Do people make their kids go outside anymore? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom used to say to us kids "Outside time, go outside".
We just didnt have a choice. We would play or just sulk around out there, but stayed out till she called us in. It was probably for about 1hr every day.
I ask my kids 5 and 7 if they want to play outside every day. Sometimes they do, but other times they just say they dont want to. I kind of like the idea of it not being a choice, but feel like it would cause a power struggle and I'd have to yell or force them.
Does anyone have a strict outdoor time rule?
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#2 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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I don't have any kind of strict outdoor time, but I do kick the kids out at times when they are driving me crazier . No, but really - they love playing outside (riding bikes, playing on the swingset, running, digging, skateboarding, etc.), so it's not an issue with them wanting to stay indoors. It probably helps that we don't have cable (or even PBS), and the wii is broken. They have 1/2 an acre to get their energy out.

My mom said when she was a kid (born in 1950), my grandma would send them outside all day long - only coming in to eat and use the bathroom. That way they were in her hair and she could cook and clean.

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#3 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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My kids are young but it bothers me that I don't see kids your children's ages outside. I think that a lot of people think children that age can't play outside alone. When we were those ages, it was home, small snack, then get out of the house and I don't want to see you until dinner but you better be back before street lights are on.

Right now, after nap and snack, we go outside to the park every day unless we have a "field trip" planned (they are one and three, LOL, so really it's just an excursion, but you get the point). I do not plan on spending that time minding them when they are five and seven!

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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#4 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Well, my kids are 4 (today!) and 7... I let my 7 year old out in a confined area (where I can see him from my doorstep at all times) and my 4 year old DOES NOT go outside without me, period. Yes, we were allowed to run the neighborhood when we were children but I don't trust people the way my mother did. The world is getting more dangerous by the minute and I will not just allow my children to run the neighborhood and hope they don't get hurt/kidnapped/molested/etc... However, generally my son stays in his boundaries quite well and I don't worry too much about him. I check about every 15 minutes or so just to make sure he is following rules, etc. My 4 year old watches cartoons in the morning while I clean up the house, then she spends most of the day in the front yard playing with the neighbor kids around the same age while I am on the porch keeping an eye on her. I imagine as DD gets a bit older I will allow her outside more by herself... but I don't just kick them out of the house... It's their house too and I think they should have some say when they want to be indoors. However, we usually have the opposite problem... they ALWAYS want to be outside, even when they really shouldn't/can't.

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#5 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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I don't need to make them. They are always begging to go out. They'd much rather be out riding bikes or digging in the dirt.

My oldest two are the only ones outside by themselves though. We don't have a fence and the other three would wander the streets with no care. Usually they go next door and play in the fenced area at mils with the older two at least a few times a week and we go out to playgrounds and such.

We homeschool and limit tv and computer and they have no game consoles.
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#6 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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The world is getting more dangerous by the minute
Actually, crime rates across the western world are lower than they've been in at least thirty years, and that includes, but is not limited to, crimes against children.

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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#7 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Actually, crime rates across the western world are lower than they've been in at least thirty years, and that includes, but is not limited to, crimes against children.
Yep.
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#8 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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My oldest (almost 9) I do send out- even when she doesn't really WANT to go out. She would live indoors and on plastic if she could, she just isn't an outside kind of kid, but she NEEDS the fresh air and exercise. Even when she protests, after she's been out for a couple minutes she loves it and I have to remind her to come in several times.

The younger two are too little to go out without me being *right* there with them- they are only 1 and 2, but by the time they are 4/5 they will be allowed out in a fenced yard, and since they are rambunctious/boisterous sorts, I will ABSOLUTELY tell them to take it outside. In fact, I look forward to that time with great longing as I will then be able to have a cup of tea without excessive interruption.

I am well aware of the dangers, but I am also a realist. I worry more about my oldest being abducted at this point than I do the younger kids. She is very naive, so I do keep close track of her, but she needs to learn how to keep herself safe as she's getting old enough that I can not be there every moment.
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#9 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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I wish I could force mine outside! In the summer here it was just too hot, but now that it is cooling down I beg them to go outside! We have a big fenced backyard with a playground, cars/bikes, sand table, but they never want to stay out! They will come in and out and in and out until they just want to stay inside. And inside they just hang around... it's really annoying. They won't play outside, and they won't play with the toys that they have inside either.

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#10 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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Mine is 3.5 so I don't "send" him out, but most days I take him out for an hour or more a day. I feel it's very important, but some days after 10 minutes he asks to go back in. When he does I try once to keep him out "Hey, do you see that stick? It looks like a weed whacker!" but if he's really not into we go in.

I also let him go out on our deck to play with his little basketball hoop or whatever he wants to do...on the deck only! It is a low deck (2 feet up) and I can hear him from the kitchen/family room and see him very easily if I want to. He'll choose to go out there alone every other day or so, in addition to our hour+ outside together (our neighborhood or a park).

We'll be homeschooling and I plan for us to be out 1+ hour a day forever! Most of the day on some days when we're doing homeschool stuff outside!

But no, there will never be a rule. DS is screen free and doesn't have leapfrog or electronic (even battery) toys. Sticks outside are pretty darn cool to him. When he's older and we introduce/allow some screen time, I hope he'll have developed such a connection/interest in nature that he won't be pulled inside (too much) by electronics!

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#11 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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In decent weather, my 8-year-old is outside very very frequently. She's spent very little time playing inside if the weather is nice. And it's been like that for at least 2 years, so she's been playing outside out of my sight for a long time. I am not worried for her safety. She's fine out there and has a blast. I don't force it but I do encourage it.
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#12 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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We are blessed to have a big, fenced backyard and my kids spend a lot of time out there. In fact, they were out there playing in the water yesterday (yep, October and it was 97 here ). We home school and sometimes do school out there, they go out for breaks between subjects, they eat out there half the time, either on the deck or the lawn (my house stays so clean in the summer!). I almost never 'force' them to go out, but there have been a few times they've been strongly encouraged when I just needed a few minutes peace and quiet!

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#13 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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i sure do. the older one drives me crazy at times, the 5 year old plays in the back with the dogs
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#14 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Actually, crime rates across the western world are lower than they've been in at least thirty years, and that includes, but is not limited to, crimes against children.
Not in my neighborhood... regardless, I am still not comfortable just sending my 4 and 7 year old out without plenty of supervision. I am sorry but I see too many children around my neighborhood that DO... might explain why a 4 year old was hit and killed on the busy street that runs adjacent to our neighborhood. I think there a lot of factors that go into this subject, including the safety of your neighborhood. If I lived in a quiet neighborhood with fenced in backyards, little dogs in backyards and very few cars, my tune might be a little different... but I don't. I live in an apartment complex with high traffic, large, aggressive dogs and some rather idiotic individuals that I don't trust around my children. Maybe it's over-protective but I would much rather be overly protective then ask myself why when something bad happens...

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#15 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I wish we had strict outdoor time, but it is not realistic where we live. We are in Texas and for about 4 months, it is way too hot to force really any amount of time. Then, the rest of the year, it is hailing, tornados, huge storms, etc. Where I live, we have troubles with wasps ever since getting the wooden playset so back yard play is prohibited. We have maybe 14 days out of the year I am guessing where we can go to the park where I will stand and watch the kids. I do not think it is safe for children to be outside unwatched. So that is it. It most certainly is not the world I grew up in. We would head out in the morning and just have to be back by dark.
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#16 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I will say though, if it were not for the wasps, we would be outside way more. Basically, I feel trapped in my house due to wasps. The weather is only in the 90's today so I started to take the kids out. But one got bit last week so they did not want to go. I forced them anyway, but within a couple minutes of being there, we could clearly see the wasps.
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#17 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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Not in my neighborhood... regardless, I am still not comfortable just sending my 4 and 7 year old out without plenty of supervision. I am sorry but I see too many children around my neighborhood that DO... might explain why a 4 year old was hit and killed on the busy street that runs adjacent to our neighborhood. I think there a lot of factors that go into this subject, including the safety of your neighborhood. If I lived in a quiet neighborhood with fenced in backyards, little dogs in backyards and very few cars, my tune might be a little different... but I don't. I live in an apartment complex with high traffic, large, aggressive dogs and some rather idiotic individuals that I don't trust around my children. Maybe it's over-protective but I would much rather be overly protective then ask myself why when something bad happens...
That really sucks about your neighborhood. I believe you when you say it's not safe. I just get irritated when people talk about "these days" when the reality is for a lot of kids, it truly is safer than when their parents were their age. And I think that it gets repeated far too often, to the point that it's not questioned, and then children who COULD otherwise go out, do not.

That makes me sad.

However, you know the situation where you are and of course there's no way I could judge every single individual situation. I am just speaking in general.

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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#18 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Our kids do spend a lot of time outside. We're in a quiet neighborhood with a big backyard on a court and across the street from a park, so we're fortunate in that there's lots to do and lots of kids in the court to do it with. I don't even plan playdates necessarily because by 9 in the morning on weekends all the kids are up and playing with each other and creating games, projects, etc... We are very lucky.

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#19 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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I wish we had the kind of yard where I could let my kids play outside all the time, but it's tiny and not very kid-friendly.

We'll be moving early next year and having a decent backyard, even small, is a priority. When I was a kid, my brother and I were outside all the time, but we lived on 2 acres in a very safe neighborhood and other kids were always outside too. We don't even know any neighbors here! If I had the kind of yard that I grew up with, we'd spend all day outside. But we do get out a lot - it's just usually after a short car ride to a park or beach!

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#20 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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The world is getting more dangerous by the minute and I will not just allow my children to run the neighborhood and hope they don't get hurt/kidnapped/molested/etc...
I do kick my kids outside. I do not see the world as less safe since my childhood. I see it as dramatically more safe except that cars are less aware of kids playing / biking BECAUSE YOU GUYS DON'T LET YOUR KIDS OUTSIDE ...

I see it as more safe because of cell phones, amber alerts, my ability to get email notifications if a sex offender moves into my neighborhood (if in compliance with the law, but if not at least they risk getting re-incarcerated), cell phones, cell phones, and cell phones. And gps and cell phones.

I truly don't believe that there has been any increase in crimes against children.
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#21 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 08:33 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.

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#22 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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We have outside time together everyday as part of something we do (playground, parks, etc) but I do send them to our tiny backyard as well on many days when their indoor play is indicating that they need some outside time. Our yard is small but there's still sand and dirt and buckets of water and it seems to calm them right down and gets them to start playing something together rather than bickering or nattering at each other (5 yo twins). I wish I could send them to ride their bikes in front without me but our street is not designed so that it's safe; short blind driveways and lots of cars parked on the curved street so cars coming out of the driveways can't see the kids.
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#23 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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My kids are 1, 4, 6 and 8 and they spend a lot of time outside; no forcing necessary. There are days when they they are driving me crazy and I make them go out but that doesn't happen to much. I live in a pretty quiet neighborhood. The 1 yo of course must have constant supervision and I check on my 4 yo more often than my oldest. But other than my baby they all go in and out all the time without my supervision.

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#24 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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My dd goes outside several times a day at school and at daycare where there is no choice and she enjoys herself. On my days off we go for a walk, to the park, or to an outdoor activity and enjoy ourselves that way but I don't have a time I just make her leave the house to entertain herself outside. When she has friends over I do make them go in the backyard and entertain themselves when they start getting to noisy or rowdy for me, but with only one child it feels mean to make her go out alone. She loves outside and will often help her grandpa in the yard, ask to go to the school playground, she likes to draw on the sidewalk with chalk, and go out to play in the sprinklers or snow depending on the season without needing to be pushed to do so.
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#25 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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We live in a big city apartment with no yard of any kind. Boy, do I fantasize about living in a place where I could just say "out you go". Like a bunch of the PPs that was what my parents did with me when I was a kid and it was great.

I hope someday we'll have a little outdoor space where I can make my kids go, because I totally will make them if I have to. Until then I have to take them to the park to get any play time but I still try to do some good outside time every day.

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#26 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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I make my kids go outside pretty often, when they're running around the house, if they're being loud inside, if I have to make or take a call for work. For hours today, there were 6-10 kids in my yard playing. I have four (9, 7, 5, & 3) and as soon as I send them out the neighbor kids come over to play.

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#27 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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DD (4 1/2) spends loads of time outside. We live in an apartment & share a playground in our yard with a bunch of other kids. Lots of people here let their kids out unsupervised, but I'm not comfortable doing that with my DD yet.

I'm not terribly concerned about adults messing with her. I think she would kick & scream like anything if a stranger approached her, and there are enough people around (neighbors) that I'm confident that someone would intervene. I'm not 100% unconcerned about it (especially since someone tried to abduct me as a young child), but I'm not crazy worried about it either.

What I am concerned about is the bullying that some of the older kids in the neighborhood engage in. They've done some of it in front of me, and I figure that what they'd do without adults around is probably far worse than what they'd do right in front of me (which is bad enough IMO). Seriously, it's a bit like Lord of the Flies out there sometimes. So, until I know that DD can hold her own and knows what to do if someone tries to push her around into doing something she doesn't want to do (e.g., kissing a neighbor boy), I'll go out with her. Also, I figure that some of the kids can use another adult in their lives they can talk to, and when I'm out there they all know they can talk to me.
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#28 of 85 Old 10-02-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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I don't make my son go outside. I do suggest it sometimes and I do go outside myself, do a bit of yardwork until he's interested in an outside activity and then go back in (or continue yardwork if need be ).

My son is 3.5 and is only allowed in the fenced backyard without an adult. And only if I can see him. If I need to nurse the baby, I ask him to come in.

I'm not sure at what age I'll be comfortable letting him in the front yard without an adult. We live on a cul-de-sac and he doesn't go in the road or anything. I just don't feel safe with that yet, or even that that is around the corner. But, I do have memories of playing around that age alone outside.

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#29 of 85 Old 10-03-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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I've never had to "make" my kids go outside. But I do make sure we always have time to outside and play, although they rarely go out alone.

My 8 year old can go out on his own but he knows where he has to stay. My 4 year old will stay out by himself if I'm going in and out and he knows where he has to stay as well. I'm not worried so much about someone nabbing them (we have an enormous, very protective dog) as I am about stray dogs. We've had several and it's always been an awful incident so I do worry about that. My kids know they have to come in if they see any dog other than ours.

We do live in the country on an acreage, but we have lots of neighbors that usually, but not always, drive slow and watch for the kids. But we also have a cow with a baby that's very protective so there's alot of area that they can't explore on their own right now.

But typically, we're outside every day. Unless it's really bad out. If it's hot, we play in the water. If it's cold and snowy, we make snowmen.
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#30 of 85 Old 10-03-2010, 12:17 AM
 
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we have a big yard (2 acres), a large garden and two golden retrievers. every day i take the dogs (and both of my kids) for a walk around the block -- which is about a 1/2 mile. afterwards, the kids expect to have some time outside. the baby (he's 1), gets his chance to try to ride the tricycle or the big wheel on the driveway. my daughter might practice riding her bike, or try the scooter, or her roller skates, or... whatever. there are some neighborhood kids who sometimes join us on our walks, and sometimes they come over afterwards to play for awhile.

sometimes we all go around to the backyard, where the kids have a swingset, sand box and additonal ride on toys (all were either garage saled or trash picked -- i have spent very few dollars on any of our outside play stuff).

the other day it was just our family, both kids, both dogs. i batted balls for the dogs to chase across the yard while the kids played together in the little sandbox. when the dogs got so tired they quit bringing the balls back, i spent a little time in the garden, picking the last of the season's vegetables in anticipation of a coming frost.

the baby is walking now and it was so much fun to see him just toddling around. when i said, "i think we have raspberries!" he was so excited and walked over to the raspberry bush as fast as he could, then stuffed them in his mouth, his shirt all dirty from the sandbox, etc.

it was a great way to spend an afternoon for ALL of us, myself included. finally it was time to go in, as it was starting to get dark and the kids really needed their bath.

i can't imagine that the kids will "grow out of" enjoying this kind of casual, outdoor "play". it's all play to them, of course. and in a lot of ways, it is play for me, too.

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