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#1 of 16 Old 11-12-2012, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How far would you late a 6.5 year old roam?  Under what conditions?  I live in an apartment complex and he wants to be able to go out on his own and play/walk/explore.  I am not sure if I should let him.  Also, the 4.5 year old is sure gonna want to follow, which is a problem.  I have been thinking about this for a while and wanted to know what the norm is for other families.  

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#2 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 05:07 AM
 
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The "how far" would depend partly on the kid, and a lot on the geography, but one thing that helps with dd is she has to wear a watch if she's leaving the yard, and has to check in at set intervals (we started with 10 min.).  If she checks in like she's supposed to, she can go back out for a bit longer; if I have to go check on her, she's done playing outside, no exceptions. 
 

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#3 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 05:42 AM
 
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Is he wanting to wander by himself or with another friend? My daughter (without a younger sibling following) was wandering at least most of our neighborhood at that age, but not alone. She would have a bunch of other neighbor kids running around with her.

Also, an apartment complex is a bit different from a child wandering around my house where I can peek out at her if I want to. She's been able to play in our yard for a long time without me but of course she's right outside windows. Can you see the area where he wants to play from your apartment?
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#4 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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at that age dd was wandering a block.

 

i let her because

 

1. she has always been responsible. she has always followed what i have asked her to do. at the most she was 5 minutes late coming home.

2. she had a phone.

3. it was a cul de sac with a few twists and turns.

4. i knew the houses she was going to. the kids got together and rode their scooters around the block.

 

i now live in a huge apt. block. even now i would have let her roam if she was 6 (by roam i mean out of my sight) because this is a safe community. by 9 she was walking a couple of blocks to the library and back by herself.

 

dd has been given safety info. and she gets it.  

 

does your son want to play on his own? do you trust him to take care of his little brother? is it fair to have him do that?

 

so does your son want to explore alone or meet up with other kids? do you'll have a children's park or play area that he wants to go to?

 

if he had a phone on himself i'd be more comfortable about letting him roam on his own.


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#5 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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My kids are the same age and I wouldn't be comfortable with them roaming. I maybe would if it was just my 6 yr old, but yes his brother would want to follow and he's more impulsive and I don't think my older son is mature enough to corral him quite yet. I would however let them roam if it were in a pack of neighborhood kids-- but maybe wait a year for my younger one to be mature enough. Some things I would want to make sure of before roaming happened:

-understand stranger danger and what to do when you need help

-looking both ways before crossing the street EVERY time and checking for driveways

-understanding of the map of the neighborhood and how not to get lost

-understanding of possible neighborhood dangers-- houses/areas to avoid? giant potholes? drug paraphernalia/used condoms on the sidewalks? etc

-respect for people's property (don't go wandering into unknown backyards, etc)


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#6 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 04:26 PM
 
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I have an 8 year old and a six year old.  We finally live in a place(the country) where I feel good about having them roam.  I just make sure they stay away from the road.  However, we used to live in an apartment complex and I had an experience when dd1 was 3 years old, where a man living in a downstairs apartment tried to get her to come into his apartment when she was walking around in the yard.  He thought she was alone b/c I hadn't come around the corner of the building yet.  

After that, I kept a very close eye on my kids at all times.  I personally would be a bit more careful with apartment complexes b/c there are so many people and you don't know them.  However, it does depend too on the child.  

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#7 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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I let my dd roam the park, school playground, and go to the neighbors at that age but not actual roaming
She is ten now and I am fine with her crossing the street and playing with neighbors, walking to school alone to play on the playground or attend , and going off to get items on our shopping list in the store. I see no reason for her to roam aimlessly though.
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#8 of 16 Old 11-13-2012, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Is he wanting to wander by himself or with another friend? -................. Can you see the area where he wants to play from your apartment?

 

That is just it.  The kids his age are all at school so he would essentially be alone.  Some younger kids maybe out at the play area but it is cold now and not too many come out.  He wants to just walk around, look at rocks, collect leaves etc.  Most importantly, he wants to be able to leave whenever he wants to without having me put his plans on hold because I can't leave my apartment (something else to do).  It annoys him that his outside time is dependent on an adult being with him and the adults are sometimes too busy.

 

Once he leaves the apartment, I won't be able to see him and that freaks me out! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post

The "how far" would depend partly on the kid, and a lot on the geography, but one thing that helps with dd is she has to wear a watch if she's leaving the yard, and has to check in at set intervals (we started with 10 min.).  If she checks in like she's supposed to, she can go back out for a bit longer; if I have to go check on her, she's done playing outside, no exceptions. 
 

 

I am thinking half hour to 45 min.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

at that age dd was wandering a block.

 

i let her because

 

1. she has always been responsible. she has always followed what i have asked her to do. at the most she was 5 minutes late coming home.

2. she had a phone.

3. it was a cul de sac with a few twists and turns.

4. i knew the houses she was going to. the kids got together and rode their scooters around the block.

 

i now live in a huge apt. block. even now i would have let her roam if she was 6 (by roam i mean out of my sight) because this is a safe community. by 9 she was walking a couple of blocks to the library and back by herself.

 

dd has been given safety info. and she gets it.  

 

does your son want to play on his own? do you trust him to take care of his little brother? is it fair to have him do that?

 

so does your son want to explore alone or meet up with other kids? do you'll have a children's park or play area that he wants to go to?

 

if he had a phone on himself i'd be more comfortable about letting him roam on his own.

 

He will be buying him some communication device if i am gonna let him do this.  If we do this, he will not have his younger sibling with him because she is less careful and more impulsive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loveandgarbage View Post

My kids are the same age and I wouldn't be comfortable with them roaming. I maybe would if it was just my 6 yr old, but yes his brother would want to follow and he's more impulsive and I don't think my older son is mature enough to corral him quite yet. I would however let them roam if it were in a pack of neighborhood kids-- but maybe wait a year for my younger one to be mature enough. Some things I would want to make sure of before roaming happened:

-understand stranger danger and what to do when you need help

-looking both ways before crossing the street EVERY time and checking for driveways

-understanding of the map of the neighborhood and how not to get lost

-understanding of possible neighborhood dangers-- houses/areas to avoid? giant potholes? drug paraphernalia/used condoms on the sidewalks? etc

-respect for people's property (don't go wandering into unknown backyards, etc)

 

Yes, I will have a lot of talk with him if we do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catinthehat View Post

I have an 8 year old and a six year old.  We finally live in a place(the country) where I feel good about having them roam.  I just make sure they stay away from the road.  However, we used to live in an apartment complex and I had an experience when dd1 was 3 years old, where a man living in a downstairs apartment tried to get her to come into his apartment when she was walking around in the yard.  He thought she was alone b/c I hadn't come around the corner of the building yet.  

After that, I kept a very close eye on my kids at all times.  I personally would be a bit more careful with apartment complexes b/c there are so many people and you don't know them.  However, it does depend too on the child.  

 

My fear exactly!!  I live in a huge apartment complex :( 

Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

I let my dd roam the park, school playground, and go to the neighbors at that age but not actual roaming
She is ten now and I am fine with her crossing the street and playing with neighbors, walking to school alone to play on the playground or attend , and going off to get items on our shopping list in the store. I see no reason for her to roam aimlessly though.

 

He just wants to walk, kick his ball around, ride his bike... etc.  

 

Thanks guys, for all your responses.

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#9 of 16 Old 11-14-2012, 05:06 AM
 
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emaye i feel so sad for your son. this is what life has become. what 30 years ago you wouldnt even be posting this since we all would be doing it. 

 

first do you have other friends in the complex who would just keep an eye out on him?

 

i have a super independent dd. and one thing i have found is if i let them do what they want they discover sometimes it isnt how they thought it was. 

 

i would keep an eye out on when it is busy out there either people walking or just out going to work, etc. after you've had the talk and perhaps lent him your cell phone or got one for him, set up a code word, or code sentence to alert you of any danger if there was any. 

 

first just let him out for 5 mins with defined limits of how far, etc. see how he does with it. 

 

could you let him just play in front of your apt. take his legos out there, or art project or a book and just sit on the steps and read? 

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#10 of 16 Old 11-14-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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What about practice runs while you are outside? Maybe you sit on the front steps while he walks or rides his bike around the block, something where you are still in close proximity (and in earshot, preferably, or able to visually track him from a distance) to start testing out how he does on his own? Then you can start letting him go farther if he does well with this, and eventually you could stay inside...

I love the idea of letting kids roam but the reality is very mixed. My friend had a nosy neighbor follow her DS around because she was worried about him being out alone. Thoughtful, yes, but also a little intrusive & creepy, and it crossed my mind that she might even consider it neglect & call CPS. Not that you should hold off for that reason alone, but it is a consideration -- a six-year-old out alone wandering might draw unwanted attention, depending on your neighborhood.

If you decide to let him roam, maybe go together to meet a few neighbors around the neighborhood if you don't already know some -- then he will have "safe houses" where he can check in, or call you, or go for help or bandaids should he need it.

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#11 of 16 Old 11-14-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by catinthehat View Post

 However, we used to live in an apartment complex and I had an experience when dd1 was 3 years old, where a man living in a downstairs apartment tried to get her to come into his apartment when she was walking around in the yard.  He thought she was alone b/c I hadn't come around the corner of the building yet.  

Scary.


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#12 of 16 Old 11-14-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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DD is almost 6 and I wouldn't allow her. We live in an apt. complex too. Last summer she played with a bunch of kids but I'd be standing at the window the whole time (they played right in front of the apt.) I know that the kids would get their ball into the parking lot and I heard once it went over the fence on the street. That is just one of the reasons. The other is that Protecting the Gift has opened my eyes to various other dangers I hadn't thought about.


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#13 of 16 Old 11-14-2012, 07:20 AM
 
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I'm pretty sure at that age I was walking the 2-3 blocks to the park down the way from my house, but I was with my siblings or the neighbor kids, never just alone.  I would be leery too of my kids going out alone wandering.  You think "they won't get hurt just walking down the sidewalk" or something. But for our street, its the only thru street in the neighborhood and although our speed limit is 20 mph cars go much faster than that. A couple mths ago a car was going so fast that it lost control and actually flipped upside and landed in someones driveway!  I know, I know - that's not typical of what usually happens. I guess its just a reminder to me that anything can happen.

 

So yeah, letting them go out by themselves would worry me very very much. Although I know at some point you need to let your kids grow up, there are crazy sick people out there.


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#14 of 16 Old 11-14-2012, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for for your input Mamas.  You guys are awesome! 

 

I think I will do a trial run a few times.  First with me down there.  Then without me but for a really short time and very short distance.  There is a square where he can ride his bike and roller skates.  That is close enough for me to allow him to go there after our practice runs.  Then we will go from there.  I wish I didn't have to worry about him being outside but such is life now.  I would never forgive myself if something happened to him.  I will be keeping the leash a little short for a while longer.  

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#15 of 16 Old 11-15-2012, 07:36 PM
 
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This is the thing that most upsets me as a new parent. Logically I understand that events of child abduction, homicide, and crime in general have gone down drastically in the last 40 years, but it does not seem that way. And now many children have cell phones, making them even safer! Because of 24 hour news networks we now know of every missing or killed child across the country where as a generation or two ago that was simply not the case. There is such an overarching culture of fear cultivated around children that is so hard to break. 

 

I think my biggest fear in letting my DD roam (when she is old enough) would be a nosy neighbor calling CPS because of a young child exploring on their own (like crunchy_mommy mentioned)- but you never know what could happen, and sometimes terrible things do happen. 

 

Its going to be a tough call to make in a few years :/


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#16 of 16 Old 11-15-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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I have a 6 year old and a 9 year old.  My 9 year old has quite a bit of freedom- he can ride his bike a mile or so to the store and play at friends houses.  He has a cell phone that can call me and 911 only.  He understands his safety rules.

 

However, my 6 year old is not even allowed in the front yard alone.  I live in a safe neighborhood, and she is a very intelligent girl that understands stranger danger and I'm almost positive would react well in a situation if she had to save herself.  But, she is just so young.  Young girls are easy targets, even if you teach them to yell and scream and run.  In our very popular neighborhood screaming children is a pretty common thing, how can I be sure that it would raise concern?

 

I do let her venture to the neighbors houses with her older brother.  But I would not even let her take a walk around the block with him.  The gap between 6 and 9 is huge.  The common sense and experience they gain in that time is important.

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