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Do people make their kids go outside anymore?

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
My mom used to say to us kids "Outside time, go outside".
We just didnt have a choice. We would play or just sulk around out there, but stayed out till she called us in. It was probably for about 1hr every day.
I ask my kids 5 and 7 if they want to play outside every day. Sometimes they do, but other times they just say they dont want to. I kind of like the idea of it not being a choice, but feel like it would cause a power struggle and I'd have to yell or force them.
Does anyone have a strict outdoor time rule?
post #2 of 85
I don't have any kind of strict outdoor time, but I do kick the kids out at times when they are driving me crazier . No, but really - they love playing outside (riding bikes, playing on the swingset, running, digging, skateboarding, etc.), so it's not an issue with them wanting to stay indoors. It probably helps that we don't have cable (or even PBS), and the wii is broken. They have 1/2 an acre to get their energy out.

My mom said when she was a kid (born in 1950), my grandma would send them outside all day long - only coming in to eat and use the bathroom. That way they were in her hair and she could cook and clean.
post #3 of 85
My kids are young but it bothers me that I don't see kids your children's ages outside. I think that a lot of people think children that age can't play outside alone. When we were those ages, it was home, small snack, then get out of the house and I don't want to see you until dinner but you better be back before street lights are on.

Right now, after nap and snack, we go outside to the park every day unless we have a "field trip" planned (they are one and three, LOL, so really it's just an excursion, but you get the point). I do not plan on spending that time minding them when they are five and seven!
post #4 of 85
Well, my kids are 4 (today!) and 7... I let my 7 year old out in a confined area (where I can see him from my doorstep at all times) and my 4 year old DOES NOT go outside without me, period. Yes, we were allowed to run the neighborhood when we were children but I don't trust people the way my mother did. The world is getting more dangerous by the minute and I will not just allow my children to run the neighborhood and hope they don't get hurt/kidnapped/molested/etc... However, generally my son stays in his boundaries quite well and I don't worry too much about him. I check about every 15 minutes or so just to make sure he is following rules, etc. My 4 year old watches cartoons in the morning while I clean up the house, then she spends most of the day in the front yard playing with the neighbor kids around the same age while I am on the porch keeping an eye on her. I imagine as DD gets a bit older I will allow her outside more by herself... but I don't just kick them out of the house... It's their house too and I think they should have some say when they want to be indoors. However, we usually have the opposite problem... they ALWAYS want to be outside, even when they really shouldn't/can't.
post #5 of 85
I don't need to make them. They are always begging to go out. They'd much rather be out riding bikes or digging in the dirt.

My oldest two are the only ones outside by themselves though. We don't have a fence and the other three would wander the streets with no care. Usually they go next door and play in the fenced area at mils with the older two at least a few times a week and we go out to playgrounds and such.

We homeschool and limit tv and computer and they have no game consoles.
post #6 of 85
Quote:
The world is getting more dangerous by the minute
Actually, crime rates across the western world are lower than they've been in at least thirty years, and that includes, but is not limited to, crimes against children.
post #7 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Actually, crime rates across the western world are lower than they've been in at least thirty years, and that includes, but is not limited to, crimes against children.
Yep.
post #8 of 85
My oldest (almost 9) I do send out- even when she doesn't really WANT to go out. She would live indoors and on plastic if she could, she just isn't an outside kind of kid, but she NEEDS the fresh air and exercise. Even when she protests, after she's been out for a couple minutes she loves it and I have to remind her to come in several times.

The younger two are too little to go out without me being *right* there with them- they are only 1 and 2, but by the time they are 4/5 they will be allowed out in a fenced yard, and since they are rambunctious/boisterous sorts, I will ABSOLUTELY tell them to take it outside. In fact, I look forward to that time with great longing as I will then be able to have a cup of tea without excessive interruption.

I am well aware of the dangers, but I am also a realist. I worry more about my oldest being abducted at this point than I do the younger kids. She is very naive, so I do keep close track of her, but she needs to learn how to keep herself safe as she's getting old enough that I can not be there every moment.
post #9 of 85
I wish I could force mine outside! In the summer here it was just too hot, but now that it is cooling down I beg them to go outside! We have a big fenced backyard with a playground, cars/bikes, sand table, but they never want to stay out! They will come in and out and in and out until they just want to stay inside. And inside they just hang around... it's really annoying. They won't play outside, and they won't play with the toys that they have inside either.
post #10 of 85
Mine is 3.5 so I don't "send" him out, but most days I take him out for an hour or more a day. I feel it's very important, but some days after 10 minutes he asks to go back in. When he does I try once to keep him out "Hey, do you see that stick? It looks like a weed whacker!" but if he's really not into we go in.

I also let him go out on our deck to play with his little basketball hoop or whatever he wants to do...on the deck only! It is a low deck (2 feet up) and I can hear him from the kitchen/family room and see him very easily if I want to. He'll choose to go out there alone every other day or so, in addition to our hour+ outside together (our neighborhood or a park).

We'll be homeschooling and I plan for us to be out 1+ hour a day forever! Most of the day on some days when we're doing homeschool stuff outside!

But no, there will never be a rule. DS is screen free and doesn't have leapfrog or electronic (even battery) toys. Sticks outside are pretty darn cool to him. When he's older and we introduce/allow some screen time, I hope he'll have developed such a connection/interest in nature that he won't be pulled inside (too much) by electronics!

Have you read "Last Child in the Woods?" I saw the author speak a few years ago (but still haven't read the book! ).
post #11 of 85
In decent weather, my 8-year-old is outside very very frequently. She's spent very little time playing inside if the weather is nice. And it's been like that for at least 2 years, so she's been playing outside out of my sight for a long time. I am not worried for her safety. She's fine out there and has a blast. I don't force it but I do encourage it.
post #12 of 85
We are blessed to have a big, fenced backyard and my kids spend a lot of time out there. In fact, they were out there playing in the water yesterday (yep, October and it was 97 here ). We home school and sometimes do school out there, they go out for breaks between subjects, they eat out there half the time, either on the deck or the lawn (my house stays so clean in the summer!). I almost never 'force' them to go out, but there have been a few times they've been strongly encouraged when I just needed a few minutes peace and quiet!
post #13 of 85
i sure do. the older one drives me crazy at times, the 5 year old plays in the back with the dogs
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post #14 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Actually, crime rates across the western world are lower than they've been in at least thirty years, and that includes, but is not limited to, crimes against children.
Not in my neighborhood... regardless, I am still not comfortable just sending my 4 and 7 year old out without plenty of supervision. I am sorry but I see too many children around my neighborhood that DO... might explain why a 4 year old was hit and killed on the busy street that runs adjacent to our neighborhood. I think there a lot of factors that go into this subject, including the safety of your neighborhood. If I lived in a quiet neighborhood with fenced in backyards, little dogs in backyards and very few cars, my tune might be a little different... but I don't. I live in an apartment complex with high traffic, large, aggressive dogs and some rather idiotic individuals that I don't trust around my children. Maybe it's over-protective but I would much rather be overly protective then ask myself why when something bad happens...
post #15 of 85
I wish we had strict outdoor time, but it is not realistic where we live. We are in Texas and for about 4 months, it is way too hot to force really any amount of time. Then, the rest of the year, it is hailing, tornados, huge storms, etc. Where I live, we have troubles with wasps ever since getting the wooden playset so back yard play is prohibited. We have maybe 14 days out of the year I am guessing where we can go to the park where I will stand and watch the kids. I do not think it is safe for children to be outside unwatched. So that is it. It most certainly is not the world I grew up in. We would head out in the morning and just have to be back by dark.
post #16 of 85
I will say though, if it were not for the wasps, we would be outside way more. Basically, I feel trapped in my house due to wasps. The weather is only in the 90's today so I started to take the kids out. But one got bit last week so they did not want to go. I forced them anyway, but within a couple minutes of being there, we could clearly see the wasps.
post #17 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah View Post
Not in my neighborhood... regardless, I am still not comfortable just sending my 4 and 7 year old out without plenty of supervision. I am sorry but I see too many children around my neighborhood that DO... might explain why a 4 year old was hit and killed on the busy street that runs adjacent to our neighborhood. I think there a lot of factors that go into this subject, including the safety of your neighborhood. If I lived in a quiet neighborhood with fenced in backyards, little dogs in backyards and very few cars, my tune might be a little different... but I don't. I live in an apartment complex with high traffic, large, aggressive dogs and some rather idiotic individuals that I don't trust around my children. Maybe it's over-protective but I would much rather be overly protective then ask myself why when something bad happens...
That really sucks about your neighborhood. I believe you when you say it's not safe. I just get irritated when people talk about "these days" when the reality is for a lot of kids, it truly is safer than when their parents were their age. And I think that it gets repeated far too often, to the point that it's not questioned, and then children who COULD otherwise go out, do not.

That makes me sad.

However, you know the situation where you are and of course there's no way I could judge every single individual situation. I am just speaking in general.
post #18 of 85
Our kids do spend a lot of time outside. We're in a quiet neighborhood with a big backyard on a court and across the street from a park, so we're fortunate in that there's lots to do and lots of kids in the court to do it with. I don't even plan playdates necessarily because by 9 in the morning on weekends all the kids are up and playing with each other and creating games, projects, etc... We are very lucky.
post #19 of 85
I wish we had the kind of yard where I could let my kids play outside all the time, but it's tiny and not very kid-friendly.

We'll be moving early next year and having a decent backyard, even small, is a priority. When I was a kid, my brother and I were outside all the time, but we lived on 2 acres in a very safe neighborhood and other kids were always outside too. We don't even know any neighbors here! If I had the kind of yard that I grew up with, we'd spend all day outside. But we do get out a lot - it's just usually after a short car ride to a park or beach!
post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah View Post
The world is getting more dangerous by the minute and I will not just allow my children to run the neighborhood and hope they don't get hurt/kidnapped/molested/etc...
I do kick my kids outside. I do not see the world as less safe since my childhood. I see it as dramatically more safe except that cars are less aware of kids playing / biking BECAUSE YOU GUYS DON'T LET YOUR KIDS OUTSIDE ...

I see it as more safe because of cell phones, amber alerts, my ability to get email notifications if a sex offender moves into my neighborhood (if in compliance with the law, but if not at least they risk getting re-incarcerated), cell phones, cell phones, and cell phones. And gps and cell phones.

I truly don't believe that there has been any increase in crimes against children.
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