowed to stay home alone.

    And I think it all depends on each child.

    > In my case, I think the time is when my kids will be around 10 years old

    I think normally around 10-12 is the age, but it depends on how mature your child at that point is.

    > We should enjoy spending time with our kids because it is a short time that children are so much trouble.

    I totally agree with you.
    For the same reason I’ve decided to take care of my 3-year-old son by myself for another year, although most of his friends go to the kindergarten now.

    > When children become older, they may not make us take care of them even if we want to.

    Yes, exactly.
    Lots of mothers around me who had already finished raising children advise me, “It must be really tough to take care of your child now, but remember, you’ll realize how precious the time you spent with your child was, first after your child is much older.”, and I think that is very true.

    Hi rinko,

    > putting some small parts of toy on his nostril

    When I was 3 or 4, I put something like a sponge deep into my nostril during the short time when my mother had taken her eyes off me. My mother didn’t realize it for a few days, but she finally discovered it because my nose stank really bad !!
    I was a very stupid child…

    Bye for now !



  9. Fumie on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I misunderstood the advice given on the UK government website because of my lack of English.

    Hi miktak,

    Nice to have you with us.
    >Anyway, we love our children from our heart and we have to protect them against every trouble.
    You are such a wonderful parent!

    Hi everyone,

    How was the weather where you live? There were heavy thunder and lighting 3 times today in my area.

    Fumie



  10. rinko on Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 01:12 PM

    Hi YU

    >When I was 3 or 4, I put something like a sponge deep into my nostril…

    Wow!!Were you all right?? Your mother must have been so upset to find it, I suppose.

    >I was a very stupid child…

    I don’t think so. You know what children do is always beyond our expectation..
    My son was trying to put boiled rice into his nostril yesterday!! I have no idea what makes him to do that…

    Hi Fumie

    I saw the news about terrible weather in Higashi Nihon area.
    How’s it today? I hope it’s goingt to be better.

    Have a nice day everyone!

    rinko



  11. Yukako on Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 03:55 PM

    Hello David and everyone,

    This week’s topic is a little difficult for me. Now I am a student and I can’t even imagine having my children!
    I asked my mother about this topic. She gave me some comments. I’ll write my opinions with her help.

    > Is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment?

    I don’t think it is okay. Small children often do unexpected things.

    > From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    I think from 10 or 11 years old.
    As YU said, there is “gakudou hoiku”(after-school care of schoolchildren) in Japan.
    Generally speaking, children up to about 10 years can use “gakudou hoiku”.
    That is, most adults think it is safe for the children over 10 or 11 years to stay home alone.

    Hello Ms. Barker,
    I’m glad to see your comment!

    Hi Fumie,

    Yesterday it was very changeable weather, wasn’t it? But it’s very nice weather today.
    I’m going to hang out the washing!

    See you!

    Yukako



  12. YU on Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 05:09 PM

    Hi David,

    Wow! Now we can see “posting time” !

    >From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    Most members seem to believe that it is safe children to home alone from age 10-12.
    How about the situation in the UK?
    Western children look mature, but I think small children are all same reckless creatures throughout the world…
    From what age do parents in the UK leave children alone(without a babysitting)?

    Hi Fumie, rinko and yukako,

    Yes, the weather is good today, but last night rolls of thunder were heard here in Kanagawa too.

    Hi everyone,

    Yesterday I found a short letter(notice) from TEPCO in my mailbox. It was written that why they need to raise electricity bill this summer. Of course, I didn’t accept what they explain in the notice.
    Last night I learned from Internet news that TEPCO actually adds extra price in our electricity bill for their employees’ bonus!!
    I don’t understand why we have to pay their bonus!!

    See you !!



  13. DELYTH BARKER on Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 06:06 PM

    Thank you for all your replies. I will join you from time to time.
    I am looking after my grandson this week as it is half term here. He is David’s nephew, and he is six years old. His father is David’s brother, Edward.
    Join you again soon.
    Delyth (David’s mother)



  14. I Love Nutella on Wednesday May 30th, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    I’ve heard many times that accidents happened and hurt kids in their parents’ absence. Actually I even hesitate in taking shower when no one can sit in with my sleeping daughter. As I said before, I sometimes take a nap leaving me besides me, but I always close any doors including kitchen, bathroom etc..

    I remember when I was 4 or 5 years old, my mom left me alone at a park near a hospital which my dad was in. Because children were not allowed to enter the wards. One day, I got bored there, as I spent time there on my own almost every day for 3 months during he was hospitalized. So I poped out of there and walked around for a few minutes. My mom didn’t realize it for a couple of days. But when I went to another nearby park, I played too much and came back late, I found my mom stood with a very worried face.

    I lived in an apartment in Australia. The fire alarm in that apartment was often went off. I presume the fire alarm was a bit too reactive, maybe because it wasn’t installed in a very proper place. So in most of the case, we could go back our apartments very soon after evacuation. In some of them, however, they were real small fire caused by unattended children.

    So I know from my experience we can’t expect what children would do in their parents’ absence. We shouldn’t leave children alone in an apartment or any place.



  15. trmr on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 07:34 AM

    Hi David and everyone
    That kind of sad things happen constantly, I’m so sorry for the child.
    I don’t have any children now, but I will have. I should take care about that!
    Here are my answer to your question.

    > is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment?
    No. I don’t think so, absolutely.

    > From what age do you think it is safe to do this?
    About ten-year-old child may learn and experience a lot of things not only at home but at school. So, he/she can stay at home alone.

    By the way, did you hear about the horrible news that a naked man ate another naked man’s face on a highway in Miami?
    The cannibal man was killed by a police. While the police officer was shooting him, he continued eating. The victim’s face was made unrecognizable.
    It reminds me a video game “バイオハザード (Resident Evil)”. But it’s not a game, it really happened.

    The cannibal man is suspected that he had used a new kind of LSD called “bath salts” which drove you berserk and made you powerful.
    A drug is also a threat for children.
    Here is the link to one of the article about the news.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18268677

    Hi Ms. Barker
    I’m glad to see your comment. I agree with you!

    Hi miktak
    Nice to have with us!

    It’s time to go work.
    bye for now

    trmr



  16. Anne on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 09:55 AM

    Hello Mrs.Barker,

    Thank you for joining us.
    It’s always nice to see your comment here. Looking forward to seeing your comment from time to time.
    Oh, you are looking after your grandson this week? So, he is Max,right? My sons have not married yet, and I don’t have grandchildren yet, but I often hear from many of my friends how adorable grandchildren are even though they get tired after their grandchildren getting back to their homes.

    Hi David and everyone,

    I also thought this week’s topic must be about movies or something when I saw the photo of Macaulay Culkin!

    The incident that happened in Aichi is really sad and heartbreaking, but you often hear these kinds of sad news, don’t you?

    The boy’s mom was not away from the house for long hours but was away for just a few minutes. As you can imagine, these sad incidents can happen even though parents or adults are in the house if they don’t keep an eye on their kids because they are busy with doing other things.

    >is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment? From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    Same as other members, no , it’s not okay, and around 10 would be fine.

    Leaving kids alone for parents playing pachinko or doing some other things is out of question, but there are times that parents need to go out while kids are sleeping.

    Like Fumie, I left my younger son several times at home, mostly to pick up my elder son to the place he returned from kindergarten. I thought he wouldn’t wake until an hour or so because he just fell asleep. I was, of course, not at ease and hurried back home, but when I heard my son sobbing inside the front door, I had a mixed feeling; he was OK, but I felt sorry to him.
    I lived in a huge apartment those days, and his friend and he(elder son) walked to the kindergarten. It was about 2 kilometers long and 6 moms took turns sending them there. However, when I sent them there, of course, I didn’t leave my younger son alone at home. I thought it was dangerous to leave him for such a long hour, so I rode him in a baby buggy even though he was grizzling because he was sleepy. Poor him! Kids don’t sleep or awake as parents have been expected to be(supposed to be?)!

    Ideally speaking, parents should not leave children at home until around ten, but I went out to do some things several times leaving my sons at home. I said to elder son to look after his younger brother. Come to think of it, he was around ten and younger son was 2nd grade or something. Actually, TV games was a kind of good “nanny” for them. I knew it wasn’t a good solution, but I allowed them to play the game.

    To avoid these sad incidents, I assume parents need to make it clear “Dos and dont’s.” I also think parents should know kids would do all the things that mom and dad have never imagined! Aoki-san’s story shows us how kids are exploring new experience,doesn’t it?

    By the way, when I was a toddler, according to my mother, my mom sometimes tied me to a baby carriage using a long rope. Do you think I was born in Edo era? No…! I was born after World War Ⅱ! I grew up in the middle of nowhere, an my father was a teacher. My mother was busy with farming. When she worked near the riverside, she was worried about drowning and used a long rope. Just for the record, it was not a child abuse!

    Hi amo,
    I’m glad to hear you had a nice birthday.

    Hi miktak and Yukako,
    Nice to have you with us!

    Hi trmr,
    Your story made me feel scary! In Japan, you hear the news about hallucinatory herbs and incidents,right? I’ll check the site later. Thanks for sharing.

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  17. Tomo on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Hello, Mrs. Barker.
    Thank you for joining us. Look forward to reading your comments!

    Hi miktak,
    Nice to have you with us! 🙂

    Hi David and everyone,

    I also think it is very dangerous to leave a small child home alone. I never left my oldest son home alone when he was a toddler, but I sometimes left my second son when he was fast asleep to pick up my oldest son at the kindergarten bus stop near my house. Like Fumie, I did everything I could to prevent accidents before I left. There were also a lot of “safety goods” to prevent babies from hurting themselves, so I locked the drawers, the cabinets, and some other things with them. We moved a new house when I was expecting my daughter, and my second son started kindergarten, but I didn’t have to leave my daughter home alone because my sister helped me.(She and her husband also built a house in my neighborhood, so we helped(help) each other to take care of our children.) When my daughter learned to crawl, I arranged the living room less dangerous for her. I put “a safety gate” at the bottom of the stairs so that she couldn’t go up on her own until she was big enough. It’s impossible to prevent small children from everything, though. Like David’s friend said, they find new ways to hurt themselves every day!

    >From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    I think when they are in the 5th or 6th grade, so 10-12. My daughter is still 8, so I don’t think she is big enough, but I had to leave her alone when I went to a meeting at my son’s junior high school in April. The meeting started before my daughter came back home from school, and my sister started working several years ago, so I didn’t have a choice. Before the first meeting, I taught my daughter how to call my cell phone, and told her to call me when she got home and come to junior high school.(It takes a few minutes on foot.) She came to the gate of the junior high school, so I went to pick her up there and attended the rest of the meeting with her. This month, I had to go to another meeting at the junior high school, but my daughter wanted to play with her friend, so I asked her friend’s mother who lives near me to take care of her.

    I got a notice from my daughters school yesterday, and it says a pervert has been seen in my area. A junior high school girl was flashed on her way home. It’s not near my house, but it scared me…

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  18. Tomo on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    PS trmr, the news gave me a chill!!



  19. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Hi Anne and Fumie,

    You both have more than two children, so I guess there always must have been a big conflict whether you should wake up your small childen and take them along with you or leave them sleep at home alone and quickly finish your engagement.
    Although I have only one child, I fight such temptation sometimes, because it is much easier to go out and do my business alone.

    However, given the fact that there have been so many tragic accidents during parents’ absence, I still don’t think that leaving small childen alone is a very good idea, even they were asleep or even it was only for a few minutes.
    Both of you felt guilty seeing your little ones were crying, and I think that shows the answer : They should not be left alone. Small children always follow behind thier mothers, as long as they are awake. I assume they do so unconsciously because they always need their mother.

    Sorry for my arrogant comments, but please don’t take me wrong, I’m not accusing you, but your experiences teach me a good lesson.

    By the way, the day before yesterday a friend of mine gave me a copy of “崖の上のポニョ”. I hadn’t watched the movie yet, but I liked the movie song very much. Both the movie and the song were big hits exactly when my son was born(2008 summer).
    I can crealy remember that I made a parody of the song and repeatedly sang it to my son when he was
    still a new born baby ; “~~(my son’s name)人間の子、ママのお腹からやって来た~♪♪”.
    Anyway, I watched the movie with my son and both of us liked it very much. My son is really into it and he’s been watching the same one over and over again…. Studio GHIBLI’s works are really amazing, they grab children’s hearts and don’t leave them !

    See you !!



  20. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 02:07 PM

    correction :

    I can crealy remember that => I can crearly remember that

    Hi Tomo,

    I wonder how many mothers in Japan have to make a risky attempt when they bring up more than two children. Is it just like this in other countries too??

    I think junior highschools should hold those meetings rather in the evening when fathers are expected to be at home. Or does it make things worse?? There are lots of single mothers nowadays, and some fathers may work in shifts, etc… But anyway, I think fathers could arrange to leave the office on time or earlier as long as the meetings are noticed in advance and not very frequently held.

    Hi trmr,

    I read the article you posted.
    I can’t imagine a man eats another “living” man’s face. I don’t play games, and I know nothing about “バイオハザード”, but I hope those horrible scenes are only in virtual world – in games.

    Bye for now !



  21. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 02:09 PM

    I’m sorry, I’m too baka !

    crearly => clearly



  22. minmin on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 05:16 PM

    is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment? From what age do you think it is safe to do this?

    Personally, I don’t agree to leaving children alone in a house or apartment any age of children. Also don’t think it’s safe that older children take care of his / her younger sister or brother during the children’s parent are stay out.
    Could say it’s okay to do this from 7~9 years old but depends on the children’s personality. i.e. calm, good to taking care of himself or herslf and other toddler. However, it still remains various risks from this that causes injury as children find a lot of ways to hurt themselves during playing, and there might many unexpected dangers we are surrounded.

    Understand that it is difficult to fully protect children from the risks but do you guys think it is good way to keeping children particulary toddler on lead like dogs ? – I see that in a shopping mall or park. And would you do to going out with your children (4~8 years old) get in a baby carriage ?



  23. David Barker on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 05:26 PM

    Hi minmin,

    When I was very young, I remember that my mother used to attach me and my brothers to “reins,” which were like a harness around our chest with a rope for her to hold. I think this is a very good idea indeed! What is wrong with having the same system for an uncontrollable toddler and an uncontrollable dog? I often see children running around and putting themselves in incredibly danger in Japan while their mothers shout at them from about 10 metres away, 「危ないよ!」If I had young children, I would definitely use a harness to keep them away from danger. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it at all. It makes perfect sense.



  24. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 06:28 PM

    Hi David and minmin,

    When my son learned to run fast, I’ve thought of using such kind of goods, but soon I changed my mind.
    One day I found a toddlers backpack with a leading rein at a baby goods store and it atrracted me very much. I even took it in my hand and read the instruction manual. But then my husband said to me, “Our son is not a dog.” and suddenly I came to my senses with his word.

    For the same reason, none of my mama tomo use “reins” with their children. Practically it looks very useful for protecting children from dangers and parents would have less stress controlling children, but I’m skeptical how children themselves would feel being tied with “reins”. I think toddlers already have theirselves, and they know what their parents are doing with them.
    They may understand why their parents needed to tie them with “reins” when they are much older, but I don’t think it is a very nice idea to use it with humanbeings children.

    FYI, I like dogs.

    Bye for now !



  25. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 06:36 PM

    I think toddlers already have theirselves,
    => “themselves”

    toddlersは既に自我に目覚めている、と言いたいんですが、何て言えばいいんでしょうかね。



  26. David Barker on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 06:43 PM

    Hi YU,

    Being put on reins didn’t do me or my brothers any harm! I’m sure it would never happen, but how would your husband feel if your son suddenly slipped away from you as you were walking down the street and ran into the road in front of a car? I think that safety and practicality are much more important than people’s misguided preconceptions about things they are not familiar with. I would think much more of a mother standing in a subway station with her child on reins than one whose child was running along the side of the tracks while she shouted “abunai!” (I have seen that situation several times in Japan.)



  27. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 08:02 PM

    Hi David,

    I exactly know what you mean, but what if your children say, “No, daddy, don’t use that!” ?
    Do you still use it?
    Also, from what age will they be “released” from being put on reins? And do you think they would suddenly learn how to walk on the streets safely by themselves then?
    It is certainly very important to protect your childern from dangers, but I think it is also very important to teach them how dangerous cars or trains are and how to protect them from dangers themselves, or they are unable to walk to schools.

    In my case, I have only one child, so it is still controllable. I always hold his hand very tightly and teach him how to walk on the street and I still believe that it is my duty as a mother.

    However, I think it’s all up to you(parents’ thoughts) whether you use such a safety goods with your children. If I remember correctly, “the backpack” was from a foreign country.(It was maybe from one of Scandinavian country)

    Bye for now !



  28. David Barker on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 08:39 PM

    Hi YU,

    If parents were guided by what their children wanted or didn’t want, no child would ever clean their teeth or go to bed before midnight! I would not consult my child on matters concerning his or her safety. The way I see it, it is the parents’ job to make those decisions. I’m not suggesting that children should always be kept on reins, but I don’t think there is any problem with using them in situations where it is difficult for the parent to keep an eye on the child and where there is a real danger that something terrible could happen.

    I think that comments like “He is not a dog” are a bit meaningless. The question is simple: will using this tool help to keep the child safe or not? That is the only thing that should matter.

    I have heard negative comments about reins from many people in Japan, but this is a country where it is still quite normal to drive around with children standing on the front seat of a car with no seatbelt, and I regularly see mothers sitting in the front seat of cars holding their baby on their lap. Not only is this extremely dangerous, it is also illegal, but changing the law doesn’t seem to have affected people’s behaviour. I would not be too interested in taking advice on childcare from people like that!



  29. amo on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Hi David,

    > I don’t have any kids either. It’s still an interesting thing to think about, though

    You’ve got me wrong!! Just because I said I didn’t know what to say, it doesn’t mean that I am not interested in the topic:)
    I just thought that It’s a shame that I don’t have any own experiences due to no children.

    >I don’t think there is anything wrong with it at all. It makes perfect sense.

    >I think that comments like “He is not a dog” are a bit meaningless. The question is simple: will using this tool help to keep the child safe or not? That is the only thing that should matter.

    I totally agree with you. When I first saw a child with “reins,” I thought it was a great tool. If i have a child, I’d love to use it.
    >I have heard negative comments about reins from many people in Japan
    I have never talked about reins with my friends so I didn’t know that. That’s why I don’t so often see “reins” in Japan. But I don’t know why many people have negative images of it!!

    Good night and sweet dreams,
    amo



  30. YU on Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Hi David,

    > The question is simple: will using this tool help to keep the child safe or not? That is the only thing that should matter.

    You’re right and I don’t stop you to use it for your own children.
    However, I think my husband and I would choose other kind of tool, because both of us thought that it was like a dog’s leading rein when we saw it for the first time, and so we didn’t want to use it for OUR son. This is our personal view against the tool and I think everyone has a right to have a different opinion. And everyone has a right to choose the best/the most suitable merchandise for themselves.

    I’m not sure if we are discussing exactly the same tool,though….

    > I would not be too interested in taking advice on childcare from people like that!

    I’m not one of “peole like that”, at least.
    However, as for “childseat”, I feel that everyone tells me a different rule. Some of my friends say it is not illegal children to sit in the back seat with no seatbelt unless you drive on an expressway. I finally don’t know who tells me the truth.
    I don’t have a driver’s license, but my husband tells me children under 6 must fasten a seatbelt all the time, and I guess he is probably right.

    See you !



  31. Anne on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    訂正;
    >I lived in a huge apartment those days.
    —-I lived in a big apartment complex in those days.
    >TV games was a kind of —TV games were kind of
    >an my father was —and my father was

    Hi YU,
    > I still don’t think that leaving small children alone is a very good idea, even they were asleep or even it was only for a few minutes.
    —I know what you mean. I believe every mom who leaves her kid alone don’t think it’s a good idea, and many of them are “getting along” somehow or manage to get along. I guess that is the reality.

    Hi David, minmin, YU and amo,
    The reason why I wrote about my experience when I was a toddler is it’s not common in Japan. Mine was not rein but rope, however the idea is same: child’s safety. I’ve seen kids being put on reins couple of times and thought it’s effective when there are several toddlers in the family. You can hold your child’s hand even though kids are put on reins.

    I depend on each family’s choice whether they should use it or not. You don’t need to use it all the time.

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  32. YU on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 07:27 AM

    Hi Anne,

    >You can hold your child’s hand even though kids are put on reins.
    >I depend on each family’s choice whether they should use it or not. You don’t need to use it all the time.

    I agree with you.
    I don’t mind other families use it, it’s their choice. But I think it should be used as a “supporting tool”, and something like as “insurance”.

    I read several sites disscusing this tool.
    Apparently, “one of the reasons” why many people in Japan are against this tool is that many mothers use it wrongly.
    1. Mothers make the string as long as possible, let their children do as they like and enjoy chatting with other mama tomo, and it looks like “a pet dog” from other people.
    2. Mothers pull the string towards the direction they want to go, etc…
    They’re out of question, but if you use it
    properly, I think there’s no ploblem with using it, it’s each family’s choice as you say.

    > I’ve seen kids being put on reins couple of times and thought it’s effective when there are several toddlers in the family

    I think so too.
    As I have mentioned many times, I have only one child and it is still controllable. In our family’s case, when we walk the streets with heavy traffic, my husband usually holds(抱っこ) my son, and so is it in very crowded places or dangerous places.

    See you !!



  33. Tomo on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 08:46 AM

    Hi YU,

    In my son’s junior high school, PTA members are selected at the first meeting after an open class in April, and all parents have to do the job at least once for their child.(If you have three children, you have to do it 3 times.) The school holds regular meetings for teachers(including the headmaster) and the PTA members(the leader and the sub-leader of each committee, who are usually chosen by lot.) in the evening. The meetings start at 7 p.m. and take for about two hours. When my oldest son was in junior high school, I had to go to the meetings, but my husband couldn’t come back home that early, so I had to left my children home. At that time, my sister was very busy in the evening taking care of her daughter’s ballet lessons, and she drove her to and from the ballet studio every day, so I couldn’t ask for her help. Anyway, I prepared dinner before I left, and my oldest son was in charge of the other two. I was worried about my daughter who was around 4, but he looked after her nicely. My daughter can take care of her needs now, but I prefer meetings in the afternoon because leaving my children at night makes me feel more nervous.

    >Studio GHIBLI’s works are really amazing, they grab children’s hearts and don’t leave them !

    Oh yes! And they grab my heart, too!(LOL)

    Hi David and everyone,

    When my daughter was a baby(1 or 2), my eldest sister game me a lovely pink “harness” like a vest with an angel’s wings on the back. My husband laughed when he saw it and said, “Are there these kinds of useful goods now?” I thought it was a good idea to use it when I walked my son to and from kindergarten, but I didn’t need it because I mostly used overhead walkway and bridge to get to kindergarten, so there was no danger from cars or motorbikes. It was not the shortest way, but I preferred the way with less stress and danger. I would have used the harness if I had needed it to keep my daughter safe, but I wouldn’t have used it if my daughter hadn’t liked it. I don’t want to rein a crying baby, so I would choose other ways.

    As for the problem of driving with children, my babies were always in their child seat on the backseat. They didn’t like being put into the child seat at the beginning and cried hard, but I didn’t let them out. It was really tough to see babies crying hard like that, but my husband and I learned that they would get used to it gradually, so it was like がまん比べ(笑) My daughter is 8 now, so she doesn’t need to sit in a child seat anymore, but she still sits on the backseat(with seatbelt, of course) even when she and I go out alone.

    Have a nice day, everyone!

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  34. Fumie on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 08:55 AM

    Hi David,

    >I think that comments like “He is not a dog” are a bit meaningless. The question is simple: will using this tool help to keep the child safe or not? That is the only thing that should matter.

    I totally agree with you. I would use that tool, if I knew it when my children were little. I didn’t know that there were such a tool from the time when you were little. I first saw the tool several years ago. I would use any tools which reduce the mothering workload.
    Taking care of small children is such a hard work so I was often exhausted. Although I knew I shouldn’t do that or I should do that, but if I did everything perfectly: as experts suggested or guide book says, I would hit my children or I would became nervous breakdown.
    子育てでは、まぁいいかと、多少手を抜かなければ、子供に手をあげるか、自分がおかしくなってしまいそうだったので、よくないと思っても手を抜く時もありました。

    Hi trmr,

    I read the article about the man eater. That is the goriest story I’ve ever heard.

    The 1st day of each month, we can see movies at 1000yen. I’m going to see The Descendants. I also go to see my son’s sports day.

    Fumie



  35. YU on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 09:43 AM

    Hi Tomo,

    It sounds very stressful, but those meeting are very important for our children and it is the way every mother has to take.

    > When my daughter was a baby(1 or 2), my eldest sister game me a lovely pink “harness” like a vest with an angel’s wings on the back.

    I see.
    The one I saw was more simple one. There was a picture on a package. A toddler and a mother were using it in the big park and no one was there except them. I wondered why they need it in such a safe place. I think pictures are very important.

    > so it was like がまん比べ(笑)

    Hahaha…
    In our family’s case, I always sit with my son in the rear seats. Some mama tomo say they sometimes “release” their children when they get peevish. But if you sit beside your child, you can calm them without realeasing them from childseat. But this is my family’s original method and maybe we manage it because we have only one child and only my husband drives(I don’t have a lisence) !! (笑)

    I’ve gotta go !

    See you!



  36. Tomo on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Hi YU,
    Yes, it’s very stressful, and most mothers(parents) don’t want to do that job though it’s a good chance to get know each other. Actually, my daughter’s elementary school has the same rule, so I have to do the job at least 6 times in all, and I’m doing it at my son’s junior high school this year. I don’t have to go to the regular meetings, though.

    I used to sit in the rear seat too when my children were very small. Sometimes it worked, but other times it made things worse. Because they could see my face, they cried harder and asked for my help. You can imagine how hard it is to reject your child’s plea as he/she is crying, reaching out for you with their small hands, and saying “ママ~、ママ~.” My children enjoyed going for a drive most of the time, but they cried when we were stuck in a traffic jam and got bored. We played their favorite music, and we often stop the car and let them play outside for a change.

    Hi Fumie,
    I believe 多少手を抜いても愛があれば大丈夫!(笑) Anyway, have lovely time! 

    See you soon,

    Tomo



  37. YU on Friday June 1st, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Hi Fumie and Tomo,

    They say that things go better when you raise your children with 60% of your atmost, but like Fumie, I tend to panic when my son doens’t listen to me.
    In fact, I have a feeling that he listens to me better when I’m relaxed and slight my work(手抜きする) rather than when I put my all into him.

    Enjoy the movie, Fumie!

    See you !!



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