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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this should be here or in Childhood Years but I'm wondering how much freedom other 6yo have? I know it would depend on your city, neighborhood etc. We live close to downtown of a midsize town (about 75,000 people). DS lately has been leaving the house to go to his friend's house 2 doors down. Occasionally (but much too often for my comfort) he will take off down the next block. I think he needs to have limits of not leaving our yard unless with an adult or with an older child and only to their house 2 doors down (he plays frequently with 10 and 11 year olds who are allowed to wander the neighborhood) and <i>always</i> asking before he goes.<br><br>
Next question: what would be a good consequence for him taking off by himself? DH says it should be end of playdate. I think it should be end of playdate and no more play with friends for at least a day. He just doesn't get it that he can't just disappear. I've almost called 911 several times but found him at a friend's house. I want to get it under control before summer starts and there's kids scootering all over the neighborhood cause he'll want to join them.
 

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My six year ld can go to the end of the block on her bike. around the block with her sister and over to the neighbors house to play (she has to ask permision before going in but may play in his yard withuot permission so long as she has permisison to be outside in the first place.) As a general rule the always have to ask permission to leave the house. No one may cross the street without permission, even my 10 year old. NOt that I don't think she is capable but I have better things to do than hunt down my children. I want to know where they are.<br><br>
most of the people in our neighborhood are of criminal element (as in fresh from the pen) so until I know the family very well they are not allowed in anyones house. So if they were to wonder off the consequence would be that they had to stay in my presence (indefinitely) until I could trust them to obey the rules. that said the only time they have ever broken that sort of rule is when they were riding thier bikes down the alley (still on our block and visible from our back yard) their consequences was to lose their bikes for a week.
 

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We live in a small rural/suburban town of about 5000 people - quiet as can be right now in the middle of the afternoon- and Dd isn't allowed to even go outside without me knowing about it, then she can only be in the backyard. I would never allow her to go beyond our yard without me, but she doesn't have neighborhood playdates so we haven't come across the issue.
 

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We live in the suburbs of a big city. Middle to upper middle class neighborhood, very family oriented. However, we also live on a really steep hill and there aren't many kids my kid's ages (4 & 7) within walking distance. And since DS goes to private school some distance away, he doesn't know many kids even in the next block.<br><br>
Because of the hill, it really isn't safe for the kids to ride bikes, scooters or skateboards on the sidewalk. And the park isn't within walking distance (good old So. CA car culture at its best). So, they may play in the backyard without supervision and without asking specific permission. They may play in the front yard as long as they tell me that's where they are headed. They may walk two doors down to see if their friends are visiting their grandparents and invite them up to play as long as they tell me first. They may not play at the grandparent's home, mostly because they've never been invited to.<br><br>
If they were to stray from those limits, they would probably get a warning the first time. After that, I would definitely end the playdate, and I might impose a "no playdates away from the house for a couple of days" rule. If it made sense for DS to be further away from the house (he had friends or the hill wasn't really dangerous for bikes), I think I would go ahead and get him the cell phone I've been thinking about and let him go further, so long as I know where he was headed and with whom.
 

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We live on a fast (45 mph), narrow, curvy road, so ds is not allowed out of the gate. But, he does have free reign of our 5 acres.<br>
If he did go out the gate, I would reiterate how dangerous the road is. If he did it again, he wouldn't be allowed outside alone.
 

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We live in a fairly rural suburban area south of AL's largest city and I too have been faced with this very question recently. Just in the last three months DS's outside-our-house-world has seemed to open up threefold and he has started visiting with neighbor kids (here and their houses) almost every afternoon (since the weather's been nice)... We very *gradually* started allowing him to roam further from home, at first just across the street to our neighbor's house (8yo & 5yo)... then he would call the little girl 3 doors down the street (8yo) and she would ride her bike to come get him and they could ride between our two houses... I would give him our 2-way radios (3 mile range) and check in every few (15 or so) minutes to make sure everything was ok...or tell him he needed to head back home... then the family across the street from that little girl (8yo twin girls + 6yo boy) started wanting him to come play over there and he's been allowed to walk down there (he's still not very good at the bike yet and most of the kids walk everywhere anyway)... I've learned that the best thing for both of us (so he has uninterrupted play & I have a few minutes to myself because he was talking my head off w/ those darn walkie talkies! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">) so I've learned the best thing for us is for him to just come check in at the house at X time. Usually I give him about 30-45 minutes at one 'activity' (one person's house) and he has to be back before time's up or he can't continue to play... So long as he checks in ON TIME, he can continue to play until 7pm. And he can't go anywhere until I get home from work at around 5 so he has a total of about 2 hrs of 'free play' in the afternoons...<br><br>
Of course, I try to encourage all the kids to come play at our house/in our yard as much as they want... I just feel safer knowing I can see/hear all of them at once...<br><br>
Another rule is that he needs to always have a buddy... and to NEVER go anywhere with anyone besides the people he has told me he is with... we have older kids (12-15yr olds) that sort of roam around in the afternoons as well and while they usually don't want anything to do with the little kids, I don't want him to think that they couldn't/wouldn't ever hurt him, yk?<br><br>
And, he can't change places (go from house A to house B) without coming and telling me face to face. I think that's most all of the parents' rule because they will all convene at one location and then I'll see them split up, go their seperate ways & meet back up at another location... they usually make the rounds of all 4 neighborhood kids' house, so they only spend about 30 minutes or so at each place...<br><br>
A little bit of freedom seems to be suiting him well, and it really is nice for me to have a little break/time to get dinner started in the afternoons too!<br><br>
Alayna
 

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hmm. interesting thread. i live w/in the city limits of Asheville, NC, but it's sort of suburby in this neighborhood. it's a pretty low income neighborhood but no really bad eggs, that i know of. there used to be but they moved. the other house that i know of that seems bad eggy, they were caught breaking and entering their across-the-street neighbor's house and stealing stuff. that's a couple houses up.<br><br>
that said, even when i didn't know that, my ds isn't allowed out of our yard. we have a nice sized yard (i'm not good at guessing, but i'm thinking a half acre?) and it's fenced all the way around. my across-the-street neighbor has his grandkids over very frequently, and my ds is always wanting to go over there. i won't let him because he's never been invited. he SO doesn't get that invitation thing.<br><br>
anyway he's very impulsive (dx'd adhd and is WAY so) and can't remember to look both ways each and every time he crosses the street. he still darts out into parking lots and streets when we go places. there's a new bunch of houses being built down the road, and those construction guys and the trucks go WAY faster than the speed limit, which is like 25. they go about 50. no way my ds is allowed to cross w/o help.<br><br>
he will never be allowed out of the yard till i watch him cross a bunch of times and i SEE him look both ways each and every time.<br><br>
HTH!<br>
pamela
 

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Our 6-year-old daughter is an independent sort. We live in a small town of almost 2,000 people.<br><br>
1. She walks to and from school daily. This is about a block from our home.<br>
2. She leaves school to attend her music lesson by herself. This is on a different street bordering the school playground.<br>
3. She walks to and from her dance lesson once a week. Held at the school, after school hours.<br>
4. She has been allowed to walk over to a friends for a playdate. The house is about 3 "small-town" blocks from our house. She was supposed to phone to confirm arrival. She forgot. We phoned to follow up.<br>
5. She is allowed to ride her bike up and down our block on the sidewalk (which is only on the opposite side of the street).<br>
6. Occasionally we let her ride her bike around the block (once and then stop back at the house). A couple of times, she didn't do as agreed and rode around other blocks, but was back on time and it was only known b/c she proudly told us of her adventure.<br>
7. She is allowed to walk or bike to the video store, which is about 3 blocks from our house. She has returned movies several times and rented movies a few times. A couple of times, her 4yo sister went with her. Sometimes (especially the first few times) we sent the walkie-talkie with her. Not b/c it's a big safety device, but b/c she's a bit of a dawdler and easily distracted and we wanted to keep tabs on her progress.<br>
8. She has been wanting for a long time already to go to the playground alone (with the walkie talkie). We say no. She also would love to be sent to the grocery store to pick up whatever we've run short of during meal prep. We don't do that either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dreamer</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8008261"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would give him our 2-way radios (3 mile range) and check in every few (15 or so) minutes to make sure everything was</div>
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Great idea. Where do you get something like this? We've bought him walkie talkies before and they don't work at all. I like this idea if only I could get him to keep it with him and not leave it somewhere.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Moochie Mamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8008921"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Great idea. Where do you get something like this? We've bought him walkie talkies before and they don't work at all. I like this idea if only I could get him to keep it with him and not leave it somewhere.</div>
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They're motorola brand & I got them onsale at Target for $17.95 last Christmas! They also have a set of 3 w/ a 17 mile range for $50--I got those for my dad, for his hunting club... The set of 3 (@17mi range) comes w/ a charger, which would be nice, but the 3 mile range ones aren't too bad on batteries, either... I think we've changed them out once since Christmas, and ds uses them alot, even just to 'play with' around the house... I don't think the 3 mile ones pick up 3 miles away, maybe 2 but for roaming around the neighborhood they are great. My husband tried them out, just to see how far they would reach, and we were still in the 'completely crisp & clear' range at 2 miles away from our house... the further he got after that, the more broken up he sounded, but I've never had reception problems when ds uses them in the neighborhood...<br><br>
Hope this helps!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Alayna
 

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My six year old is allowed unlimited access to our back yard. He can play in our front yard sometimes -- he's not allowed past the curb, beyond the mailbox in one direction, beyond the end of the gravel in the other direction UNLESS his eleven year old brother is out with him. I think this may be changing somewhat in the near future -- one of his best school friends lives just around the corner from us, he may be allowed to walk to and from their house (after a few practice runs with me -- that is approximately seven houses away) and once in a while he's allowed to run across the street and ask the neighbor boy to come to our house and play.
 

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This thread has me feeling overprotective. Dd is 7; she doesn't leave the yard without notification, and she only leaves the yard by herself to ride her bike around the block. She never goes into someone's house unless it's prearranged with me. We don't live in a high-crime area, but I'm more worried about her getting lost and/or getting into a social situation over her head.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ManitobaMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8008901"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Our 6-year-old daughter is an independent sort. We live in a small town of almost 2,000 people.<br><br>
1. She walks to and from school daily. This is about a block from our home.<br>
2. She leaves school to attend her music lesson by herself. This is on a different street bordering the school playground.<br>
3. She walks to and from her dance lesson once a week. Held at the school, after school hours.<br>
4. She has been allowed to walk over to a friends for a playdate. The house is about 3 "small-town" blocks from our house. She was supposed to phone to confirm arrival. She forgot. We phoned to follow up.<br>
5. She is allowed to ride her bike up and down our block on the sidewalk (which is only on the opposite side of the street).<br>
6. Occasionally we let her ride her bike around the block (once and then stop back at the house). A couple of times, she didn't do as agreed and rode around other blocks, but was back on time and it was only known b/c she proudly told us of her adventure.<br>
7. She is allowed to walk or bike to the video store, which is about 3 blocks from our house. She has returned movies several times and rented movies a few times. A couple of times, her 4yo sister went with her. Sometimes (especially the first few times) we sent the walkie-talkie with her. Not b/c it's a big safety device, but b/c she's a bit of a dawdler and easily distracted and we wanted to keep tabs on her progress.<br>
8. She has been wanting for a long time already to go to the playground alone (with the walkie talkie). We say no. She also would love to be sent to the grocery store to pick up whatever we've run short of during meal prep. We don't do that either.</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"> umm, just wow.. I can't imagine letting my almost 7 year old do any of that. I mean she's 6, I could see a 10 year old but a 6 year old? I can't trust mine to stay on the porch or stay at my side in a store (she walks off with strangers on a regular basis and doesn't get why I'm upset with her), forget going some where alone. That seems like way to much responsibility for a 6 yr old to me.
 

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we live in a city of over 100,000 and, though our neighborhood is pretty quiet and several blocks away from major streets, my almost-7 yr old is only allowed in the fenced backyard unaccompanied. Luckily(??) the only kids his age at our end of the block are our next door neighbors, who are like family to us (we just put in a gate between our backyards because we're always going back and forth). There is a small park around the corner, but he will probably be in Jr. High before I'm comfortable with him going over there alone.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rubelin</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8065767"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">we live in a city of over 100,000 and, though our neighborhood is pretty quiet and several blocks away from major streets, my almost-7 yr old is only allowed in the fenced backyard unaccompanied. Luckily(??) the only kids his age at our end of the block are our next door neighbors, who are like family to us (we just put in a gate between our backyards because we're always going back and forth). There is a small park around the corner, but he will probably be in Jr. High before I'm comfortable with him going over there alone.</div>
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My older son was ten before I let him go to the playground 4 blocks from our house with his friends (never alone).
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ManitobaMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8008901"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Our 6-year-old daughter is an independent sort. We live in a small town of almost 2,000 people.<br><br>
1. She walks to and from school daily. This is about a block from our home.<br>
2. She leaves school to attend her music lesson by herself. This is on a different street bordering the school playground.<br>
3. She walks to and from her dance lesson once a week. Held at the school, after school hours.<br>
4. She has been allowed to walk over to a friends for a playdate. The house is about 3 "small-town" blocks from our house. She was supposed to phone to confirm arrival. She forgot. We phoned to follow up.<br>
5. She is allowed to ride her bike up and down our block on the sidewalk (which is only on the opposite side of the street).<br>
6. Occasionally we let her ride her bike around the block (once and then stop back at the house). A couple of times, she didn't do as agreed and rode around other blocks, but was back on time and it was only known b/c she proudly told us of her adventure.<br>
7. She is allowed to walk or bike to the video store, which is about 3 blocks from our house. She has returned movies several times and rented movies a few times. A couple of times, her 4yo sister went with her. Sometimes (especially the first few times) we sent the walkie-talkie with her. Not b/c it's a big safety device, but b/c she's a bit of a dawdler and easily distracted and we wanted to keep tabs on her progress.<br>
8. She has been wanting for a long time already to go to the playground alone (with the walkie talkie). We say no. She also would love to be sent to the grocery store to pick up whatever we've run short of during meal prep. We don't do that either.</div>
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No way in HE double hockey sticks! My Ds just turned 11 and he is just NOW getting to ride his bike to the park 1 block from us. And he has his cell phone and walkie talkie both for communication. Call me a paronoid freak, but man. I must have major trust issues and be way overprotective!<br><br>
So this goes without saying that my 8yo Ds and my 6yo Dd don't even leave the yard yet. The farthest they get is walking to our neighbors yard below our house to the bus stop everyday, where I sit on my little white chair and watch them until I count 3 heads walking thru the bus.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jmo780</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8066829"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">No way in HE double hockey sticks! My Ds just turned 11 and he is just NOW getting to ride his bike to the park 1 block from us. And he has his cell phone and walkie talkie both for communication. Call me a paronoid freak, but man. I must have major trust issues and be way overprotective!<br><br>
So this goes without saying that my 8yo Ds and my 6yo Dd don't even leave the yard yet. The farthest they get is walking to our neighbors yard below our house to the bus stop everyday, where I sit on my little white chair and watch them until I count 3 heads walking thru the bus.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"></div>
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Your not alone! I live in a small town as well and had the same thoughts.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Satori</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8065707"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/bigeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="bigeyes"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"> umm, just wow.. I can't imagine letting my almost 7 year old do any of that. I mean she's 6, I could see a 10 year old but a 6 year old? I can't trust mine to stay on the porch or stay at my side in a store (she walks off with strangers on a regular basis and doesn't get why I'm upset with her), forget going some where alone. That seems like way too much responsibility for a 6 yr old to me.</div>
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So much of this sort of thing is what they're used to. I believe 6 year-olds can have these capabilities, but they have to be allowed to develop, which may not be practical in some situations.<br>
My 4yo, for instance, has never walked off with a stranger, and regularly hangs out on the porch without wandering off. He does not leave our house/sidewalk/yard without permission and supervision at this point... but at parks and playgrounds he does go quite far on his own. He is very independent and takes care of himself quite well.<br>
I wouldn't force that sort of responsibility onto a child, but if the child is eager and ready, I think they deserve to be allowed to take the developmental step.
 

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ManitobaMom,<br><br>
Our population is 60,000, but the close proximity to freeways and and larger cities makes me nervous.<br><br>
I read about a man who attempted to kidnap a girl on her way home from school. He tried to get her into his vehicle and she said no. So he chased her. I think she went to a neighbors house and that is how she got away.<br><br>
So, just because you live in a small town, your child is not safe.<br><br>
I remember walking to school and home. To the store. To the movies. But that was over 20 years ago and I was NEVER alone. Can your DD go with somebody if she is on her bike, running an errand?<br><br>
To the OP: if your son is out of bounds, I think that being grounded longer than a day might be in order. But you know your son, so you may consider that too harsh. If you have laready told him once and he does it again, you might have to increase the consequences.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>USMCbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8071561"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I read about a man who attempted to kidnap a girl on her way home from school. He tried to get her into his vehicle and she said no. So he chased her. I think she went to a neighbors house and that is how she got away.<br><br>
So, just because you live in a small town, your child is not safe.<br></div>
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Okay, but statistically, it is very rare. Most of these sort of things involve people the child already knows. So children have to be taught strength and awareness.<br><br>
Is it really fair to restrict our children's natural desire for independence because some bad people have done bad things? Bad people have been around forever. Terrible things have always happened to some child somewhere. But truthfully I am much more concerned about teaching ds safety around cars than worrying about him being abducted. As dp says: "Anyone that trys to f*** with <i>my</i> kid is going to have to watch out for <i>himself</i>."<br><br>
That said, in our fairly large town, I don't envision allowing ds to walk to the store by himself at 6yo... although maybe with a friend...
 
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