8 Year old outside alone? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it just me or is this not comfortable for other parents to let their child be outside alone playing outside the home in the yard, but the parent responsible for the child is downstairs engrossed in the TV set.....the other parent is playing down the street-but far from the home and cannot see this child- at the playground with the other child of the family....the parent watching TV knows that the other parent is gone.
thoughts??????

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#2 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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I think 8 years old is plenty old to be outside alone in the yard. I'd let an 8-year-old wander a bit even.

Unless it were a really bad neighborhood or something, I'd have no problem.
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#3 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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It depends on the child and environment.

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#4 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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As long as my ds knew where to find a parent, I think he'd be fine. Especially in another year (when he'd be 8). He is pretty sensible, can cross the familiar corners safely, etc. But he doesn't like to be alone so it isn't likely he'd wander around by himself anyway.

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#5 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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I let my 5 yo and my 2yo play in the back yard alone but we have a fence. I am hoping by 8 she will be able to play in the front yard alone, I will make that call later but I would think she would be mature enough for that in our neighborhood.
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#6 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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I don't see anything wrong with it. In fact, if the kid has a track record of being responsible and there's no special hazard in the neighborhood, I think it's fine for an eight year old to play with other kids on the same block without direct supervision.
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#7 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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really?
hhhhmmm OK I guess I am over protective...

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#8 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:02 PM
 
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Assuming the neighborhood is safe and the child is trustworthy (and educated about strangers) I say it's just fine!
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#9 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:10 PM
 
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I let my 5, almost 6 year old play outside with two other girls that live nearby. The girls are 6 and 7 and the kids know what area they are supposed to stay in. I check every so often and so do both other Moms, so someone is checking pretty frequently.

Honestly, at 8, I think unless the child has some issues, or the neighborhood is not safe, I would think that's plenty old enough to not only play, but wander a bit.

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#10 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:11 PM
 
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I think as long as the parents know where the child will be, at that age it seems ok...but I think it really depends on the situation.

We used to have this little boy ride past our house, he was 7 going on 8. Occasionally he would stop and play with ds if we were outside and he would stay FOR-EV-ER! I would ask him, do you want us to walk you home, do you need to be home by a certain time, etc. He'd usually just say, "nah-I just have to be home by 6 for dinner," and it would be around 1 o'clock!
A lot of times he would ask to play inside but I had to say no-I had no idea where this kid lived, who his parents were-the whole thing just made me uncomfortable. Surely his parents didn't want him in stangers homes?!
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#11 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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My ds was playing alone in the back yard when he was 3 yrs old. We lived in a really safe neighborhood (military housing). Now he's 4 and we are temporarily in an apartment complex that has a big court yard that always has tons of kids playing. We let him go out there by himself and play although we do check on him every 5 mins or so unless another parent is down there (all the parents sort of have an understanding that if you're down there with the kids you're supervising everyone, it's cool).

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#12 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KyleAnn View Post
I think as long as the parents know where the child will be, at that age it seems ok...but I think it really depends on the situation.

We used to have this little boy ride past our house, he was 7 going on 8. Occasionally he would stop and play with ds if we were outside and he would stay FOR-EV-ER! I would ask him, do you want us to walk you home, do you need to be home by a certain time, etc. He'd usually just say, "nah-I just have to be home by 6 for dinner," and it would be around 1 o'clock!
A lot of times he would ask to play inside but I had to say no-I had no idea where this kid lived, who his parents were-the whole thing just made me uncomfortable. Surely his parents didn't want him in stangers homes?!
I wonder if they were just letting him do what they did as kids? I mean by age 4 I was wondering the neighborhood, playing with other kids, and going into their houses. I couldn't cross the street by myself yet so if I needed to cross I would knock on someone's door and ask them to hold my hand and take me lol. That was a different time then of course.

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#13 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleAnn View Post
I think as long as the parents know where the child will be, at that age it seems ok...but I think it really depends on the situation.

We used to have this little boy ride past our house, he was 7 going on 8. Occasionally he would stop and play with ds if we were outside and he would stay FOR-EV-ER! I would ask him, do you want us to walk you home, do you need to be home by a certain time, etc. He'd usually just say, "nah-I just have to be home by 6 for dinner," and it would be around 1 o'clock!
A lot of times he would ask to play inside but I had to say no-I had no idea where this kid lived, who his parents were-the whole thing just made me uncomfortable. Surely his parents didn't want him in stangers homes?!
Sound like most kids when I was that age.
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#14 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shelsi View Post
I wonder if they were just letting him do what they did as kids? I mean by age 4 I was wondering the neighborhood, playing with other kids, and going into their houses. I couldn't cross the street by myself yet so if I needed to cross I would knock on someone's door and ask them to hold my hand and take me lol. That was a different time then of course.
Not necessarily a different time. Our neighborhood is like that. My older kids (10 and 8) go wherever in the neighborhood and my 4 yo can go as long as he's with one of them (just because he isn't quite as conscientious as you were about asking someone to help him across the street. He will just go.)

OP: Are you talking about your family or someone else's family? If it's yours and your partner is letting your 8 yo play outside while s/he is inside watching TV and you're uncomfortable with it, you should definitely say something about your concerns. If it's another family, I wouldn't be concerned unless I saw the child doing something really unsafe or mean-spirited, etc.
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#15 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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ds has been playing in the front yard since he was 4, back yard since he was 2......he's now 8 and he walked to church (3 blocks) to buy me a package of Equal Exchange coffee. I was in caffien withdrawl!!!

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#16 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:37 PM
 
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I don't really see a problem with an 8-year-old playing outside alone. I think 6 would be borderline, younger too young, but older ok. There's a pair of 8- and 9-year-old girls in our neighborhood who are always outside playing with something, I've really never thought twice about it.

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#17 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:51 PM
 
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My 8 year old spends a great deal of time outside in the yard on his own, otherwise I would have him kicking soccer balls inside the house, which I am not overly fond of. He also rides his bike by himself around the neighborhood and goes to the store by himself.

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#18 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I would have no issue with this at all. Where I live, kids younger than that walk a half-mile to school, and I see kids that age playing at the park all the time.
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#19 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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My kids have played out front since they were 6 or so. We don't allow them to be out if it's dark or thundering. When they were 8, they had the freedom to ride their bikes around the block once they knew bike safety.

I don't let them play outside (front or back) when I am not home and they're alone for a couple of hours.
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#20 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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My 6 yr old can play outside by herself although she's not allowed to leave our yard. She's very good about not wandering off or doing dangerous things so it's something I feel comfortable with.

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#21 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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To add to this, not only do I think it's OK, I think it's for the best. When my daughter was younger, she could only go outside when I was able to be there. The more time she spends inside, the more time she watches doing stuff like TV, though TV has never been a favorite of hers. Still, the less exercise she gets. I want her to get lots of exercise and for the most part, that happens when she's playing outside. She's only 6 and I let her play in our yard, and the yards of three different neighbors (so long as she lets me know whose yard she's going to.) If she could only go outside when it worked for me around my housecleaning schedule, she wouldn't get enough exercise.
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#22 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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I think as long as the child is fairly responsible and whatnot 8 is fine to be outside alone. Of course, provided that the neighborhood is a safe one and parents know where they are. I live in a very small town and it's pretty safe outside. My nephew is 7 and he is outside alone riding his bike quite often.
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#23 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 09:24 PM
 
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My 8 and 5 year olds have pretty well free roam of our block, but we live in a neighborhood that is insanely quiet and safe in a tiny little town in rural Ontario.
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#24 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 09:26 PM
 
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My 8 yo has free rein of our communes 80 acres and the next door neighbors 100 acres. The only limiting factor is that we need to have some clue where to find her because 180 acres is just to large of an area to track her down in, and it did take a couple of events to make that clear to her. I really expect her to be able to walk the 3 miles to town alone by 10yo, a very small, very safe town.
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#25 of 96 Old 08-12-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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My kids play outside, together or seperately, every day without me. I'm usually doing dishes, laundry, cooking, etc. I fully expect that they will entertain themselves, climb a tree, have some adventures. I think it's healthy and necessary not to hover all of the time. I keep a watchful distance. Especially at 8 I wouldn't have a problem.
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#26 of 96 Old 08-13-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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My 7 and 4 year old dc play outside by themselves. We live at the end of a dead end road in a very small town. They know their boundaries, and stay in them for the most part.
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#27 of 96 Old 08-13-2008, 04:21 AM
 
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My 7 and 4 year old dc play outside by themselves.

ditto
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#28 of 96 Old 08-13-2008, 05:22 AM
 
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My dd plays outside by herself all the time. I think I began trusting her more without checking on her so much around age 5/6, I can't really remember.

Now we live on 3 acres, and the road is a large area away from where she plays, and she knows not to hang out near the road.

At the end of the month we are moving to an apartment on Main Street of our town. Granted Main Street is lame, and now that cars are so large you have to take turns going down the street. There isn't even a line painted in the middle of the road. lol.

So I have talked to dd repeatedly about how we'll have some new rules at the new house. I'll need to know where she is more, and in time she'll gain the same trust as she did at this house.


I think it's good for kids to have unstructured fun by them self. Believe it or not there are times my dd doesn't want to be around me. She wants to roam, and be free. What better place to explore the world, then outside.

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#29 of 96 Old 08-13-2008, 05:28 AM
 
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I was ok with it provided DS1 was around to hear me call, DH was not. When I was a kid I was 5 and out running around but we lived in a really small town and this was the 80's.

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#30 of 96 Old 08-13-2008, 05:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
To add to this, not only do I think it's OK, I think it's for the best. When my daughter was younger, she could only go outside when I was able to be there. The more time she spends inside, the more time she watches doing stuff like TV, though TV has never been a favorite of hers. Still, the less exercise she gets. I want her to get lots of exercise and for the most part, that happens when she's playing outside. She's only 6 and I let her play in our yard, and the yards of three different neighbors (so long as she lets me know whose yard she's going to.) If she could only go outside when it worked for me around my housecleaning schedule, she wouldn't get enough exercise.
ITA. Completely. I thought I had nothing more to add to this thread but I need to agree with this post.
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