What are your rules for your kids being out of your house? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 04-25-2009, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 10 year old and we're moving in a month (YAY!) from a high rise to a little rowhouse. For the first time in years my son will be able to just open the door and go outside to play. We're also getting a dog (little, so not a protector) and I'd love to be able to send them out together so they can both get some exercise.

So, my question is -- what are your rules at that age for when and how long your kids can go out for, how far they could go, etc . . . I'm moving from a neighborhood where kids are constantly supervised and scheduled to a neighborhood I think is probably going to be more relaxed, and I'm really hoping to be a little more relaxed too. But I'd also not sure we're ready for the open the door in the morning, be back when the street lights come on type situation -- I'd like some kind of structure.

I'd love to hear some reflection on the type of neighborhood you're in, whether there are other kids outside (this makes a difference to me) too.
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#2 of 20 Old 04-25-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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we moved from a townhouse with just a small backyard to a house with a huge park right behind our house. Our rules are-my 14, 11 and 7 yo are allowed at the park without me as long as i have an idea who is there (I don't have to know every single kid, but there are a couple troublemakers that I prefer they not be out there with without me, also sometimes much older high school kids hang out there and take over the equipment that happens rarely but I still look out there, size it up lol and they can go) After school we almost always all go, my 4 yo gets to play also that way. After about an hour I go in with her to start dinner and the older 3 get to play out till dinner time. Other days, they come in, do homework first, clean rooms etc first. My main rule of being out is 'stay at the park!' if they want to go ask if a friend can come out to play, they need to come home and ask. If i look out and they are not where they are supposed to be, they all come in. They are very good about following this rule because they know i mean business

We live in army housing in a nice neighborhood

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#3 of 20 Old 04-25-2009, 03:15 PM
 
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My kids have almost the same freedom to roam that I did. They are 14, 12 and 7
I live in a safe 60's ranch house neighborhood with playgrounds, Little League fields, lots of kids and friendly neighbors. Many of us work mother's hours, work from home or are stay at home parents. We all know and trust each other. For the most part, our doors are open to each others kids. We all agree that a parent must be home for kids to play inside. It's great. My house and yard are less than ideal but I LOVE my neighborhood. I often have 1/2 a dozen kids at once. Other times, they're all at someone else's house.
My rules are if they go off the block, I need to know. If they are going to play inside, I need to know who's house. Stay out of the creek unless a grown up or older teen sibling is there. We used to have a family that smoked inside their house and I wouldn't allow my kids to play inside. They also had a tramp w/out a net. I don't allow that.
Our city is very bike and pedestrian friendly. We have a great bus system. My older 2 have the freedom to meet friends for movies, tea, whatever. They take the city bus or bike home from school. So long as they are meeting their responsibilities, they are free to take their time coming home. I insist on knowing exactly what their plans are, who they are with and be able to reach them on phones.
I am a stickler for these rules and being on time. Being late has to involve calling me and a really good reason.
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#4 of 20 Old 04-26-2009, 02:14 AM
 
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We just moved from a 400-inhabitants-village in Germany to a several-millions-city in China, but we live in a secured expat compound there.
My youngest one (5y) is allowed to ride his bike on a defined "circle route" around our house, the others are allowed on the bike in the whole compound. I insist on knowing if they go to anyone's house and really try to meet the parents in the house (sometimes, there is just the "ayi" / nanny present).
I am still working on agreements with my daughter (15y) who is allowed to go to other compounds by taxi (that's the way it works here). With her, it is sometimes hard to track who she is with - she is too old for me to know all of her classmates e. g.. Our basic rule is "where - who - when", she has a cell phone with her and I try to have her friend's phone # as a back-up.

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#5 of 20 Old 04-26-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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I have a 10 yr old. Here is what she is allowed to do.

If I can see her from our property - she can go anywhere, for any length of time.

If she wants to leave my sight - she must tell me where she is going, and when she will be back. We agree on when she should be back (store: 20 minutes, library - an hour, etc). If she wants an extension, she can call me. Otherwise, I would hop on my bike and go find her.

If she justs wants to roam (say, a bike ride) she needs to check back in every 20 minutes. Up until very recently, she was only allowed to go up to 3 blocks, but now I think I would let her go anywhere in our (very small) village.

Last thougth - I probably would not let you DS take the dog out of your sight at first. Even small dogs can get loose on a 10 year old - and then he would end up chasing the dog out of bounds, and feeling guilty, and you would probably end up dog chasing too - yeah, I have btdt

Congrats on the move!

Kathy
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#6 of 20 Old 04-26-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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My 11 yo dd and 9 yo ds are currently out on their bikes and they will be riding at least a couple of miles to get to the downtown pedestrian mall and buy themselves a burrito. My 11 year old rides either the bus or her bike to school and back which is close to downtown also. She has a cell phone and keeps me in informed of where she is and what she is doing. I live in the same town as chiromamma, and have similar requirements, and I feel secure that they will be fine exploring their environment with these in place. My 11 yo is a very responsible kid which helps ease my nerves!

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#7 of 20 Old 04-26-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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Well mine is different, we live in AZ and our neighborhood does NOT have sidwalks so... my 6 and 8 yr old can play in the driveway... if they want to scooter or bike down the street someone really needs to go with them. Because this is AZ our backyard is block fenced in and they can pretty much be out there whenever they want to. We have a huge playland, toys etc. My little kids are in and out all day long. We dont have pets but I agree with monitoring the dog situation for now.

Also when you first move in you may want to take the first month or so and just go out with your son, bike or walk with him, check out the area, SHOW him where he can and can't go etc...

The other thing we did is get to know the neighbors and introduce our kids to them. Kinda like 'johnny if you have a problem you can always go to ms janes house or mr marks house'.
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#8 of 20 Old 04-26-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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I live in a familyish neighborhood in Austin and my ds (9) is allowed to run the neighborhood as long as he checks in with me every so often (every couple of hours or if he's going to someone's house) and has his cellphone on him.
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#9 of 20 Old 04-26-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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We live in an apartment complex in Hong Kong.

My dd (now 13) has been taking the public bus to and from her secondary school since she was 11. She gets to her after school activities (Mandarin tutorial & field hockey) by herself. For the field hockey she usually shares a taxi w/ other girls on her way to the pitch & usually takes a bus home from there.

If she wants to do things outside her normal schedule (for example, meet friends on a Friday afternoon and go to shops or skating) she needs to tell us of her plan ahead of time.

We plan to have DS (now 11) have the same freedom when he starts secondary school this fall.

If they are going to a friend or neighbor's house who we don't know - we want to speak to the responsible adult first (or as soon as they arrive). But for 1 neighbor, our son and their son pretty much go back and forth at will. They live downstairs and we've been neighbors for ~ 3 years and our sons play together daily.
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#10 of 20 Old 04-27-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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We live in a small town, my kids, (all 15) can go anywhere around here. They do carry phones to let me know if they are changing locations/plans. They have been able to do this since they were 12. I think it has a lot to do with where we live though. When we lived in Florida, my kids were only in the fenced front yard without me.

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#11 of 20 Old 04-27-2009, 08:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by redveg View Post
We live in a small town, my kids, (all 15) can go anywhere around here. They do carry phones to let me know if they are changing locations/plans. They have been able to do this since they were 12. I think it has a lot to do with where we live though. When we lived in Florida, my kids were only in the fenced front yard without me.
At first I thought you had 15 kids...LOL!
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#12 of 20 Old 04-27-2009, 08:46 AM
 
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We live in an apartment and have lots of kids around. My rules for ds are:

He is never to go into anyone's home - he has one friend he can play inside her house, but he knows he must ask and get permission first.

He must stay within earshot - we've actually walked around and he knows the area where he can hear me when I call him.

I still check on him every 20 mins or so - mostly because he's accident prone and I want to make sure he's not hurt or needing me. There has been more than one occasion of a skinned knee that needed to be taken care of.

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#13 of 20 Old 04-27-2009, 10:44 AM
 
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The big ones are I must know where they are. They should be with atleast one other person. They should take the kids' shared cell phone with them. I prefer that they play across the street in a big group of kids where I can see them and there is usually another mom or dad out there. (That's mainly for my 10 year old)
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#14 of 20 Old 04-27-2009, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it's really interesting that a while ago I posted a question in Learning At School about kids getting home from school and felt as though people thought I was neglectful because I suggested that maybe, when he's in 6th grade and 11 1/2, my son might be ready to walk from his school to mine (6 city blocks) or ride the subway from the bus stop to his Tae Kwon Do (2 stops, no transfers). And here you guys are letting your kids go all over town.

I wonder if part of this is the difference between being the parent of a 4 year old and thinking "my little one will never be ready to leave me" and the parent of an 11 year old who looks at their child and says -- "You know, I wasn't sure this day would come, but he is ready. I can really trust him to take care of himself".
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#15 of 20 Old 04-28-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Momily View Post
I think it's really interesting that a while ago I posted a question in Learning At School about kids getting home from school and felt as though people thought I was neglectful because I suggested that maybe, when he's in 6th grade and 11 1/2, my son might be ready to walk from his school to mine (6 city blocks) or ride the subway from the bus stop to his Tae Kwon Do (2 stops, no transfers). And here you guys are letting your kids go all over town.

I wonder if part of this is the difference between being the parent of a 4 year old and thinking "my little one will never be ready to leave me" and the parent of an 11 year old who looks at their child and says -- "You know, I wasn't sure this day would come, but he is ready. I can really trust him to take care of himself".

MDC can be funny sometimnes.

It can come down to wording (I find a tiny word change in the OP can change most of the replies), or the forum you post on.

As per your scenario - it depends on the city, the busy roads, and the 11.5 yr old in question.

I think it is highly probable I would let an 11.5 year do as you described.
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#16 of 20 Old 04-28-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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My 12 and 13 yr olds have to check in w/me every 30 min or so. They both have cell phones so a call or text is sufficient. I still do not want them gone for hours at a time. We lived in a gated neighborhood so they're usually somewhere in the neighborhood. On occassion they visit 2 of the other adjoining neighborhoods and that's fine. This is all within a mile radius.

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#17 of 20 Old 08-17-2009, 06:43 AM
 
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Interesting discussion is going out there. Thanks a lot for sharing such an useful information. Hope i would enjoy being here.
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#18 of 20 Old 08-17-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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We live in a fairly typical suburban neighborhood in Vermont. Our kids are 8, 10, 10 & 12. We have a *very loud* cow bell mounted on our front door. The kids are allowed within "bell-range" anytime without informing us where they're going. "Bell-range" includes the park down the street. If they want to go outside of bell-range, they have to let us know where they're going, who they will be with and when they'll be back. The regularly ride their bikes the 4 miles into the village to go to the library, coffee house, general store, etc. They don't carry a cell-phone.

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#19 of 20 Old 08-20-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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We live in a semi-rural town of 1500. My kids are 13 and 11. They're allowed to go anywhere in town as long as they tell me where they're going and for how long. If we lived in a city I'd probably want them to give me more specific locations and time schedules but here it doesn't really matter, as there are really only about four places they could be. We don't get a cell phone signal up here so once they're out of the house, they are OUT OF THE HOUSE.
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#20 of 20 Old 08-20-2009, 03:08 PM
 
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We have always lived in residential suburban areas, in a few different cities. The general rule is that I had to know where they were - if they were going to visit a friend, I needed to know which friend and they couldn't move on from there without letting me know. When they were age 10, I was pretty comfortable if they wanted to play in the park playground across the street from our house on their own.

By age 12, ds was taking public transit (bus and subway) to school rather than the school bus (which is for babies, ya know!).

Now, at age 16, he's fairly independent, but still good about letting me know where he is and who he is with. He goes to all-day rock concerts and music festivals on his own.

I like mobile phones to help keep in touch. We've been pretty careful to explain that they are not a security device - they don't prevent danger - so don't rely on them for safety. They are helpful for communication and reassurance though.
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