A boy is entrusted with the keys to his apartment. There is the possibility of children forgetting to switch off an electric gadget or leaving the door open. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A girl in fourth grade was found with the door key of her apartment in the classroom. Her parents leave for work early morning before she goes to school and they come back late evening after she reaches home.

Everyday she locks and unlocks the door in the morning and evening while leaving for school and coming back and stays home alone until her parents are back.

"We were shocked to hear this from a girl in fourth grade!", a principal of a school told Gulf News on Wednesday.

"Then we made a detailed enquiry with other children and found one more similar case too. A girl in seventh grade was also bringing her door key to the school," said Rajendran Padmanabhan, Principal of Sunrise English Private School in Abu Dhabi.

Needless to say about the safety and security risks involved in this case, he said.

"You can point out a hundred possibilities of such risks. Apart from that the small children taking such responsibility [of safekeeping an apartment or home] will develop serious psychological problems," the principal explained.

"Even we elders sometimes doubt after leaving home that whether I switched off the electric gadgets, closed the door properly or something like that. So what will be the condition of a small child?" he asked.


And there is all the possibility children might commit any such mistakes like forgetting to switch off an electric gadget or leaving the door open etc, he said. "Then they will be thinking the possible ways to cover up that mistake to avoid punishment from the parents."

Imagine the mental state of a child who is preoccupied with such thoughts, the principal said.

Since those children have the freedom to do whatever they want after reaching home, they will plan many things everyday, he said. While attending the classes they will be thinking all these things which affect their concentration and interest in studies, Padmanabhan said.

"They will end up with poor performance in studies, affecting their level of confidence."

Children already have a low level of concentration and such responsibilities affect their mental capacities, he said. In effect it may leave a psychological scar in children, he said.

He immediately called up the parents of those children to his office. They said they did not have any other option because both of them were working.


"When I explained all these problems, they were convinced and promised me they would arrange someone to take care of the children at home," the principal said.

The parents kept the promise given to the school and the children were never found with door keys again, he said.

The principal said many working parents are giving priority to their jobs because of their financial compulsions. "But what is the use if you earn money and lose your children?"

He suggests all working parents must make it sure that there is somebody to take care of children at home in their absence. "Otherwise both parents should not work; one should stay at home."

Not good enough

A child in grade one vomited in the class and she was taken to a hospital. Asked about the food she had in the morning, it was revealed that a part-time baby sitter feeds her before going to school, said Rajendran Padmanabhan, Principal of Sunrise English Private School in Abu Dhabi. Her parents also leave for work early morning before she goes to school, leaving her with the part-time babysitter who drops her to the school bus, he said.

Part time babysitters would be busy with too many similar assignments and always be thinking of rushing to another assignment without giving enough care to the child, he said. He called up the parents and asked them to arrange somebody at home to take care of the child full time in their absence. They admitted their lack of care and brought a family member from home country to take care of the child.