Latch Key kids

Were you one? I was 9 when I became one and never went back. My mother volunteered at my elementary school, a lot. My older brother was usually with me, he was 13. My mom eventually turned that volunteering into a job. She retired a few years ago after 37 years.
So, were you a “latch key kid” and what were your circumstances?

Also, did you have a key of your own or was it hidden somewhere around the house?
I recently watched an episode of NCIS where one of the agents said there is always a hidden key. Personally, I always had a key of my own. We never hid a key outside. neither did any of our neighbors.
I am 54, BTW.

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Since this is looking for personal experiences, let’s move it to IMHO (from GQ).

My father died when I was 5. For a few years, our neighbor would watch me and my sister after school until our mother got home, but when we got a bit older, we became latch-key kids.

The back door key was hidden on the back porch, under the lawn mower.

I was a latchkey kid, along with my twin. Starting in the first grade, the two of us would take turns carrying the key (I suppose our folks were too cheap to have two keys made?) and we’d let ourselves in after the long-ass bus ride home.

Inevitably one of us would forget the key and we’d be locked out for an hour, hour and a half. This shit probably happened about once or twice a month. I don’t remember ever getting lectured or punished over it–despite the fact my parents were kind of strict. I suppose they didn’t see the big deal at the time and neither did I. But now? I get kind of sad when I think about the two us sitting there shivering on the front porch, waiting for someone to finally get home. If we had been more adventurous, we could have gotten in a lot of trouble.

My niece and one of my nephews were. My sister separated from her husband when the kids were very young. They grew up in a college town where two other siblings were students so if their aunt or uncle weren’t in class when their school let out, they could spend time with them until their mom got home. Otherwise they’d be home on their own.

They’re 37 & 34 now with spouses and children of their own.

Sorry about that.

I was, starting in third grade. There was a key hidden in the garage. I was expected to call my mother at work as soon as I got home, and stay out of trouble until either she got home from work or my older sisters got home from high school.

My brother and I just kinda stayed in the house. We used to watch ‘The Guiding Light’:smack: Hey, it was b4 cable TV. Oh, and there was only 1 TV.

[quote=“monstro, post:4, topic:779511”]

I was a latchkey kid, along with my twin. Starting in the first grade, the two of us would take turns carrying the key (I suppose our folks were too cheap to have two keys made?) and we’d let ourselves in after the long-ass bus ride home.

Inevitably one of us would forget the key and we’d be locked out for an hour, hour and a half. This shit probably happened about once or twice a month. I don’t remember ever getting lectured or punished over it–despite the fact my parents were kind of strict. I suppose they didn’t see the big deal at the time and neither did I. But now? I get kind of sad when I think about the two us sitting there shivering on the front porch, waiting for someone to finally get home. If we had been more adventurous, we could have gotten in a lot of trouble.[/QUOT

At first, my brother had the key, eventually, my folks got me my own when i was about 11. Thing was, a lot of the kids in the neighborhood were also latch-key. many of the parents had exchanged keys for just this eventuality.

Does anyone have keys to your house/ apartment? My folks have had keys to every apartment and now my house. My neighbor also has keys to my house. Hey, wait a sec, Ive been broken into twice…hmm…Nah, not possible, she’s in her eighties. Couldn’t have crawled through the window.

I got my first dog by being a latch key kid. Too much time on my hands and guilty parents.

I was one when I was a kid. By 4th grade, I was even walking the several blocks home from school by myself.

We never had a key hidden outside. Our “emergency key” was kept by a neighbor. And if we were locked out and the neighbor wasn’t home, either, there were a few other friends and relatives within walking distance. I remember one time that I went straight to a friend’s house because the school bully had followed me home from the bus stop, and the friend’s house was closer.

I was one starting in the fifth grade, second semester, when I was 11, but I had to come home to deliver my newspapers (you had to be 11 to have a paper route). It was only a couple of days a week, when my mother had a class. My brother went to a daycare, which I walked him to. My mother picked him up on her way home.

I delivered my papers, then came home and put something in the oven that my mother had prepared. A couple of times, I convinced her to let me prepare it, and got my Girl Scout badge in home cooking (as opposed to outdoor cooking, which I also had).

When I was in the sixth grade, I came home by bike, and I don’t even remember what my mother’s school schedule was, but sometimes I came home to an empty house. I was never alone for long, though. If my mother didn’t get home soon, my father did. My brother was deemed old enough to walk to daycare by himself.

In the 7th grade, my mother went to Czechoslovakia for 8 months. I came home to an empty house every day. I got dinner ready most days, and did laundry. By this point, I was considered old enough to watch my brother, albeit, he was alone for a half an hour while I delivered my papers. He was 7, though, and I’d been allowed to stay alone from time to time at age 7.

ETA: This was 1978, 79 & 80.

I was except for the latch and key part. My parents never locked the house, but they both worked, and I got home first.

I walked to my grandparents’ house every day from first grade alone. It was just down the block, not a big deal, but I was alone from 2:30 until around 5ish when my grandfather came home, then soon after my grandmother. My mom would come by around seven to pick me up.

This was in the early 80s and most of my friends were going home to empty houses too. I remember going in and making cheese crackers or a sandwich and going out to play together.

I got in the door with the key that was left on the little wood block between the screen door and the wood door in the back yard. That key stayed their 30 years, in plain sight.

I was walking to school and back by third grade by myself. I was a latch key kid by that point as well. I carried my key. I started riding my bike by fourth grade. My sister was 3 years younger and was in daycare. She walked home with my mother, who worked at school. This was the early mid-70s. This was also still the era of us being expected to entertain ourselves in the neighborhood after school. We had a tv in the house, but we were not allowed to watch it.

I was a latch key kid from about 10 years old on in the mid-sixties. I was the only one in our neighborhood, but it wasn’t a big deal because I was only on my own for a couple of hours and most (or all) of that time was spent playing outside with my neighborhood friends. The whole neighborhood was families with kids and we all knew each other. If you had an injury or problem, you could go to virtually any house and get help. Nobody locked their doors and I wouldn’t have hesitated to go to our next door neighbor’s kitchen door and just barge in if I had needed help.

I suppose you could say so?
In kindergarten, my dad was killed, so 1st grade on it was home alone til when ever my mum decided to show up.

Longer it took her to show up, the better i liked it, some times i got lucky and it was days later. :smiley:

I walked to school, but that is nothing special, back then every body that didnt live 5 miles away walked to school, and not many kids lived that far, so i think the entire school had like 2 buses

Me too. I wore the key on a necklace. Once in a great while I’d forget and have to climb in through the one window in the house that was never locked. Beginning in the sixth grade I also began watching my then six-year-old brother after school and on our days off that Mom and Dad worked, including summer vacations.

I was, starting in the fourth grade. I remember my mom taking me into her bedroom to tell me that she was going back to work and I’d be coming home to an empty house. She always took me there to tell me that a relative had died, so it was a huge relief. I had my own key, but there was a spare (which nobody ever used) under an empty vase on the porch.

Usually I stayed indoors, although eventually I learned to ride a bike and I’d ride down to the 7-11 occasionally. Sometimes I’d hang out at a friend’s house. One girl had a creek behind her house and we’d explore it.

I was and so are my kids. I work, and they get home earlier than me. By that definition, I think most kids are.