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How far do your kids go without you? - Page 2

post #21 of 26

I read something once that made me feel better about giving my kids more outside freedom:


What we worry about most (stranger kidnappers and molesters) is very, very, very rare.


What is statistically most likely to happen, though, if we keep our kids inside, is obesity, and that could easily kill them (at an older age.) 



post #22 of 26

Strongly suggest you all watch The Lost Adventures of Childhood documentary... http://vimeo.com/36303926 can't recommend this documentary enough for making you think about it all.

post #23 of 26
Originally Posted by Butterflykate View Post

Strongly suggest you all watch The Lost Adventures of Childhood documentary... http://vimeo.com/36303926 can't recommend this documentary enough for making you think about it all.

Butterflykate thanks for sharing that.


OP by age 10 my eldest was taking the city bus on his own and was able to bike a couple of kms on his own.  He's 13 now and ready to travel between cities on his own (he's planning on heading to Toronto by train next month to spend the day at the ROM). By the time he was 11 he was able to take some/all of his siblings downtown by bus or bike to the library, or to run an errand for me.


My middles are now 10 and they have similar freedom as their older brother did at that age, although we've moved to a smaller town (no buses).  My daughter has a medical condition so we have a cell phone now for her so she can check in about meds etc but beyond that they are pretty free.


My youngest is 8. My kids usually travel in packs with their siblings but she can run down to the library or post office on her own (about a 3 block radius). She has to cross a somewhat busy street to get there but there are lights and crosswalks.


All my kids by about age 6-7 or so were free to play at the school that was down the street from our old house or the park a block away as long as they had a buddy (friend or sibling) with them. For a little while they had walkie talkies they took with them but they sort of fell by the wayside.  They had free reign of the neighbourhood (4 adjacent blocks) without checking in but needed to let me know if they were going further than that.


You know your own children and living situation best but I would suggest that unless it is truly unsafe where you are that your kids are old enough that they may benefit from more freedom. Your oldest is only 2 or 3 years from high school age. If he's not inclined/able to behave responsibly, I would think that would be all the more reason to start giving him small freedoms and expectations so he can learn those skills gradually and be prepared when school and society expects him to have those skills and experiences.  


Good luck with your decision.


post #24 of 26

I just mentioned yesterday on another thread that we have a playground across the street from our house, and I let my 7, 9 and 12 yo play there alone. I have received flack for this from my mother, my sister in law and from complete strangers.  Someone asked my children once where their parents were, and why they were on their own. I was pretty surprised. They are all pretty savvy and responsible.


My husband nearly lost his mind this winter when I allowed the three of them to go two blocks away on their own to go skating at a pubic outdoor rink WITH helmets. Wait til I tell him that I plan on allowing DD1 (12 years old) take the city bus to school on her own this fall.


People think the world is fraught with child molesters and abductors. I am going to venture to say that there were just as many when WE were kids, but the media didn't warp us all into freaked out, paranoid ninnies.


Call me crazy, but I was allowed to do much more as a child at their ages, and I am grateful to my parents for this.

post #25 of 26

coming back to add - if i didnt have CPS looming over me (from strangers who thought i would be negligent) i would have let dd go 3 - 4 blocks without me since age 6 to the local store and friends house. 


at 8 she was allowed to walk one block in our cul-de-sac because i knew the neighbors wouldnt call CPS on me.


in my state (my county esp.) CPS workers take any complaint against any child under 12 VERY seriously. the line 'under 12' is very blurry as there is no law, so it is left at the discretion of the CPS worker and police. they are much more lenient from about age 10 and 11 (and usually go with the parents decision of how mature the parents feel their child is). but under no circumstances is 9 considered mature enough.


so while i would have allowed dd more freedom earlier on - i dont. 


because i dont have that fear of meddling neighbors when dd is home - i have no qualms leaving her home alone. 


when she turns 10 she will be allowed to walk 3 blocks to the library by herself and 3 blocks to the corner market/book store/hair cutting place by herself (very busy street but has lights and crosswalks). 

post #26 of 26

I agree with most of what others have said and just want to add that the confidence that kids get from being able to take some responsibility for themselves is priceless. They NEED these lessons to grow into strong, independent adults. We all have fears, and of course parents want to keep their kids out of harms way, but the recognition that harm is not lurking around every corner and the chance to explore independently is empowering for kids is key.


My kids are 7, 5, 3 and 5 months. My oldest two roam all over the block. They must ask permission to cross the street and they only do so when they want to go to a friends house who lives over there. My oldest will walk 1 mile home from school next year with a friend and is allowed to go a couple of blocks up to friends houses when he is playing. We live in a quiet neighborhood with sidewalks and lots of kids. I give my 5 yo little errands, like running a thank you note to neighbors that live across the street and down the block, etc. My 3yo plays outside without me as long as his older brothers are with him. But I do check on him every 10 minutes or so. 


I watch them play outside sometimes and I catch glimpses of a "kid world" that I remember experiencing as a child. The negotiations with other neighborhood kids, the hierarchies, the creative games, the fights and the reconciliations. I think its important to let them experience that by themselves and its hard for all that to happen when they aren't free to roam and explore by themselves. 

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