When Can They Play Outside on Their Own? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-20-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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We have a small walled off patio that DS has been able to go out by himself since he was around 2. It's pretty small so all he can really do it play with his water table. The gate is locked so there is no way he can escape. If we had a fenced in backyard I would be fine with him playing out there as well. We don't have one at all, and it will be a few years before I am okay with him playing unsupervised outside.

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Old 01-20-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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I don't know why... but I'm seriously on the verge of a panic attack while reading these responses. My mom let my brother and I play outside in our FRONT yard and also go as far down the street as three houses and this is when we lived in California in a not-so-nice part of the city.

I currently live in a sub-urban area of our city in Kansas and I cannot imagine letting our little ones outside by themselves until they're at least 14. I don't know why... I guess I've watch too many of those stories on TV about kidnappings.

Hopefully, I'll change my mind in the next 12 yrs... for my DD's sake.

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Old 01-20-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by glitterdaisymom View Post
I don't know why... but I'm seriously on the verge of a panic attack while reading these responses. My mom let my brother and I play outside in our FRONT yard and also go as far down the street as three houses and this is when we lived in California in a not-so-nice part of the city.

I currently live in a sub-urban area of our city in Kansas and I cannot imagine letting our little ones outside by themselves until they're at least 14. I don't know why... I guess I've watch too many of those stories on TV about kidnappings.

Hopefully, I'll change my mind in the next 12 yrs... for my DD's sake.
ITA! I have a 6 y.o. and a 3 y.o. and I'm suprised that people let their kids younger than 4 or 5 outside with no fence and no supervision. The boy up the street was 6 y.o. when he ran after a ball in the street and was hit and killed. Now... I do let my 6 year old out front and I don't keep an eagle eye on her but the windows or doors are open and she knows not to go past a certain tree or out of our yard. I'm so scared someone's going to drive up and grab her, even though she knows to run to the house if a car slows down, so I am looking out the windows every couple of minutes. We live in a very safe suburban neighborhood where the lot sizes are approx. 1/3 to 1/2 acre each.

My 3 year old can't play out front unless I'm out there. I couldn't even imagine someone letting their 3 year old walk to the park! I would say 8 or 9 years old before they could walk to the park alone, and that is if the park is in sight.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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About age 4 I started letting DS play in the fenced in backyard. Only with the windows open so I can hear him and I also peek out every five minutes or so. I prefer to be out with him though, so that was just when I was working in the kitchen. He's not allowed out front alone although I will make him sit on the steps while I run in to get something. He has always waited for me.

One of our neighbors- an 8 year old girl is not allowed without someone or if we are out, we keep and eye on her since DS and she like to play together. We have other neighbors who have been allowed to be out from age 5. Our street cuts between 2 major streets in town, so we have a lot of traffic to be careful of.

I 'think' DS will be able to play outside alone at age 8- but who knows. Time will tell.

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Old 01-20-2010, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sending a 3 yo alone to the park? no way, never. Forget about pedophiles, I'd be more worried about them falling and getting hurt or getting lost. I'd just try to make as much time to go there as possible.
Well, yeah, that's why I don't let her, but on the other hand, it has to end someday. Someday, it has to be possible for my child to have outdoor activity on the same day we eat roasted meat, or have fresh bread, and I am really, really, REALLY impatient for that day.

There's no way I can wait until nine.

OMG interruption it's midnight here in Germany and I'm looking at a hare hippity hoppitying across the little yard behind our apartments! This is the first time I've seen wildlife here! Squee!

Okay, back to conversation, it seems to me that three is too young, but although I am sad about the six-year-old, there are first-graders who walk a block or two to school. A six-year-old in my elementary school was in a coma after running into the street to get a ball. But it was common for children in southern California (which had a higher crime rate back then, yep higher!) to walk to school at that time.

Does that impulse control usually appear around eight or nine? Hm.

Five more years of indoor play on sunny days because we are out of bread... it's like a prison sentence. Am I the only one who feels that way?

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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We live in the middle of nowhere - last house on a dead end dirt road. So theres no traffic, neighbors, etc. As a result, last year DS1 (then 2ish) was aloud to play outside by himself - I'd check on him every 5-10 minutes, but I was OK with that. This year he'll be 3 and I definetly see outside-alone play in his future
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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After what happened to this past Saturday, my kids won't be out alone again until they are MUCH older, if at all.

We have 12 acres in a rural area. DD is 4. We were outside playing and I ran in the house to get something for her. On my way back out, literally 1 minute later, I heard DD begin shrieking. I went running back outside with DS in the Ergo on my back and found DD pressed up against the side wall of the house with two huge dogs advancing on her. I started screaming for DP for help, and started towards them when they finally ran up my driveway and were gone.

Its one of the neighbors dogs. They are irresponsible people who don't take precautions to keep their dogs under control and this is the second time I've caught them on my property. This time I reported it to the dog warden and they are getting a citation and have to appear before the judge.

DP went to their house and flipped out on them. 2 hours later, the daughter drives up and asks me if I've seen them again. They were still running loose.

I really thought moving to the country would be so much better, I'd be able to have my kids outside without fear of cars, buses, creeps in the park, etc. Instead I have to fear my neighbors dogs ripping my 4 year apart. Thankfully, she didn't get bit this time. I'd almost rather have the damn cars and buses to worry about.
We have the same problem. We have 15 acres in the boonies but our neighbors are irresponsible with their dogs as well. We live almost at the end of a dead end road, and still I won't let them outside alone for very long because I worry about snakes, dogs, coyotes, an occasional bear, etc. I just can't be very far away and feel safe.

I don't know about urban settings and letting them walk to the park; that's just not a part of our reality. Do people really let 3 yos walk to the park alone or with a sibling? That seems really young to me, but like I said, I have no reference to compare to wrt urban settings.
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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We live in a big city, but in a suburban type neighborhood on a short street that ends on a dead end street. That being said, my DS is 5.5 yo and I still won't let him play out front by himself. He goes in the backyard by himself (has since probably 3yo), but would rather play out front because he can ride his scooter up & down the sidewalk. I will leave him out there for a minute or so if I have to run back in for something, but otherwise I'm out there with him.

I'm not sure when I'll let him play out there by himself. Maybe if he were playing with a neighbor kid or something I would let him at about 6 or 7.
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by glitterdaisymom View Post
I don't know why... but I'm seriously on the verge of a panic attack while reading these responses. My mom let my brother and I play outside in our FRONT yard and also go as far down the street as three houses and this is when we lived in California in a not-so-nice part of the city.

I currently live in a sub-urban area of our city in Kansas and I cannot imagine letting our little ones outside by themselves until they're at least 14. I don't know why... I guess I've watch too many of those stories on TV about kidnappings.

Hopefully, I'll change my mind in the next 12 yrs... for my DD's sake.
The thing is, at 14 she'll be at much greater risk of abduction. Teenage girls are abducted more often than anyone else. Next would be adult women, and THEN pre-pubescent children. Have you read Protecting the Gift? I would highly recommend it.
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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Did anyone read "Free Range Kids" by Lenore Skenazy? She is pretty straight-forward and provides statistics to back up her theories. I didn't agree with everything she said but some of it really resonated with me.

My kids are able to play outside by themselves at (almost) 8 and five years old.

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Old 01-21-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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I only read the first page of responses but OMG I feel like a paranoid lunatic. My dd is a normal healthy 2.5 year old and I would never in a million years let her even play on a different level of the house than me much less outside. I think the earliest I would let her play in a completely secured fenced in backyard would be five. I haven't even thought about when I would let her out into the neighborhood ...
Between the lack of impulse control & lack of understanding about so many things in society on a young child's part, crazy freak accidents and all of the uncontrollable things out there a child could encounter like adults, other children, animals, etc. that might mean harm I'd spend the whole time terrified thinking about what could be happening to my kid.

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Old 01-21-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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My daughter has been playing in our fenced, secure backyard somewhat alone (I check every few minutes) since she was 14 months old. If the elementary school across the street had not completely fenced in the playground I would probably be ok with her walking over there to play alone at around 5 or 6 depending on how mature she was. The park about 1/2 a mile from our house she won't be walking to alone till she is at least 9 or 10. That's a flippin busy street to walk along.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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Old 01-21-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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I live rural with a long driveway. My daughter played outside alone but with inside supervision before two. We did fence in a yard because of mountain lion and bear visits but our dogs stick with her and bark if wildlife is any were near. She will wander if she gets a chance but if we stay connected she stays close. We hike a lot out our door so she knows there is fun to be had in the woods. She understood that electric fencing was hot before she was one and could be fully trusted around it by then. She knows to not visit our cows and horses alone. My dogs do not leave her side and that allows me to run in for a minute or two. Kidnapping is my last concern at this point.

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Old 01-22-2010, 11:40 AM
 
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I feel a bit paranoid, too!

I have a 3 year old and an 18 month old that don't play outside alone (or with each other without supervision). We live in a suburban subdivision, 1/4 acre lots, and we are the second house in the subdivision (so every car passes our house). We are 2 houses away from a moderately busy street. Our yard is not fenced.

My 3 year old is prone to wander. Until he was almost 3 (about 4 months ago), he thought it was a game to run away. So, if we played outside, I was within arm's distance of him. All the time. My dh likes to garden, and occasionally, he would tie rope between his belt and ds's belt loops, so that they could garden side by side, without the threat of running. It was BAD.

I'm glad the running days appear to be behind us, but I still don't trust him to not go into the street, to stay close by, or not get into trouble. He's just a mischevious kind of kid.

Because of that, the 18 month old just doesn't get the chance for freedom.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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I just started letting my daughter go outside and play with her cousins who live next door to us... she's 8..
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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sending a 3 yo alone to the park? no way, never. Forget about pedophiles, I'd be more worried about them falling and getting hurt or getting lost. I'd just try to make as much time to go there as possible.

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Old 01-22-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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Five more years of indoor play on sunny days because we are out of bread... it's like a prison sentence. Am I the only one who feels that way?
I know you're just kidding---but is the bread that important? Go out with her for even just an hour, then come in and bake the bread. You'll both feel good.

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Old 01-22-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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I think it depends on both parent's and child's comfort level, as well as your living situation.

We didn't move to our current house, which has a fenced-in yard, until our older dd was 5 and our younger dd was 6 months.

So with my oldest, when she was outside, I was outside (sometimes she did play on the front porch, with the door open so I could see and hear her). Because even though she was very good about staying within boundaries, I worried that with no fence, a lone child would stand out to people driving by, a few of whom might be looking for just such a child.

I'm not so sure that our area has a high rate of child abductions -- but we do live right off an avenue where there's lots of prostitution and drug dealing. Which plays into my unwillingness to let my now 9yo dd go out walking around the neighborhood alone.

She keeps wondering when she'll be old enough for this -- and I'm not sure but what, even when she's a teenager, I might still think it's necessary for her to walk with a group of friends rather than all alone. I just think lone girls are more vulnerable to attack.

With the fenced-in yard, I feel safer about them playing outdoors while I'm sometimes in the house, although they usually still prefer to have me out there with them.

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Old 01-22-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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Well, yeah, that's why I don't let her, but on the other hand, it has to end someday. Someday, it has to be possible for my child to have outdoor activity on the same day we eat roasted meat, or have fresh bread, and I am really, really, REALLY impatient for that day.

There's no way I can wait until nine.

OMG interruption it's midnight here in Germany and I'm looking at a hare hippity hoppitying across the little yard behind our apartments! This is the first time I've seen wildlife here! Squee!

Okay, back to conversation, it seems to me that three is too young, but although I am sad about the six-year-old, there are first-graders who walk a block or two to school. A six-year-old in my elementary school was in a coma after running into the street to get a ball. But it was common for children in southern California (which had a higher crime rate back then, yep higher!) to walk to school at that time.

Does that impulse control usually appear around eight or nine? Hm.

Five more years of indoor play on sunny days because we are out of bread... it's like a prison sentence. Am I the only one who feels that way?
I'm scratching my head over this? Why does baking bread take all day? Go to the park when the bread is rising, come back home bake it and go back again. Use a crockpot for the meat - but in my house roasting meat takes an hour or two tops, why does yours take all day? Heck I'd be more inclined to go to the park with the oven left on then to send my small child there alone. Go play with your kid, they'll be grown before you know it.

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Old 01-23-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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We live in the suburbs in a neighborhood with large lots (ours is almost 2 acres). It is safe and quiet. However, we back up to a large pond, and even with a fenced backyard I won't send my 5 year old out alone. If not for the pond I might do it now. I am not sure when I'll do it.

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Old 01-23-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I live in a very small, safe town. My front yard is fenced in. The only time I let my 3 & 5 yo's out there is if the front door/windows are open and I'm doing something in a room that I can see them from. I usually go play outside with them. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I just don't feel comfortable with them out of my sight yet.

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Old 01-24-2010, 04:52 AM
 
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Not yet. It's the middle of winter now. Last summer they were almost 5 and 2.5. My 5 year old is one (or at least last year he was) who would take off with the bigger kids around here and never look back. And I don't know most of the other parents/kids around here, so I am just not cool with letting them play without me at least in earshot of what is going on.
I DO let them out right outside my back door, right now it is a giant snowhill and DD will sit out there right in our sight for a long time with a shovel and bucket.
Last summer I'd put a bunch of toys out and let them play and make dinner inside, or let them ride bikes up and down the sidewalk sometimes. But we are talking me walking out to check if I could not see them--when they were supposed to be in the yard. Or if I didn't see them riding back in front of the window when I should have. (I have excellent view of this area from a full-length window in the door and another window.)
even the family above us sometimes our boys are a good combo, sometimes he picks on my kid. I've gotten so I don't want them alone together because of what I've seen. (not that it's THAT bad, typical kid stuff, but I don't want this kid getting away with bullying my son. And my kid is the type who won't do anything back--not that he SHOULD, or even that I WANT him to, but he is the kind of kid who's well, a little easier to pick on probably because he WON'T speak up. We need to work on that before I'll feel more confident letting him have more independence, and before he goes to school.)

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