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When Can They Play Outside on Their Own?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
My oldest is three, so I'm really just gritting and bearing it for when I can say, "Everybody out!"

When were you able to say it? I mean, obviously it depends on the child, but what I'm asking is, when did you toss yours out on the sidewalk and let them have at it?
post #2 of 52
I think it depends on where you live

Right now we are in a fairly urban community, but our kitchen overlooks a small, fenced in backyard. Would I let my 2 year old DD out there while I was in the breakfast nook cleaning something? Probably because I can see her every move and she's likely to hang out with her sandbox.

I also think it depends on the kid?
post #3 of 52
I think this comes down to two main things...

1). The child

and

2). Where you live

At three - for us - my son was out playing on his own. I am assuming you mean front/unsupervised rather than enclosed back garden right? As for enclosed back garden, my son was out there playing on his own since he could move there himself. This too though was also down to my son (his personality/temperment/capabilities/etc). (and he couldn't move out there on his own until he was about a year and a half anyhow as he was pretty late in the physical get up and go department...gets the 'lazy' from his father lmao)...

In the front - he was just a bit under three. It started with fantastic weather and me being able to leave the front door open (as he wanted to be out there and I didn't). So it was semi-unsupervised. I could be in the kitchen (window faces right out front) and watch him whilst making the lunch or sit in the doorway with a book or the laptop! lol This worked.

It really also has been a really slow natural moving process for him. He started epressing an interest in playing out front. He didn't want to play out there long - just long enough for me to make the lunch...he didn't want to go far either - about a yard away from the open front door...to, gradually, further and further...and this all has matched his age and capabilities I feel. When he started wanting to go out of eyesight (we have a little foresty big next to the house that is so FUN for anyone to play in! lol) - he was old enough for us to talk about other things (like how not to walk away with anyone but me and how he can run right back to our house (its like only 5 yards away tbh) if he feels uncomfortable, etc). And - for me, most importantly, if I should out 'Duncan - you okay?'...to give me an answer back (I can then guage if he really is and tell where he is about...he was 4 in September and I am not comfortable with him being farther than where he can hear me shout and this is consensual for the time being! lol)

We live at the end of a cul-de-sac though away from any main roads. Quiet area - out in the country/middle of nowhere -where everyone knows your name type of town. So this has worked for us. Last summer, when he was nearly four - he even made 'friends' with the neighbour hood children and was running up and down our little cul-de-sac road with them for hours in the warm summer sun for the afternoon. It was nice. How do you think this baby was made? lmao

And generally - as a boy, he is pretty placid and cautious and a perfectionist. He wouldn't do something unless he was 100% sure he could and comfortable with it. He is very road wise, etc. So that part of it plays into our comfort levels too! ...if any of these things were different, then the situation would be too!
post #4 of 52
For me, it's between 2 and 3 years old.

We live out in the country and our driveway is 1/4 mile long, so I'm not very worried about him going down into the road.
post #5 of 52
We live in an area where everybody has seven foot block walls.

I don't have a pool, keep the yard free of dog poop, and have no dangerous things in the backyard. (the backyard is actually safer than the house)

So, if they can get out... crawling, walking doesn't matter, they can go out without me. As long as it isn't hot.

But, if I had a huge yard, or it wasn't properly fenced, I would say it depends on the yard, and the child.

Playing out front is different entirely. (to me) I didn't let my daughter play outside without me until she was about eight. And, even then, I watched through the window and hoped she didn't see me.
post #6 of 52
My ds will be 7 in a couple of weeks and I'm just not comfortable yet. I agree it depends on the kid and the area.

The closest he gets to being out "on his own" (in front) is us watching as he walks to a friend's house about three houses down. We don't go in until he does and we come back out at the time he's supposed to walk home.

I'd be comfortable with him playing in the fenced in backyard alone for bits of time but that's where our dog does her business a lot of the time so it's just too much of a minefield.
post #7 of 52
I think it really depends on the child and where you live.

We live in an apartment community with many other children who are ds's age, and go to his school. A little over a year ago all he was allowed to do was go back and forth between one friend's apartment (she lived very close to us) ... but now, at age 7 and in 1st grade I'm pretty comfortable with him going to the playground with his friends, riding his scooter around the complex and going to 3 different friends houses (I'm in contact via phone or txt with the Moms each time). He's definately out of sight, but I can either call for him at the park, or make a call to one of my friends to have him come home.

We live in a residential (apartment) area in an upscale part of town with no mapped sex offenders. I guess that helps me feel comfortable .. but more than anything I know I can call for him and he'll hear me .. or I can call or txt the Mom home where he is, and she'll send him home. I like being able to give him some freedom to "roam" .. even if it is all pretty close to home and supervised.
post #8 of 52
My oldest is 7 and has been going out on his since 5ish. We don't have a fenced yard, we live in the country, but on a main road, so it took me awhile to get comfortable with it.
post #9 of 52
We have a relatively small, fenced in backyard and DS and DD1 have been playing out there since the summer she turned two, they are currently 5 and 3.5. When she just turned two I would sit out on the back deck with my book or a laptop, then as she got older I would let them play while I was in the kitchen (could see through the sliding door and window). Now I'm comfortable with them playing outside when I'm in the family room, dining room, or kitchen (all with doors or windows overlooking the yard).
post #10 of 52
We live in a urban semi-commercial area. I will let my two kids (aged 2 and 5) play in our small side yard. It is fenced in with a 7 ft fence and has a gate that they cannot open (and cannot be opened from the outside). Besides that I do not let my 5 yr old play outside alone (and definitely not the 2 yr old!). We live on a busy street with a narrow sidewalk. Around the corner it's a shopping street with tons of people and again lots of cars. In the other direction it's more residential and at some time in maybe a year or so (we'll see) I'll feel comfortable having dd walk to the corner store (which is in our block on our side of the street). Besides that there aren't any friends or parks or anything close enough that I can see be comfortable letting her go to on her own for a good few years.
post #11 of 52
we don't have a backyard, just an unfenced front yard, driveway off to the side of the house and a small (7 ft x 10 ft) back patio. Our house is on a dead end street off of a main road and is on a hill. If I am in the front yard, I can't see the driveway, etc. Being on a dead end street we don't get a ton of traffic, but enough - garbage trucks, UPS, mail truck, neighbors coming and going, etc, etc. Last summer I was ok with DD in the driveway if I was in the front yard or on the back patio, etc. I would also go into the house and get a drink or go to the bathroom, she was 3.5 at the time. This summer I'll have an infant so I see her getting a bit more freedom as I go back and forth with the baby, but completely unsupervised? Maybe 5 or 6 depending on her maturity level - aka can she get out of the street when she sees a car coming, will she even notice the car or be too absorbed in her play, does she know not to chase a ball down the hill and into the main road, not ride her tricycle on the hill only in our driveway, etc.
post #12 of 52

Depends on the child a lot

I was letting dd1 out in the front yard by herself last summer.
She was 2.5 then.
But our front yard is fully fenced. She has a big swing set/gym in there that can keep her busy. As well as the sand box.
She has always been independent. She is a very focused child and I know that she can do the same thing for a long time. I always had the front door open so I could hear her if she called.
I also have a big dog that barks when someone she doesn't know approaches the house.

I also look after another one 2 days a week. But I am not comfortable letting him out alone. I just feel he is not ready.
post #13 of 52
My ds was able to be unsupervised last year when he was 6. It is still hard for me to do but I have to be strong and not hover too much.
post #14 of 52
for my dd it was about 3 and then for the other two it was about 2 with a sibling.
post #15 of 52
My place isn't fenced but it's a little off the beaten track, ds COULD go down the driveway or off into the woods i suppose but he's not a wanderer. and i'm not in an area i'm worried about anyone taking him.

He started playing outside alone at 2 with me leaving the door open so i could hear him. I check in vocally every 10 minutes or so but generally he makes his presence known. A friend of mine made a little leather belt that has a small cow bell on it, when ds was on the younger side of two i put it around him so if he did wander down the driveway i could hear him leaving.
post #16 of 52
Depends on where you live and the kid.

I'm comfortable running inside to grab something for a second while DS is busy in the fenced backyard, but I won't do much more than that. He can unlock the gate and will run away if given the chance, he doesn't really care about staying out of the road no matter how much you explain the consequences of going in the road. He will inevitably get into trouble if left unsupervised anywhere, inside or out, for too long so I keep an eye on him.
post #17 of 52
I've been fine with my kids playing outside alone from a very young age (younger than three, for sure) in a fenced yard. My oldest is almost 9, and I still don't let him play outside the fence. If I was still in the US, I might, though. However, my son's limited Spanish and the fact that kidnap for ransom is an actual industry here means that I just don't feel it's safe.
post #18 of 52
For me, we just started to let ds, age 5.5 outside unsupervised after many discussions about what to do if a teen or adult approaches him on foot or in a car, even if he knows them, he is to come into the house. If it is someone he knows, it is to let me know, "Hey, Mom, so-and-so is here, I'm gonna play/chat with them/pet their dog/whatever." If it is someone he doesn't know, then he lets me know that and I check on it. I also leave the door open so I can hear him and I check visually every few minutes.
I know my particular child is very good about not going into the street so I don't worry about that. I worry more about strangers, even when there aren't registered sex offenders in our area. There are lots of sex offenders out there who have never been arrested, let alone "registered".
I am also more comfortable letting him outside after we've had a big snow. Then there is very little traffic on our street and lots of neighbors out with their kids playing and shoveling the snow.
post #19 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
. I am assuming you mean front/unsupervised rather than enclosed back garden right?
Yes. For me, the backyard doesn't count as "outside alone" if I can see or hear them.

I mean like, walk to the park with a child of the same age.
post #20 of 52
I agree that it depends on the child and where you live.

My son started going out front alone around 5. A little younger if he was with older neighbor friends. But we live in a city, and going out means going to the sidewalk. This factored significantly into when he started going out alone.

I am not sure what age he could walk to the park alone or with a friend. He's almost 7, and he could manage with his almost 9 year old BFF. But I'd still feel comfortable going with them.
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