Do people make their kids go outside anymore? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 85 Old 10-04-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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We don't force it but they are outside for at least half the day biking and playing lately.

My pet peeve is when we visit friend's houses that enforce that rule on my children. Especially on really hot summer days. Especially when my kids are so excited to play with their friends indoor toys. Visits over there are few and far between partly because of this. I think it is rude to make visiting kids stay outside (unless it is neighbor kids of course!)
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#62 of 85 Old 10-04-2010, 11:20 PM
 
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It is hot where I live 8 months out of the year...and we go outside every single day. Always. Unless it is raining cats and dogs ALL day. If it's very hot, we go out early or late. The yard is partly shaded and the kids hang in the shade, or we get out the kiddie pool and hose. If there is shade, they never complain. They love to be outside.

We do make it interesting, Our yard is FUN, with swings, a trapeze, a tree fort, a sand area, balls, toys, a small climber, etc. The kids catch bugs and look at them, garden, make fairy houses, play hide and seek, collect berries, chalk the patio, paint on the patio with water., the works. We have a big rotting stump that is fun to hack apart and look for bugs in. The yard is also not sterile or manicured...there are thick bushes, secret spots, tall grass, and piles of brush. I look at some of these yards that are just open, perfect grass and mature trees and I know why the kids don't play there. Kids need hidey holes and wild spots.

There is certainly an hour before or after dinner where the sun is low and it is cooler, no matter where you live. Weather is not an excuse, IMO. Our water bottles come out with us, we avoid 12-2, but we are OUT.

DS is still a bit too young to kick outdoors alone or with his sister, but I am champing at the bit for the day when I can send them both out without me. (This will probably be when he's late 3/early 4.) I certainly do send DD outside alone if the opportunity arises, but she very rarely needs more than a bit of encouragement.

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#63 of 85 Old 10-04-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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Read Freakonomics and you'll find another reason the world is safer (or at least certain countries are)... Not to start a religious debate, but they have a very good point!
. Very true. In terms of crime, our country is much safer now than it was one hundred years ago and yet people here live in constant fear. I know so many parents who do not let their kids play outside because of the fear of child molesters. When in reality, their (our) kids have much higher chance dying in the car accident than being molested by a stranger. The real problem here is not the increasing amount of child molesters but the absence of pedestrian friendly habitat. Let's face it, living places in this country (I can't really call them cities or towns, because they are not) are designed to accommodate cars not the people. Suburbs where the majority of the people live, have no accommodations for pedestrians. Sidewalks are almost non-existent and even if they are there, they do not lead to anything. All points of interests for our children (e.g. parks, play grounds, libraries and museums) are miles apart. How do you get there except by a car? What a horrible environment to live in. I ask myself every day, why would people do this to their beautiful country? How and why those awful suburbs came into existence? You do not see these things anywhere else in the world (except Canada, perhaps)
Not everyone has single home with big yard; we don't. We live in the townhouse community where all we have is the parking lot. I WOULD LOVE TO SEND MY KID OUTSIDE by herself, when is older but where would she go??? Playing in the parking lot is not very appealing thing and we have major highways all around us with no sidewalks. I actually mourn my daughter's childhood here, in the US; she would never know the exhilarating feeling of independence, freedom and discovery that I had experienced growing up.
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#64 of 85 Old 10-05-2010, 04:31 AM
 
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. Very true. In terms of crime, our country is much safer now than it was one hundred years ago and yet people here live in constant fear. I know so many parents who do not let their kids play outside because of the fear of child molesters. When in reality, their (our) kids have much higher chance dying in the car accident than being molested by a stranger. The real problem here is not the increasing amount of child molesters but the absence of pedestrian friendly habitat. Let's face it, living places in this country (I can't really call them cities or towns, because they are not) are designed to accommodate cars not the people. Suburbs where the majority of the people live, have no accommodations for pedestrians. Sidewalks are almost non-existent and even if they are there, they do not lead to anything. All points of interests for our children (e.g. parks, play grounds, libraries and museums) are miles apart. How do you get there except by a car? What a horrible environment to live in. I ask myself every day, why would people do this to their beautiful country? How and why those awful suburbs came into existence? You do not see these things anywhere else in the world (except Canada, perhaps)
Not everyone has single home with big yard; we don't. We live in the townhouse community where all we have is the parking lot. I WOULD LOVE TO SEND MY KID OUTSIDE by herself, when is older but where would she go??? Playing in the parking lot is not very appealing thing and we have major highways all around us with no sidewalks. I actually mourn my daughter's childhood here, in the US; she would never know the exhilarating feeling of independence, freedom and discovery that I had experienced growing up.
I hear ya'!

i grew up in a small town in the US, down the street from a park and roamed all over town on my bike or on foot at a very young age. No one in my hometown lets their kids do that anymore. Plus, most people have left the old leafy neighborhoods in the town itself and live in McMansions built on cow pastures with no sidewalks and from which you have to drive to get to any thing.

I'm so glad I'm raising my son in Europe. He can have the kind of childhood I had in the 70s and 80s in the US -- biking, roaming, being free, exploring without adults hovering all the time. I miss the US *a lot* but not the strip mall, driving everywhere, hyper-vigilant aspect of childhood these days.
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#65 of 85 Old 10-05-2010, 05:21 AM
 
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living places in this country (I can't really call them cities or towns, because they are not)
Settlements.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#66 of 85 Old 10-05-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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Over the summer if DS1 was getting on my nerves the stock phrase was "GO. OUTSIDE. NOW!!" It would still be my stock phrase except he has a broken leg which is severely limiting his mobility... and its wet and cold and rainy lately (it is october now, I suppose...), so we've mostly been stuck inside and will be for the next while Cause' by the time he gets his cast off it'll be winter (mid dec), and going outside will be a lot more limited due to snow, cold, wet, etc than it is now... :sigh:
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#67 of 85 Old 10-05-2010, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Over the summer if DS1 was getting on my nerves the stock phrase was "GO. OUTSIDE. NOW!!" It would still be my stock phrase except he has a broken leg which is severely limiting his mobility... and its wet and cold and rainy lately (it is october now, I suppose...), so we've mostly been stuck inside and will be for the next while Cause' by the time he gets his cast off it'll be winter (mid dec), and going outside will be a lot more limited due to snow, cold, wet, etc than it is now... :sigh:
Aw, poor little guy.
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#68 of 85 Old 10-06-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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As others have said, crime rates are very low. The difference is that media coverage of those crimes are very high. Car rides and swimming pools are far more dangerous than playing outside.
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#69 of 85 Old 10-06-2010, 03:27 PM
 
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Sorry, only read the first page. On a time-crunch LOL

In the summer, my DD1 (6.5 years) is outside for about 10-11 hours a day. She is free-range. She even will eat her meals outside. DD2 (4.5 years) is usually outside in the summer for about 4-5 hours a day. She doesn't have as much freedom as DD1. She can go anywhere with DD1, but hardly anywhere by herself.

During the spring, because of school, they are usually out for about 3 hours on a weekday.

During the fall and winter, DD2 likes to stay in. DD1 will still go out, but not for as long, and usually only if there are other kids out. I try to encourage outdoor time in the fall and winter, and if I "kick" them out, they can usually find something to do, like look for bugs, leaves, acorns, cool sticks, pretty rocks, etc. even if other children aren't out.

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#70 of 85 Old 10-06-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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OP here
I actually meant this: If you have a safe neighborhood and a fenced in yard and a window that you can keep checking the kids- do you think its mean to make them go out?
My kids play outside every day, but they mostly want to be by my side constantly. They go in and out every 5 minutes. I very rarely put the tv on and Im alone with 3 kids from 6AM-9PM every day.
I want to enforce a 1/2 hour time of no in and out unless they need the bathroom. I guess I'm just looking for some reactions on this because I feel a little guilty forcing them.
I think that enforcing maximums (television, computer, sweets, etc.) and minimums (reading, playing outside, vegetables, etc.) is a good thing. They kinda go hand-in-hand.

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#71 of 85 Old 10-06-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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My kids always want to go out
We are fortunate that despite living in the city we have a great street with a boulevard. We have TONS of kiddos who are out there playing. They all kind of look out for each other, and the parents do too. Plus we all like to hang out and talk while the kids are playing. We are lucky to have a fenced in backyard that both kids can play in safely. It's nice to be making dinner and having them in eyeshot! DS is 8 so he can pretty much roam about in our neighborhood without me needing to watch him. There have been times when he's "bored" or driving me crazy and I do order him out! Can't do that with DD yet though.

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#72 of 85 Old 10-06-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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No, I don't send my 11 and 9 year olds to go play outside by themselves. I don't think it's safe to do so. Not only do we live in Florida, where we sometimes have alligators blocking the streets when I go to drive out of my community, but a 13 year old shot and killed his mother (there were legal guns in the house, it is being publicized as an accident as of now) about a block and a half up the street, less than 2 months ago. We live in an upscale, gated community in an affluent, smaller city with a very low crime rate (one of the lowest in the state).

There are sex offenders listed on the registry all over this town, and in the places we have lived, there were always 1 or 2 sex offenders who committed something against someone under the age of 12 within half of a mile of our house. I have two male relatives (not related to each other, who grew up in different countries) who were both molested by neighbors (one know, one unknown - ie. a stranger) when they were between 5 & 7 years of age.

I don't care how supposedly low the crime rates are. I don't believe those numbers matter, because stuff happens and I prefer to be extra vigilant and reduce the possibility of these things happening to my children as much as I can.

Instead, my husband and I take the children to parks, parties, events, pools, ourselves. We get together with friends, set up playdates, invite children over with their parents (or good friends over without their parents) and my children get oodles of outside time, supervised. When we have had a fully fenced backyard, the children were free to play outside all day long, if they wanted, within the gated & padlocked, fully fenced backyard. Out front, roaming the neighborhood without us present? Nope. Both DH and I have always been happy to sit out on our driveway in a lawn chair reading a book while the children ride their bikes or throw balls in the front yard, though.
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#73 of 85 Old 10-06-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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I would do it now if our yard was safer. We have no fence (and it's too expensive to get one now), and live on a very busy street. My 18mo loves cars and makes a mad dash for the street whenever he can. And the back border of our yard is a stream. I let them go outside when I can plainly see them, but I pretty much have to stand by the door and watch to make sure they don't go too far towards either the front of the back of our yard.

When they're older and can be trusted not to run into the road or drown themselves in the stream, I have dreams of telling them to get outside for an hour or two a day and I don't want to see them until dinner. I think it's good for them. I'm just not sure how old that would be. 7? 8? So long as they're together? In a way, the stream will ALWAYS pose a risk (I mean, it has slippery rocks in it... I could easily fall and hit my head and drown if I weren't careful), but if they're all playing together then I think one would be able to come get me if there's an emergency.
This was how our yard was up north, we had a creek with a very slippery slope, and an old Indian dam in it, so it was rocky and mucky. We also had no gate, but we did have a lot of brush. My son had the boundaries down pat by 4. We had easy landmarks for some, and the rest we put up rebar poles and tied the fluorescent string like they use in construction to mark others - it was just what we had on hand. It taught him not to hit the plants as well as not to go past this point, and to stay back from the electric fence. He and his sister went out all day, except she came in to pee, and I would bring out lunch and we at together out there. Of course, they would be filthy, plus I didn't want chicken poop tracked in.

Where we live now, we have some problems with speeders and we don't have a sidewalk or shoulder on the road. But my kids go out all the time. We have a nice large fenced in backyard - that they hate. It was laid with sod at one point and the quality stinks so it's all picky. They play in the front, and we have a line that they aren't to cross without stopping and looking no matter what. We are far from both corners so at 8 & 10, they can go retrieve a ball after checking for traffic. We also go for a lot for walks which gives them practice for being aware of traffic since we have nowhere but the road to walk.
As far as predators, I have taught my children from an early age to listen to their gut. If they feel uncomfortable fr any reason, I have always respected that so they have a strong ability to cue in to their sense of safety. The more it is used, the stronger and more reliable it is. I didn't hand them over as babies unless they wanted to go. Now, if they don't like someone, I listen. I feel confident that they will cue in to the hairs on the back of their neck etc. when someone wrong is around.

I refuse to perpetuate fear. Smarts, planning etc., but I want my kids to live and feel confident. I am almost always with them anyway, but still

Heather, mama to Harriet, Crispin, in with Tom and 2
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#74 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 07:40 AM
 
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I haven't read all 4 pages.
Yes, I do. Not by actual force, but a little arm-twisting.
OP, I have your enviornment - reasonably quiet neighborhood with no heavy traffic, sidewalks, no gate but bushes around front and back with an opening on each to the sidewalk in front and the soccer field and playground in back.

During the week they are in daycare and school, which means they are outside A LOT (schools here are big into outside play as opposed to sitting at desks, esp. for the first years, say 4th grade). So when they are home from school, in spring/summer/fall we are also outside 50%.

During the weekends, we are also out. I don't have a set rule, but if they have been inside quite a while, esp. if playing on the computer, then after a point, I make it outside activities. They have choices - the small or big playground, the playhouse out back, gardening, a walk.... but all the choices are outside.

But.... and I think this is a big but... that doesn't mean they have to be out, while I am allowed to be in. Usually they want to be with me, and if they are out and I am in, they would come in every 5 minutes. So I go out to the playgound with them. FWIW: this has nothing to do with safety. Occasionally they are ok being outside by themselves, even going down to the local playground.... and I am fine with that - then I can get some things done in the house and just check up on them every 30min or so. But, they usually prefer that I am with them outside.

Sometimes I am able to be outside with them the first half hour, then they are engrossed in an activity and at that point I can go in and they will continue on their own for a while. Sometimes this lasts 5 minutes, sometimes 30 min, sometimes an hour or more. Seems directly related to how much attention they have gotten from me immediately prior and how "filled up" they feel.

For example, if I am outside with them but reading a magazine while they play, and then I go inside, they seem to be back inside in 5 or 10 minutes, wanting my attention again. But if I go out with them and am directly involved in their play - I have a tea party with DD, then play hide and seek with DS and disect a dead snail... then when I go in, they are already "filled up", so they play by themselves another half hour or hour more, before coming in.
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#75 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 08:13 AM
 
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There is certainly an hour before or after dinner where the sun is low and it is cooler, no matter where you live. Weather is not an excuse, IMO. Our water bottles come out with us, we avoid 12-2, but we are OUT.
Bolded mine. I disagree. Some people get physically sick being out in the heat. There *are* medical conditions that are exacerbated by being outside when when it is very hot and humid. Where I live it gets very hot and very humid at the same time. Weather IS an excuse... a very valid one.
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#76 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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Yes, I make my kids go outside. Although at their ages, I rarely have to actually "make" them, since they almost always want to be out there. My mom made us go outside just about every day, from preschool on up, and it was good for us.

Most of the time when they are outdoors, I am with them, sometimes just sitting out there reading a book. They play in the sand or swingset daily. Once or twice a week, I take them for a hike in the woods behind our house.

We live in a rural area, with a large unfenced yard. The few cars we get on our road are usually going very fast, so I am almost always out there with them, even though their play area is a long way from the road. I have a straight line of sight out the window from the kitchen.

The thing I worry about the most is toddler DS getting run over in the driveway, which is not far from their play area (our driveway connects to two other houses). DD is very protective of him and will restrain him if he tries to go somewhere he shouldn't, but I still don't leave them out there in the yard without me for more than a couple minutes.

I will however, let them play on our completely fenced front porch for long periods of time, checking on them through the window often. The porch has a roof so I can send them out there to play even when it's raining.

In the summer, we tend to avoid the outdoors between 10 and 4, since it's so hot and humid, but the rest of the year, we are outside a good portion of the day.

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Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”
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#77 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 09:21 AM
 
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Bolded mine. I disagree. Some people get physically sick being out in the heat. There *are* medical conditions that are exacerbated by being outside when when it is very hot and humid. Where I live it gets very hot and very humid at the same time. Weather IS an excuse... a very valid one.
You know, I'm actually glad we live in the north, because I agree that sometimes it really is too hot to do anything, health-wise. But cold-wise, it has to get really, really unusually cold (like Siberian winter cold) for us to stay inside.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#78 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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Bolded mine. I disagree. Some people get physically sick being out in the heat. There *are* medical conditions that are exacerbated by being outside when when it is very hot and humid. Where I live it gets very hot and very humid at the same time. Weather IS an excuse... a very valid one.
Yep. I have pretty bad heat intolerance, due to a medical condition (a neurological problem), and pretty bad cold intolerance, due to another medical condition (a circulatory problem). I still go out as much as I can, but when it is very hot or very cold I can't last as long as I'd like to.

And twilight is when the mosquitoes come out. They're not a problem where we are now (as I can put up with a few bites a day), but when we lived in Florida we'd be eaten alive if we went out at twilight, and as my DD & I both have a pretty strong reaction, it would make us miserable for days afterward.
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#79 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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It is one of my biggest regrets of dd's childhood that she doesn't feel comfortable playing outside without one of her parents there. She is 9. Her refusal to go outside and ride her bike or scooter (safe neighborhood with sidewalks) frustrates me to no end.

The exception is on the rare snowy day. If there is snow, she's outside. She's not waiting around for mom. But it only snows here 1-2x/year, at most!
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#80 of 85 Old 10-07-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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I firmly believe that my kids need a minimum amout of outside time every day. They are only 18 mos and 5 (3 weeks from today!). I will send my almost 5 year old out front. She is behind a locked iron fence over 5 feet with pointy tips. And we make sure she can always be seen from the front window. Sunday was a perfect example of how I could see it was time to go out. So, we got on our gear and headed outside! An hour minimum.

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#81 of 85 Old 10-09-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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It's a beautiful day but my kids want to stay inside and read books and play Lego. I'm housebound, then, sadly. I understand those who have apartments and long for space. We have a house but a wee wee yard.

My mom used to send us outside to play and we'd be gone all day, my brother and I. But I recall - there were more places to explore. We'd go to a nearby forest, climb trees, run through farmer's fields, go down to a construction site (forbidden!) and watch the machines. Well, now those fields and forests are gone. The kids are happy to much around outside but I think they get just as much pleasure curling up with a book.

We do activities (hiking, soccer, swimming) but that usual involves driving somewhere.
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#82 of 85 Old 10-11-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Well, of course if it's actually medically dangerous for you, don't go outside when it's hot. But I feel average, healthy people are often very wimpy about heat (or cold). Shade, water, go early or late. There is just no reason to stay inside all day every day because it's hot. It is often 98 degrees and 98% humidity here. Out we go. Do we run laps in the full sun at noon? Of course not, but there is a lot of time in the day. If you have a yard, you have so much freedom to find a way. Go out for 20 minutes! When you're hot, come in and have a popsicle. Then go out for another 20 minutes at dusk.

My kids do get bitten up sometimes, as do I. We put on anti-itch cream if it bothers them, or we use bug spray. I have had people tsk at me about my kids' bites. I really just....pffft. They need the fresh air and exercise. When I see a dirty kid whose legs are covered in bug bites, bruises and scratches, I know they are having a fun, active childhood.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#83 of 85 Old 10-11-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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My oldest is 6 and this is the first year she has been allowed to play outside by herself. We live in a 4-plex with no fenced yard and on a street used as an ambulance route(infrequent very fast traffic) Our youngest is not allowed yet, since she still tries to run out onto the street. Last year, they were allowed to play outside in the yard(kicked outside as much as possible!) since we had a large fenced yard with lots of shade.
If we lived an an acreage like I did as a kid, I would feel comfortable letting hem play outside by themselves.

waiting on the power of the three wolf moon. 
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#84 of 85 Old 10-11-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by loraxc View Post
Well, of course if it's actually medically dangerous for you, don't go outside when it's hot. But I feel average, healthy people are often very wimpy about heat (or cold).
I happily resemble that remark. I don't like anything above 80...but I will grin and bear it up to 90.
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#85 of 85 Old 10-11-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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When I see a dirty kid whose legs are covered in bug bites, bruises and scratches, I know they are having a fun, active childhood.
Our last doctor said that to me. "She's got a lot of tiny little scrapes. Looks like she's outside playing a lot!" I was happy because she is. Part of life!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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