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How much supervision is enough?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
This is kind of related to the drinking thread but I have more thoughts unrelated to thinking.

How well do kids have to be supervised?

For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?

How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?

How old do kids have to be for you to be really busy in another room while they're playing somewhere else?

How old do kids have to be for you to be mowing the lawn while your kids are alone inside?

How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them? How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?

How old do kids have to be for you to go next door to chat with a neighbor while they're playing at home?
post #2 of 28

We've always lived in really small houses, hard to get in trouble when mom is only 5 feet away from every room.

 

Ds was about 4 when I started letting him get up without one of us being awake.  He's the sort of kid that it would never have occurred to him to do something he shouldn't.  He just didn't have it in him.  When dd started getting up without me at about 2, ds would give her some cereal and they would watch tv together.  

 

By necessity I had to take the dog out and leave ds in the house, so he was 2 when I started doing that.  I can see the play area from my window, so at about 4 I let them play out in the "woods" alone.    I just let dd go super far (about 150 yards away, but there are houses in the way so I can't see where she is) last week, she's 8.  Ds is almost 13 and he has the run of our town, as far as his bike will take him.  There is one street he's not allowed to cross, heck, I hate crossing it in the car.  

 

My answer is always going to be "it depends on the kid".  My nephew couldn't handle any sort of responsibility, my ds was made for responsibility.  

post #3 of 28

I have a related one?  My DD1 is 7.5.  Can I leave her and my 16 month old DD in the car to dash in to pay for gas?  Any longer?  It would be so cool to leave a big kid playing a video game with a sleeping toddler for a few minutes to run an errand.  I trust my DD, and my mom did this stuff all the time- even left my brother and I in the car while she grocery shopped at like 6 and 8 when we were fighting.  I am wondering when nosy old ladies won't go grab a cop on me.  Or at least when that cop would laugh her off.

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

This is kind of related to the drinking thread but I have more thoughts unrelated to thinking.

How well do kids have to be supervised?
YOu know I am going to say depends on the kid, culture, if there are siblings... But you are asking concrete questions, so I will give you concrete (and too long) answers of what has worked for us.

For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?
Since 3 and 5. Our rule was you had to stay in bed until 7am, but if you woke up after that you could go downstairs and play. They came up whenever they needed us. Come to think of it, neither have come up to us in probably a year. They are now 7 and 9. This is obviously on weekends, on weekdays we are all up together for school and work. DS, the oldest, found out very early on that if he did not disturb us or wake us up, it meant more time on the computer for him. I also think this is probably early, but the reason it happened is one weekend morning at about 6am I woke up to music and asked DH if we had left a radio or tv on. No, DS, then 2.5 and still in diapers and with his teddy, had gone downstairs, turned on the computer, browsed to his folder and launched some game. I figured if he could do that, then maybe it was ok. I think at the time we said he had to come ask us first, and then when he was able to tell the time on the clock, which was around 3, then he could go down by himself if it was 7am or later. Before that he had to wait, which just meant he went back to sleep. DD was only 1 at the time, and sleeping with us, so a non issue. A year later they were sleeping together, so then the rule was he could go down if he didn't wake her up. And then at some point she was also up and they just went down together. I am very happy that DH and I get our time to sleep in, or whatever, on weekend mornings.

How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?
Can't remember, maybe the same age? Though I would wait until DH was home if I wanted a bath, otherwise there would be constant interruptions, which sort of defeated the purpose of a bath.

How old do kids have to be for you to be really busy in another room while they're playing somewhere else?
1 year maybe. I don't think there is a specific time because it comes naturally. First, when they are really little, pre-walking, they want to be with you so will complain unless they are in the room with you. At least mine did. At the just walking stage, ugh, that was too much work for me to be busy with anything else. After that then if I had something really busy to do, make a nice meal or whatever, I just did it. They were constantly in the same room or coming in and out so often that it is hard to be really busy with anything else anyway.
Didn't you know that all mothers have an extra set of eyes in the back of their head? :wink And I just listened. No noise meant I had to drop everything. Noise was good. And arguing that started escalating I attended to. Quite early by asking them how they could resolve it themselves. Can you each take a 5 minute turn? Luckily I have two that rarely fight. 
I started painting again, which required hyper focused attention, when they were 4 and 2, but that was only when DH was home, otherwise it was impossible. Now they are nearly 7 and 9 and I can paint even when they are home. Though I find that if I spend a lot of time with them, then spend time for myself painting, it goes much more smoothly than if I don't. I am also surprised by how often some kids at this age are still interrupting or running in and out to mom and dad. My DDs friend honestly is in every 5 minutes asking if she can do x or y. Drives me bonkers.

How old do kids have to be for you to be mowing the lawn while your kids are alone inside?
Ha, don't have to answer. Ask DH. He said 3 and 5. 

How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them? How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?
Our backyard leads to the soccer field, with a playground direct to the left - visible if I am standing in the soccer field, but not from in the house. I let them go over there by themselves at about the same age, 3 and 5, but I would come over after 20 min or so just to make sure everything was OK. I also did this more out of respect to other parents than the needs of my children. Other parents might be there with their kids 24-7 and maybe felt they had to be responsible for looking after my kids as well; which they didn't but that really isn't the point. So if I went over and another parent was there I would clearly say when I was leaving that they were fine on their own, but if the parent felt otherwise then I would keep more of an eye out, perhaps going back for a book and bringing it back to the playground. 

How old do kids have to be for you to go next door to chat with a neighbor while they're playing at home?

Same. 3 and 5. 

 

Funny, I think this post makes me look like I'm raising free-range chickens. I guess I sort of am. However, what is funny is that my DD has a new friend down the street, named Oliva. But I have taken to calling her Pippi because OMG she is always on her own - just appears on the doorstep, can Lea play, can we now both go over to Marias house... Yes, fine. Does your dad know where you are? No, doesn't matter. Do you need to be home for dinner? Doesn't mater. After my DD went over there one day and came back at 3pm I asked her if she had lunch at Olivias, only to be informed that Olivia never ate lunch, they picked an apple. Never even met Olivias far until 3 or 4 weeks, and many play dates later. But a really nice guy. And when my DD went over there, she came back with air in her tires and the seat on her bike moved up. Hurray for Olivias dad. So I guess is no matter your parenting style, someone else's can always surprise you.

post #5 of 28

"Supervision" has been something of a non-issue for us because our son prefers to be with people (especially me) and simply was not willing to be alone at all while awake until he was about 4 1/2.  Now at 8 1/2 he is willing to be alone some of the time and rarely does anything we wouldn't have let him do if we were watching.

Quote:
 How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?

I started this when he was 2 months old!  But I'd put him in his infant seat on the floor next to the bathtub and talk to him.  Later, he would play in the bathroom while I was in the tub or shower.  I remember when he had just turned 2 years old and just started watching TV, one of the first things he saw was "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", and I got to take a long soaking bath while he pretended to be the grinch, gathering up toys in the bath mat and skulking around! :D

Quote:
 How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them? How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?

We used to have a neighbor girl, 5 houses down, who was 4 years older than my son but enjoyed playing with him.  She spent a lot of time playing in the front yard.  (On our side of the street, back yards drop off in a steep hill, so front yards are safer for playing.)  When he was 3 1/2, we started letting him go into our front yard by himself, and she would come over to play with him.  They had to stay where they could see our front door.  We'd check on them every 15 minutes max.

 

Once he was allowed to cross the street alone at age 6, we began letting him go over to see if his friend on the other side of the street can play.  They might stay at her house or come back to ours, but if they want to go anywhere else they need to get permission from her parents and us.

 

Here's some detail on how we've been allowing him to walk farther from home alone.  It's a gradual process.

post #6 of 28

Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiqa View Post
 

We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

Terrible experience, I can see how that could make you extra cautious in return. But you are KIDDING ME - A 12 YO?! Isn't it 15 you can get a drivers permit in the states? So a 12 yo can't be by themselves or walk around the block, but 3 years later same person can drive a car down a highway at 65mph! See, that to me, would be child endangerment, to expect a 12 t be treated like an infant and then expect all that growth, all that maturity, all that responsibility, to happen all pressed in a 3 year span. 

post #8 of 28

I totally agree.  It's nonsensical.

post #9 of 28

It really depends on the personality and maturity level of the child, if they are the predictable or who knows what they might do type of child.  Also, if you have good child safety locks you know they can't pick, and how big your home is, etc.  My boys are 8 and 5, we have 3 different types of locks on our doors (including a door knob that is child proof and darn near adult proof).  I know my boys are fine if they get up in the morning and get themselves some juice and a granola bar and sit down to watch some cartoons while I sleep in for 30 minutes.  We have a small home so you can pretty much hear whatever is going on in one room of the house on the other side of the house.  I know them so well that I will just sense if they are up to something.  We also have a fenced backyard so I allow them to play out there while I am cooking dinner or doing dishes because I can see them run by out the kitchen window.  I just stick y head out the door and check periodically.  I have left them inside to mow the lawn before, but I check every 10 minutes of so to make sure they are ok.  I am a big believer in mother's intuition, so I say the real answer to this question is "what does your intuition say?"

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiqa View Post
 

Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={


I have had horrible experiences with CPS and ridiculous neighbors myself and this is what I am always fearful of! That I would let my child do something that I know she is capable of doing and someone would call CPS on me and frame the situation completely the wrong way! You have my sympathy!

post #11 of 28
Quote:

Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

 

Wow.. what a terrible story :(. All it takes is a nosy neighbor. I could see this happening to us someday. We let our kids go in the back yard by themselves (4.5 and 2.5) but we watch them through the window and go outside frequently. So they aren't really unsupervised.

 

I would love it if they would wake up and hang out alone for a little while, but that is not going to happen just yet. The 2 year old always wakes up first, and super early. If I or DH doesn't get up with her then she'll wake up her older sister, and that's no good. She also demands food first thing in the morning (after milkies, but that's another story).

post #12 of 28

I can't tell what other parents do with their children; you know your child best and there is no one size fits all approach imo. I can only tell what I do with my kids:

 

For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?

 

***My dd (4) wouldn't let me sleep once she gets up in the morning, but I am able to take a nap while she's awake (usually in front of a screen) when I'm sick. I would say this started at 4 y/o.

 

How old do your kids have to be for you to soak in the bath while they're awake?

 

***Even when they were 1 y/o I could take a quick shower, while they were in a playpen.

But with one bathroom in our house, I wouldn't risk taking a bath; sooner or later someone will start pounding on the door needing to pee *right now*.

 

How old do kids have to be for you to be really busy in another room while they're playing somewhere else?

 

***Again, this wouldn't apply to us, my kids kinda played independently as long as I was in the same room with them. Ds started to want to be by himself around 5 (but very rarely).

 

How old before kids can play in the yard without you outside with them?

 

***We have a fenced yard, so we started around 3.

 

How old before they can play in the neighborhood with other kids without a parent?

 

***7 or 8? Ds can ride his bike around the block by himself (he's 8) and he went to the park alone once. There aren't many kids who are allowed to go outside by themselves in our neighbourhood, so he has few kids to play with.

post #13 of 28

My dad said he used to wander around the neighborhood for hours by himself (and to play with other kids) when he was as young as 4.  All the neighborhood kids did.  He said he would even take naps-in a field, lol.  No one worried.  Everyone came back at the same time every evening for dinner.  I wish I had lived in that era. 

post #14 of 28

Oy! this thread makes my head spin. My child is only a toddler so I haven't had to deal with some of these questions yet. But, since becoming a parent, I've reflected on some of the things my parents let me do as a kid and wow! the world has changed! I used to literally wander off around our rural neighbourhood, by myself, for hours. No cell phone. I can remember doing this as young as….9/10 ish. And when friends came over for a playdate, my mom would let us wander off together! and their parents never made  fuss! I'd do the same when I went to THEIR house! 

 

We'd go build forts by the creek, in the forest, sneak through neighbours yards/farms, climb up these big boulders and old remains of houses. 

 

ahhh freedom. And now I think ahead to letting my son do that in a few years and I have to be honest, I don't think I'll be comfortable with it!

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyato View Post

Oy! this thread makes my head spin. My child is only a toddler so I haven't had to deal with some of these questions yet. But, since becoming a parent, I've reflected on some of the things my parents let me do as a kid and wow! the world has changed! I used to literally wander off around our rural neighbourhood, by myself, for hours. No cell phone. I can remember doing this as young as….9/10 ish. And when friends came over for a playdate, my mom would let us wander off together! and their parents never made  fuss! I'd do the same when I went to THEIR house! 

We'd go build forts by the creek, in the forest, sneak through neighbours yards/farms, climb up these big boulders and old remains of houses. 

ahhh freedom. And now I think ahead to letting my son do that in a few years and I have to be honest, I don't think I'll be comfortable with it!

My older daughter was wandering around the neighborhood much younger than 9 or 10, for hours. I'm a big fan of the whole free range thing as far as that goes. She's 11 now and I let the 4-year-old go with her if she's off playing in the neighborhood so long as she doesn't take the 4-year-old too far. The 4-year-old is close to 5 now, and I think the older one was 5 when she and her friends starting running around this part of the neighborhood. And the neighborhood we were living in when my older one was little, and the neighborhood we live in now, are both really friendly neighborhoods where I know all the neighbors. No one has certainly ever called CPS on me and their kids are all running around by about 5 too. When we moved and were looking for a house here, we specifically looked for a neighborhood that had a culture where kids run around outside and play unsupervised like when my husband and I were kids, because we felt like it was really good for our older daughter to have that and we wanted it for the younger one as well.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by CA Country Girl View Post
 

I have a related one?  My DD1 is 7.5.  Can I leave her and my 16 month old DD in the car to dash in to pay for gas?  Any longer?  It would be so cool to leave a big kid playing a video game with a sleeping toddler for a few minutes to run an errand.  I trust my DD, and my mom did this stuff all the time- even left my brother and I in the car while she grocery shopped at like 6 and 8 when we were fighting.  I am wondering when nosy old ladies won't go grab a cop on me.  Or at least when that cop would laugh her off.

It isnt the nosy old ladies that you have to worry about I think....When you dash into the gas station to pay leaving your children in the car alone you run the risk of some whacko making off with the car with them in it or just them...My aunt made this mistake with my cousin in the car...he was 6 and luckily he knew enough to take a jump out when the guy got distracted on the highway or who knows if we would have ever seen him again..As for leaving your children home alone would you really take that chance with such young children? No matter how much you trust your 7 year old with your 16 month old she would never be able to save her from an intruder or a wild animal ect....I wouldn't risk it...not judging you just thinking about what could happen..In the 80's there was a child in the same state as I that was left home by mom because she just didn't want to take her out into the cold while she ran to the corner market..She even locked the door...she came home to the door beaten in and the little girl gone..they found her body the next day..I won't tell you what that person did to that baby...

 

I would never risk such young children...Take them with you....

post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
I would be very comfortable leaving a child and toddler in the car to pay for gas. Statistically, walking from the car to the gas station store is more dangerous because of the traffic. I wouldn't leave them longer than that though. And I'd lock the car.
post #18 of 28
Same here. Our gas station is crazy busy for a town our size. I hate walking through the lot, I'm thrilled that dd is 8 and happy to sit in the car for 2 minutes.
post #19 of 28

"For instance, at some age you can sleep in while your kid(s) are awake. How old do the kids have to be?"

 

Everything is a huge "It depends on the kids, the location, and the circumstances". On this, for us- we will now with our 6 month old because we'll wake up when he starts fussing. There've been times we've woken up to find the baby already awake and contentedly amusing himself.  I don't know how it'll go when he starts to get more mobile.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiqa View Post
 

Not to be a Debby Downer but we had a CPS investigation launched on us when our 5 year old left the house one morning to walk around the block on her own.  We had the 7 am rule as well - she could play quietly until then upstairs.  She never gave us a reason to suspect she'd leave.  We heard her go into the hall to te bathroom and figured she went back to her room to draw like any other day.  She snuck downstairs and went out the back door.  We found her a few mins later (she left a few minutes prior to 7) but a neighbor called the police to report a wandering child, and they opened a case for possible neglect.  That was the ONLY reason.  Our home was clean, the kids well dressed, very nice neighborhood, intact family, private preschools, up to date on ped visits, everything.  They closed it a few months later after several legally required home visits, but it's pretty much traumatized me.  We alarmed the doors, the stairs, everything.  We even invited a police officer to our home to discuss the dangers of leaving alone and he said they can legally call CPS if a child under 12 is unsupervised.  I am constantly watching my back now.  And for what?  A 5.5 year old took a walk around the block alone, wasn't lost, wasn't hurt... Blah. ={

 

This country has gotten HORRIBLE about CPS calls over the tiniest little thing. I saw someone in a thread ask why people are so defensive of their parenting- this is why. Because if someone doesn't agree with your parenting styles, or if you slip up, they might call CPS or the cops. Even if it doesn't cause any problems- it's still horrible and a very big inconvenience.

 

 

 

I do feel like the world's gotten more dangerous- but it's also gotten overprotective in some bad ways.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
 

This country has gotten HORRIBLE about CPS calls over the tiniest little thing. I saw someone in a thread ask why people are so defensive of their parenting- this is why. Because if someone doesn't agree with your parenting styles, or if you slip up, they might call CPS or the cops. Even if it doesn't cause any problems- it's still horrible and a very big inconvenience.

 

 

 

I do feel like the world's gotten more dangerous- but it's also gotten overprotective in some bad ways.


it isn't just an inconvenience... we had an armed officer show up at our house at 10pm and demand to see our sleeping daughter in her room (they call this a welfare check) no explanation why they needed to see our sleeping daughter (can you imagine how terrifying a strange man with a gun in your bedroom would be to a 2 year old?). I know now that no matter what the cop or the CPS agent says if they don't have a damn warrant they cannot come in however we totally were scared and just wanted to comply to get them gone. Turns out a neighbors husband made an offhanded comment that i was "pretty" so she called CPS to get back at me. Made accusations such as molestation because I was breastfeeding past a year! They interviewed our neighbors I had to get letters from her pediatrician and everything. It is disgusting! I am now looking in to keeping a CPS attorney on retainer since I plan on not vaxing and doing any of the newborn "interventions" and though my hospital doesnt typically report that to CPS they are supposed to and I refuse to speak with those people.

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