Playing outside alone

Janice - posted on 02/02/2012 ( 129 moms have responded )

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So two other threads in other communities got me thinking about how much freedom I give my toddler.



Since she was 19/20 months old I have let my daughter play in our small, fenced in back yard alone. I'm sure some may be gasping ;) I keep the back door open so I can hear her and I go out and visually check on her about every 5 minutes. My apartment is small so I can always hear her and I make the dog stay outside with her to ward off the very unlikely chance a stranger is interested. I personally am comfortable with this.



So what do you think? Do you let your kids play outside with out direct supervision? If so how old are they?

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MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 02/07/2012

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My children are not allowed to play outside on their own until at least 5. We do have a fenced in backyard but it wouldn't be hard to get out of if they wanted. My daughter would have been 5 before she could go out on her own, my son will be very close to that, maybe older, since we now have a pool too... Besides, I enjoy getting our there with them. I use to spend as much time as possible outside with my daugter. We are really looking forward to this Summer, since my boy is now 15.5 months. It is going to be sooo much fun!



They are too young to be unsupervised IMO under the age of 5. But, everyone has their own comfort levels and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they are fine with it and I don't find their under age 5 kids running the streets or something... ;)

Vegemite - posted on 02/06/2012

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My kids are 2 and 4, they don't play outside by themselves. We live on a couple of acres with 1 fenced off, there are also poisonous snakes and spiders in our yard so it's not really safe for them to be alone. We have dogs too and no matter how much I trust them there's no way I'd leave my kids alone with them. Dogs are dogs and kids are kids you never know how the will react to eachother.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/06/2012

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My family misses everything because they're all in Rochester. When Irene went through they didn't even get rained on. When all those blizzards went through we didn't even get a snow flake. But I confuse my friends who aren't in Rochester by talking about lake effect snow. The first time my friend from Troy came out to Rochester it was Summer and I got to show her how you can literally feel the temperature change when you get on the Lake Ontario Parkway to head to the beach. She had never experianced that before.

Janice - posted on 02/06/2012

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My town lies on the Hudson and the day after the Hurricane (which thankfully missed us) they though the town might flood from rushing waters. We are 4 blocks from the river. We thought it was just overkill caution. Then my husband was watching the river from his job 1 mile north and started freaking and called me and demanded I leave. So I did but, go figure only the homes and church along the river flooded. It was craziness though.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/06/2012

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Don't worry you aren't missing much. Berlin is probably closer to VT than it is to Albany and my friend was stuck at home after Hurricane Irene because the only road into town was washed out. Nice eh?



One thing I miss from that part of the State is going to Country Veiw Diner in Hoosick Falls.

Janice - posted on 02/06/2012

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Downtown Troy is within walking distance of my house. I'm not very familiar with Berlin other than it is east of Troy.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/06/2012

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Lisa and Janice now I have to ask, do either of you know where Berlin is? Because I have a friend over there, she used to live in Troy...



And that's all I have because aside from a few people from the Buffalo area there is no one here from around Rochester.

Janice - posted on 02/06/2012

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Wow, Lisa. Small world! Lol :)

I live in the tiny town of Green Island, 12 minutes north of Albany.

Do you still live up north now?

Minnie - posted on 02/06/2012

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Hey Janice, I was born in Schenectady, lived there until I was 12! Then we moved north of Saratoga. :)

Allison - posted on 02/06/2012

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I didn't let my oldest son play outside alone until he was four, even then it was only on the back porch and i checked on him every five minutes. if he left the porch he got told no, yelled at, time out/ spanking based on how many times he had left the porch and where he went. like when he left our yard and went into the garage, street, woods or neighbors who kept a kiddy pool outside for their dog he got spanked. when he just went underneath the porch, on the other side of the house, he got told no. i think under two is kind of young to let your child go unsupervised. i think three is too young. too much can happen so fast. we lived out in the country but more than once our old neighborhood had "creepers" who came through and talked to the kids and tried to convince them to get into the cars when i was growing up. i'm onlytwenty six. now we live in town and close to a main road. my younger son is about eighteen months. he will not be aloud to be outside alone until he is old enough to know the consequences of wandering away both in our family and outside of it. so much like his brother not until hes at least four if not older

Allison - posted on 02/06/2012

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I didn't let my oldest son play outside alone until he was four, even then it was only on the back porch and i checked on him every five minutes. if he left the porch he got told no, yelled at, time out/ spanking based on how many times he had left the porch and where he went. like when he left our yard and went into the garage, street, woods or neighbors who kept a kiddy pool outside for their dog he got spanked. when he just went underneath the porch, on the other side of the house, he got told no. i think under two is kind of young to let your child go unsupervised. i think three is too young. too much can happen so fast. we lived out in the country but more than once our old neighborhood had "creepers" who came through and talked to the kids and tried to convince them to get into the cars when i was growing up. i'm onlytwenty six. now we live in town and close to a main road. my younger son is about eighteen months. he will not be aloud to be outside alone until he is old enough to know the consequences of wandering away both in our family and outside of it. so much like his brother not until hes at least four if not older

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/06/2012

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Sherri down in Washington state today they're having temps near 60F! Yesturday down in Vancouver it was the same thing. But now there may be another cold snap.



I just don't want to go up where my BIL is working. It's a balmy -27C/-15F in Ft Nelson,BC. They can have it!

Sherri - posted on 02/06/2012

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I am from NH and we have had virtually no snow and unseasonably warm temps. Like today it is almost 50 deg F. out. This is virtually unheard of.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/06/2012

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Janice, I'm from Rochester and the lack of snow is odd there too. Lake Ontario is either warming up or getting too cold to make lake effect snow too in both NY and ON. My mom says they've had more rain than snow this year I have a friend who also lives outside of Albany and last year she was hammered by snow, this year not so much. I think it's some consolation after the hurricane.



Here in the Okanagan we just have snow in the mountains. The only reason the out door rink downtown is open is because it's right on Okanagan lake so the lake breeze keeps everything cold. We've had low clouds covering the mountains here the past few days, but nothing but frost and temps around +6

Merry - posted on 02/06/2012

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Nope I don't know where the EC is :-(

We live on lake Michigan, right in between Milwaukee and Sheboygan.

Janice - posted on 02/05/2012

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I'm just outside of Albany, NY. We have had some very cold days but almost no snow. The lack of snow is not normal. I hate the winter too. The only snowfall this year was less than 2 inches and Daddy took Kadence out, not me. I actually though about this post on one unusually warm day in which I sent Kadence out. Gavin was sleeping and so I seized the opportunity to clean ;)

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/05/2012

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Laura, Rebecca and Anna, I live in central BC right now, we had a snap where the temp was -18C during the day, but we haven't had much cold weather either before or after. There's no snow and today we took the girls for a walk because there was no wind even with a temp of -2C. The only snow we have is in the mountains. I'm from Western NY and we had cold weather too, but according to my parents there isn't much snow down there this year.



During the summer DH and I let our 7 daughter play outside in the courtyard by herself and she always played in the backyard on her own.



My MIL is sometimes a spaz case, so she won't let our 7 year old in the front yard at her place. Even though she lives in a tiny village. I believe she is honestly worried she'll try to play chicken with a train or jump in the lake.

Jodi - posted on 02/05/2012

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Laura, what part of Wisconsin...I'm in the EC area (if you're near it, you'll know what EC is! lol) And we have a horrible time getting outside! The girls are crawling, but HATE being on the cold ground even with suits on. So, my mom comes over to help me get at least my 3 year old outside a couple times a week. I hate winter. lol

Anna - posted on 02/05/2012

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Rebecca and Laura: So so true. This is my first Michigan winter with kids. Snow, cold and ice make everything so much harder. I want to just stay at home, inside all the time. I know partly that's just life with a new baby but a part of it is also the weather. I can't imagine twins Rebecca.



So yeah, I guess I know that close adult supervision at all times is best, at least at this age when the kids are so young. But being outside is such a huge benefit too. If I only had a fence I would totally be sending them outside all the time. Keeping them couped up just seems wrong.

Merry - posted on 02/05/2012

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Wisconsin too :(

My 2.5yr old has barely gotten outside this winter even with the unusually warm weather!

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Anna: Winter in Michigan is the worst with small kids. My 3 YOs really need to go out everyday, but I agree it's tough to go out with a baby. My babies are crawling right now and it's hard to contain them outside!

Anna - posted on 02/04/2012

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My oldest son is 3 my daughter is 21 months and I just had a baby boy. It's winter here in Michigan and I would love to have a fenced in backyard so that I could send the older ones out while I stayed in with the baby. We have lots of big windows so I would be able to watch them from inside. As it is, they don't get much fresh air I'm afraid. It's just too cold for a baby outside and even wearing him doesn't work well when you think about playing in the snow.



We do have a screened in front porch and they play out there sometimes. They have some balls and stuff to throw around and it's good for letting energy out and being loud. Not the same as a 'real' backyard though. We do have a bunch of space that backs up to the woods and a river. I would have loved a yard like that as a 10 year old. But unless we get a privacy fence, which is unlikely, it will be a while before I'm comfortable having the kids out there without supervision.

Amie - posted on 02/04/2012

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Yes, but we live on an acreage. Our yard is huge and no matter where I am in the house, there's big windows that I can look out to see them. I don't leave our dog outside with them, except if our oldest is with her or we are with them. She listens to each of the kids but our oldest does the best with her. It's to protect the kids and our dog.



When we were in the city our oldest two (7 & 11 now) were playing on our block with the neighbours kids since they were around 4. However, there was always a parent outside with them. Whether it was myself or one of the other childrens parents. If they went to someone's house, well we all had fenced backyards but there was always someone nearby. None of our animals were left with the kids alone then either.



There's a difference to outside and in the yard. It's why when there were kids IN the fenced yards parents were ok with being inside with their dogs. We all had windows that overlooked our backyards that opened so we could go about our business but still hear and see them playing. If they were outside running around, it was always supervised by someone.



My kids are now 2 (3 in march), 4 (5 in may), 7 1/2 and 11 1/2.

Denikka - posted on 02/04/2012

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I lived with my grandparents for just under a year when my son was 1yr 7mo until he was about 2.5yrs. They have porch that runs the length of the house. It's completely closed in, including a door to the front steps.

The entire time we lived there, he was allowed to play out there by himself. We'd go check on him every now and again, but other than that, he had the run to go out or come in as he pleased.

If I had a fenced backyard and a backdoor, I'd have no problem with it. My son is almost 3 now. My daughter is just over a year. I would have no problem letting them out in the backyard. I'd check up on them every now and again. Every 15 minutes or less I guess. But I see no reason to hover over them. If I have other stuff to do, I'm going to go do it. A fully fenced backyard would be about as safe as any other room in the house :)

Mary - posted on 02/04/2012

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Oh, Janice, I agree with you. Perverts, sickos, kidnappers - whatever - they've always been around. We just have more access to info through the many more types of media that exist these days. I don't think it's the threats that have necessarily increased - it's our awareness of them that is tenfold what it once was.



Obviously, you have to know your area, and there are absolutely some environments where letting a child out alone is beyond foolish.



And, yes, Laura - I often wish my dogs would just walk away from her sometimes, but they almost never do. This morning, my pit bull just sat there like an idiot on the kitchen floor while she was meticulously applying tiny little glittery stickers to his claws, being oh-so-careful to wrap them around. He still has two of them on right now ;)

Janice - posted on 02/04/2012

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I cant comment on any particular area because neighborhoods do change. However, in general it is not more dangerous now, we just perceive it to be because of increased access to media.

However, if I lived in what I perceived to be an unsafe neighborhood, I wouldn't do it either.

[deleted account]

No i still feel personally as the mother my two kids i would rather watch them at all times.I feel the times are changing and have changed from when i was young.There is more of a danger now.Speaking from my own personal opinion from my own surroundings and area in which i live.Things have gotten worse from when i was a kid.



I do feel however , you do what you feel is best for you..we all do things different.

Merry - posted on 02/04/2012

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Mary your dogs and daughter sound so similar to my son and cats. Gabriel the cat is just too sweet for his own good. Eric willtryto play with him and be waytoorough andgabriel will just sit there taking it. Even if Eric tries to 'help' Gabriel do stuff the cat just meows a pitiful cry for help and sits there letting Eric do whatever.

I have to save the cat a lot some days.

Now even from Fierna, she grabs tufts of hair and Gabriel just meows. She thinks it's funny!

He won't go hide either. Just sits there inthe open waiting to be mauled.

Jodi - posted on 02/04/2012

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Rachael, my daughter is the same way...except she likes to *take* people! She is notorious to taking a stranger by the hand or finger and saying "come here!" and taking them to show them a cool toy or something that has caught her interest! We keep a really close on eye on her when we're out!!!

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My son is 2 1/2 and I wouldn't let him play outside unsupervised because I live in a big city and it's just not safe. My apartment is high up and even if I lived in a house with a fenced in yard I wouldn't because if anything ever happened I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. My son is very friendly and would probably walk off with a stranger if they offered him candy.

Mary - posted on 02/04/2012

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Congrats, Becky!



Elfrieda, I'm jealous of Janice as well. Molly is by no means a clingy child, and has absolutely no issues being dropped off at preschool, or going off and playing with others. She takes off in those settings, and doesn't give me even a backwards glance. At home, however, she just doesn't want to let me be! She wants me to play with her all the freaking time. If other kids are outside, than she's all about ditching me to play with them, but by herself - nope - she wants a playmate.



I don't leave her and my dogs unattended. I trust them - but at 3, I don't really trust her not to hurt them unintentionally. It's never malicious on her part - but she doesn't always understand that trying to straddle my 10 y/o slightly arthritic pit is painful for him, or that when trying to put her her mittens on the ridgeback, you cannot bend his paw like that . Those fools are just too patient and tolerant for their own good.

Becky - posted on 02/03/2012

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Thanks Laura! He was born on the Jan. 25. His name is Adam Samuel John. That's him in my profile picture. :)

Janice - posted on 02/03/2012

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Elfrieda, my daughter is sooo independent. She is very cuddly, but also enjoys playing alone. I do play with her but sometimes its easier to get housework done while she is out. She is 27 months now. It is winter and so we dont go out as much now and sometimes when I let the dog out, she cries to go out too!

My niece (32 months) is like your son. She absolutely will not play alone. Its funny because sometimes she will be over and will follow me around or just stand next to me while I wash dishes. I'm like Go Play! :)

Stifler's - posted on 02/03/2012

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We have a really small yard. If his wading pool uis up I keep the door shut or go out with him when he's playing.

Jenni - posted on 02/03/2012

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My kids still don't play outside unsupervised. lol and my oldest two are 3.5 and 4.5. It's not because I feel uncomfortable with it or anything. Just because I like being outside so I'm usually out with them. My youngest is 20 months, I'm pretty sure I'd be comfortable letting her play with the older two alone but not so certain I'd be ok allowing her to play alone. I doubt she'd like it all that much anyways. She'd just bawl the moment she realized I wasn't going out with her.



I think if I were to give an appropriate age for playing outside alone, in my own opinion of course, I'd say at the earliest 2.5-3 years. I like to be on the far side of safe so I guess I tend to prolong such feats.



A lot depends of the individual child of course. I could see myself allowing my step daughter to play unsupervised, long before my son. Trouble seems to find him far more often than her.

Sherri - posted on 02/03/2012

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I am with you Janice I send the dog out with the kids too. He flips out if I try and keep him in and he can't be with his kids. I never worry that he will ever hurt them. Other than when they are in school he is never apart from them.

Elfrieda - posted on 02/03/2012

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Yes, I am gasping! How do you get her to play without you?



I don't let my son who is 25 months old play outside without me being there just because if I'm not nearby, he screams and cries. He loves being outside, though, so in the summer I gardened or read outside while he played. We don't have a fence, though we have many acres, so I would feel a little anxious about just leaving him out there all alone even if he was okay with it. I would think of turkey vultures and roaming dogs or coyotes or him wandering all the way to the road or to the ravine behind the house. If we had a trustworthy dog or something, I might feel better, but all we have is a cat that brings new meaning to the word "scaredy-cat".



I can see in your situation, with the dog to keep an eye on her and the fence to keep her contained, why you would feel good about letting her play outside by herself.

Celeste - posted on 02/03/2012

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My daughter is 9, and she plays with her friends down the street. They hang out in the corner yard between 2 neighbors. She's been doing this since she was 8.



My twin boys are 5, and they play in the back yard by themselves, and I let them do that probably around 3ish or so.

Becky - posted on 02/03/2012

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I let my older boys - 2 1/2 and 4 -play outside alone in the backyard, and have since we moved in here almost 2 years ago. (Well, at that point, the youngest wasn't walking yet, so he couldn't be outside alone, but I let Cole out there.) The 10 day old, no, he stays in with me, lol. :) Our yard is fully fenced with a 6 ft. privacy fence and there are neighbors all the way around, so the chances of someone coming into the yard are slim. I stay on the main floor in either the living room or kitchen, where I can always see them out the window, and leave the backdoor open so they can come in and out and I can hear them. There aren't really any hazards in our yard and the things that could happen - falling off the playcentre ladder or getting stung by a bee, could just as easily happen if I were outside sitting on the deck, and it'd only take me maybe 5 seconds longer to get to them if something were to happen and I was in the kitchen than if I"m outside.

There are certain things I don't let them do alone outside - play in the wading pool and drive their powerwheels jeep (mainly because they drive it into my garden if I'm not watching!), but otherwise, I'm comfortable letting them be outside alone for a while. Once this little one is walking and I'm confident in his climbing abilities - since we do have a playcentre with a ladder - he will be allowed out there with them too.

Merry - posted on 02/03/2012

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If I had a fenced in backyard where you couldn't see through it or over it I'd let my kids out as soon as they wanted! That's my dream yard. 6ft high, staggered slats soyou can't see through and then bushes on the inside and hopefully outside of the fence.



Yes I'd let my son outside in such a yard alone and yes I'd trust my dog with him.

No you can't ever trust a dog 100% but I would trust India enough to leave her alone with Eric outside. I'd keep a door open and watch through the door or window obviously.

Kate CP - posted on 02/03/2012

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Wow...you can never been 100% certain a dog will do ANYTHING. It's a dog. You have no idea what might set it off, even at a distance.

Janice - posted on 02/03/2012

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If my yard wasnt fenced or if there was water than I would not allow my daughter outside by herself. If we stay in this apt she will be at least 6 before she could be out front alone, but hopefully we will buy a house before then.



As for the dog, I'm much less worried about them outside together than in. The dog keeps his distance and can run much faster so she doesnt really get a chance to be be close enough to be bit. I am 100% confident that the dog whose 9 will not just flip a switch and charge after her. Inside though Kadence is often trying to climb on the dog and he cant get away in our apt. I could see the dog getting fed up and biting in that scenario. She is in time out almost daily for being too rough with dog.

Kate CP - posted on 02/03/2012

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I let my daughter play outside alone in our fenced in back yard. We have a privacy fence and it's pad locked, no pool, nothing really dangerous outside...pretty safe. I do check on her constantly through the windows, though. I know the chances of her disappearing are slim but I'm still paranoid about it. :/

Krista - posted on 02/03/2012

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I can see myself letting mine play outside unattended when he's around 5 or 6, depending on his maturity level. And his swimming skills. If he's a comfortable enough swimmer to not panic in the water and to be able to do a basic float and front crawl, then I'll be okay with him being out there unsupervised. Otherwise, no way.

[deleted account]

I should add that IF I lived someplace w/ a fenced yard I would have zero issues w/ my kids playing outside alone, but when the girls were under 4... we had a parking lot for a front yard and a parking lot for a back yard. And now we live here where kids aren't 'allowed' to be unsupervised.

[deleted account]

My kids have only had a 'yard' (actually a large 'farm') to play in when the girls were 4-6... they were out there all the time unattended, but had limits of where they were allowed to go.



They (started around 7-8, now 10) play outside here all the time, but their brother (almost 4) is only allowed to be outside if they are too.

Chelsey - posted on 02/03/2012

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My girls played outside by themselves starting last summer. They were 2 and 4. We live on an acerage so theres no fence. Put a little flag about halfway up our front lawn and told them they couldnt go past it because we live on a fairly busy gravel road. Funny thing is the dog (chocolate lab) wouldnt let them get within 10 ft of the perimeter. They were only left by themselves for 5-10 minutes at a time if i was changing out the laundry or making lunch etc.

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