When is a toddler old enough to be semi unsupervised?

It is nearly impossible for a mom to keep a close eye on a toddler 24/7. When do you think a toddler is old enough to be left semi-unsupervised for short periods of time?

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40  Answers

5 21

how did this turn into a conversation about eating when the question was clearly asked about a toddler being semi unsupervised?!!

To answer THAT question. My daughter is 3 1/2 and I have semi supervised her since the time she was about 2 1/2. I feel that children need time to themselves as well, instead of a parent always hoovering around. They will become more independent, and learn some things for themselves instead of someone telling them what to do, how to do it, etc.
I layed down basic boundaries and she follows them. She knows what is right and what is wrong. Talk to your child about it. Let them know what will happen, lay down rules, check in, in a sneaky way every so often and let them be.
I don't however agree with this same style for being outside. I think there is too many other things for them to get into outside than inside that could hurt them. Plus the danger of other people, cars, dogs, etc. I always keep a close eye on her while outside.

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81 15

I remember answering this question and I also remember answering one question about food... So I believe that somehow the site mixed up the two conversations.... weird!!!

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7 14

My opinion is that it truly depends on the temperment of the child. Some children are able to play independently without worry of exploration into danger while other children are getting into dangerous situations from the moment they wake up (anyone have the child at 2 who is heading to the kitchen at 6am to make his own breakfast?) until the moment they go to sleep and then you have the "average" kids who fall somewhere in between.

There is no "age" to be old enough ~ just know your child and if (s)he can entertain themselves in a room without direct supervision while you are in another room doing something.

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18 80

I was going to say the same thing. Soem kids are very rowdy..or...exploratory..w/e...you know...and it's not a very good idea to leave them alone for almost ANY amound of time. Then you have the kids who are kind of "mature for their age" if you want to call it that. Mine is that. She just turned 3 bust is one of the best behaved children I have EVER met b/c of her temperment and other things. I feel completely comfortable with leaving her alone...probably more than another mother would feel comfortable about...and then there's the ones who are middle ground...it's per child.

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5 3

I dont know if I have a different idea of waht semi unsupervised is, but I have always let my kids play what I classify as semi-unsupervised. Our back section is baby proofed and fully secured so I have no worries of them escaping. They have toys, bikes and a sand pit that they love to play in so they are good as gold out there. I am often inside doing jobs while they are out there playing, this includes my baby who has been doing this since winter finshed, and he started crawling with real confidence (around 9 months old). I have the door open and pop in and out and Ive never had any major issues, only small bumps and bruises which can happen if I am hovering too. In the house they also play by themselves while I am doing my things and again I only have to intervene if they start having fights over a toy or the like. I like to encourage independant play as I believe this is just as important to thier growth and learning as adult directed play.

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14 3

my son is 3 1/2 he's always preferred to play on his own so from a young age we've kept an eye on him, but let him play his way. but in saying this if you hear something that doesn't sound right then it's best to go check. My son broke his arm six weeks ago and everyone kept asking why we weren't there to stop it from happening, and all i could say was 'he'd just gone into his room from playing in the lounge room, he'd been in there about 2mins probably less, but had decided to jump on the bed.' most kids would learn their lesson with the pain of that but the day we got him home from hospital he was back at it. we still haven't uped how much we watch, he has to learn for himself and he won't do that if we're always there. Hope you can figure out what's right for you and you're toddler.

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44 20

I agree about listening for trouble. My nearly-4-year-old was very quiet painting in the garden the other day so I popped out for a look. Our normally white German Shepherd was now a rather fetching red and yellow! Luckily it was only water paint so came off fairly easily.

54 12

I think it has less to do with age and more to do with how well your child understands boundries. My son has had little bouts of alone time since before he was two. Time includes when I shower, taking out the trash, running to the car, feeding the dogs in the garage, talking to a neighbor, etc. He spends time playing alone in his room a lot. Things to take into account would be if they're a "sneaky" kid.. always getting into something the minute they're alone, severe separation anxiety.. if they freak out the minute you leave, or if you know there are certain things in your house that might be considered unsafe. Whenever he is left to have his time he will usually come "check in with me" periodically or will come ask for my help when he needs it. My guess is if you're asking this question you're probably both ready. Start with little things and build up. Cultivating their independence early on will benefit both of you in the long run. It may also open your eyes to some lessons that still need some work if you aren't always right there to step in too. Like if you come back to find they've gone straight for and emptied your office junk drawer etc. Just keep safety in mind and you can always have a refresher in certain rules if you need to before they're given that alone time. Hope this helped and good luck! Its good for them to start learning how to make good choices on their own. ;)

5
33 0

I don't know. I never thought about leaving a toddler unsupervised. I of course let them play in their room by themselves and checked on them often from the time they slept in a real bed and not a crib.

But they were not allowed to play outside without me.

I see a lot of little kids outside playing in the streets not paying attention to traffic... so I guess I am old school in this too, lol.

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4 87

Does everyone define Unsupervised in a different way then me? If you can;t see them then they are unsupervised, so playing in your room alone fits that category....

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10 15

This all depends on how good you child proofing is done. And a few min here and there is good but you need to feel out your child I have one out of 3 that was good with some unsupervised time the others just got into fights! Trial and error.

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2 0

A child should never be unsupervised, but on that note...my daughter plays in her room alone (nothing in there that can hurt her) but I check on her about every 10mins to make sure everything is okay. Usually she will bring her toys into the living room and play where I can see her - the living room is right outside her bedroom door. She is never outside alone. Gabrielle is 17 months old and knows her boundaries, so we let her do as much as possible for herself for that since of freedom but we are never far away to help when/if she needs it.

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2 0

sense**

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2 30

My guy is 19 months old and is semi-unsupervised....but this also leads me to chasing him out of the bathrooms (we have lever door handles...not easy to child-proof)...and running around after him constantly picking up things. Now that he is taller and better at climbing and more balanced, I can trust him to be on the couches and not come crashing down...I literally just gave in and baby-proofed the kitchen where I could so that saves me a TON of stress relief. I am very fortunate to have a large, railed in (of course) deck where he can't get down from and we have tons of toys out there for him and now that he's older and can safely go down his slide, he can be out there 100% unsupervised as long as the BBQ isn't on.

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6 10

About the door handles. I also have lever door handles and have found baby proof devices at BUY BUY BABY. They slide over the handles and have worked great for my 2 year old. My inlaws even had trouble getting into them.

29 0

What does "Semi unsupervised" mean? Do what you feel is safe.

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4 87

I feel like unsupervised means you can not see them. i am unclear what Semi means. un·su·per·vised adjective /ˌənˈso͞opərˌvīzd/ 1. Not done or acting under supervision * - unsupervised visits * - a safe garden where children may play unsupervised 2. (of a person) Not watched over in the interest of their or others' security * - roaming, unsupervised youths pose a threat

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344 44

when they are old enough to understand right from wrong and when u tell them to do something they listen.

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0 7

I have twins and i've been doing semi supervised with them since they were born. not constantly obviously but the living room is fully childproofed and my biggest concern is that they don't eat eachother- which wasn't really an issue til 9 mo anyways when Julian could crawl. If no one is screaming and it's not dead quiet you know it's ok.

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0 9

My son is only 16 months and although I don't leave him "unsupervised" I would say that I leave him "semi unsupervised." I will go into the kitchen by myself to wash dishes or make dinner or something and he will play in the living room by himself. We've got a large window between the two rooms so I can always look out and see him and all the doors in the house are closed so he can't really get into anything he's not supposed to. Playing by themselves is important for their development and imaginations. Mommies aren't the only ones that need a little alone time.

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77 2

How did this turn into a discussion on feeding?

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1 3

depend on how mature you feel your child is...Laila moves too much and gets into everything, so she still has awhile :-)

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1,840 0

I suppose it depends what you mean by semi-unsupervised. Our girls played outside as toddlers in the backyard, but we lived in a town house at the time. The yard was fenced, smaller than your average basement rec room, and you could hear what was happening in the yard from every room in the house. Where we live now, you can't hear the backyard at all from inside the house, and you can't really see the backyard from inside the house either. Our youngest was close to 3.5 or 4 before he'd play outside all by himself, but I consider this backyard to be more of an unsupervised area than a semi supervised area.

Even as babies I guess our kids were semi-supervised in the house because they would often crawl off and go to play in a room that didn't have an adult in it.

Our kids definitely got (and continue to get) into stuff as semi-supervised kids... but I think it's been really valuable for them. I know that I'm very much inclined to curtail play because it's annoying, messy, or scary to watch if I'm present even though it isn't _really_ a problem. Having the freedom to explore helps kids to learn their own limits... even though closer supervision would have certainly meant fewer messes, injuries, and mishaps.

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82 0

I usually let my child run wild at home and only strictly supervise her when visiting. I mentioned this before but I know that the more noise my daughter makes, the more I know she is fine. When she gets quiet is when she is up to no good. I have read in others comments about eating, I use let her snack while I was cleaning or in another room, but no longer I do that since she had a choking incidence and the ambulance had to be called. Other than that independence has to be self taught almost. You sure don't want your children to be totally dependent on you and living with you at 30!

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0 0

I think the environment is the key.... I used to use a "play yard" which is basically just a gated area ...and I depending on the size of your child the "play pen" is another good option...It depends on alot..how big is your child, Are they climbers and so forth. But other thinks like swings, and the saucers keep them busy and contained. Your question is a good one, but I don't think anyone can say yes without knowing what is in the area. Are dad's work tools nearby? and so forth? My child is 9 and she continues to go into areas that she should not. I have alarms on cabinets and so forth and I can lock closets and the hallway door which prevents going into sections of the house where she can sneak.

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7 13

Once you can ensure:
The environment you leave them in is free of anything that can harm them...
You can hear them if there are any problems...
Two basic and common sense rules... this might apply at age 2-6...you as a mother must know your child and know the environment that they are in and take action accordingly....be it check on them every 5 mins or every 15 mins...or every hour...I once left my son age 2, happy on my bed with 'baby tv' on to distract him; went to take out the laundry, 10 mins or under late returned to discovered him chewing the remote control on the bedside table...he probably still has a square inch of plastic in him......every child is different...monitor them, police them, they are going to do things that make you go OMG!...create the space for them, they will be happy.

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177 7

I allowed my children to be independent as they felt comfortable. They were always allowed to go play in the other room by themselves. with in reason. I learned with my first one to check in on them from time to time, but I also learned that usually disrupts their play. As long as the room they are in is safe for them there is no reason why they can't play unsupervised. They may make a mess, but that is part of learning.

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177 7

You asked for an age, my kids started venturing off to play when they were about 15 months old. They did fine most of the time.

0 0

Leaving a child semi supervised really depends upon the child and what he/she is doing and how far away an adult is. I left my children from the day they were born in a crib while I went to the toilet, babies don't need constant supervision. Toddlers are slightly different. If I was cooking tea and my children were doing a jigsaw then I would leave them in the room adjacent to the kitchen. I would never have left them, even for a second in the bathroom. They were allowed to sit in the kitchen banging saucepans while I read a magazine - when it went quiet I knew they were doing something different. From the age of 11 months my son wanted to be outside. Our garden was safe and secure and we had a dog, who would have alerted us to anybody, so the backdoor was often left open of him to come and go as he pleased. I didn't have locks on my kitchen cupboards because the children were told not to go in the cupboard under the sink. The biggest danger I had was that my son was very tall and at 12 months could easily reach the worktops. My daughter needed more supervision because she was not only a climber, but also a stacker and would stack boxes etc in order to reach things that one would assume was out of reach.

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454 0

humm.. depends on the child and the parent..

My daughter (24mths) can run amuck in the house without me being in the same rooms as her as long as the following conditions are met:

All doors to other rooms other than hers are closed..including bathrooms (especially)
The back door is locked
The front door is locked
And she has a snack within reaching distance of her...

I can be on the computer or in the kitchen cooking or on the phone and I know she's safe without being right in front of me..

It's been working for the last 6 mths..

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1 0

I have no helper for a month now. So whether I like it or not, I have to leave my 2 and 3mos year old semi unsupervised at times ( for instance when I am cooking) She can go up and down the stairs. I just make sure the rooms are closed where there are unsafe materials. I have nothing to worry about the hallway because it is empty. She can also be left playing. I just make sure there are no small pieces of toys in which she can swallow. So I think 2 and up is ok. Just leave the surrounding safe for your child ( no sharp objects around, no wet floors etc) Believe in your instinct too as to when you need to give her a glimpse of checking. Good luck!

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0 2

depends on the parent and toddler. my 2 and half yr old daughter goes and plays n the fenced n front yard while i leave doors open and clean my house, i check on her every couple minutes but she does great and i get my house clean.

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11 20

Depends on the child and the area, but my almost 4 year old (July) is allowed short stints outside 10 minutes alone. We are however WAY in the country surrounded by good neighbors and local only traffic on a dirt road. We review the "rules" before she goes outside. If she breaks a rule she can't go outside for 1 day the first time, 2 days the 2nd time, etc. Today we reached 3 days. She picked some of my flowers (I own a nursery).

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7 28

My daughter is very independent. I let her play alone in her room or playroom all the time. There isn't anything she can hurt herself with in there. I check on her often, but I trust her to play with her toys. I have a newborn also, so it's nice that my toddler is so indepedent.

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6 12

With my daughter it started around 1 1/2 when she would get tired of being with her baby brother and would go into her room and play in there by herself. The door would be open and I could see her from the living room but she would be in there on her own. Sam on the other hand would actually cry like he was tired and I would put him in his crib and he would play quietly in there for a little while and has done that since he was about a year. He is the one who will actually tell us now at 4 1/2 that he needs some space to be alone and has been doing that for over a year. I think each child dictates on their own when they are ready for some semi unsupervised time. For both of my kids it was around 1/ 1 1/2.

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1 12

My son is 3 1/2 and from the time he was born and able to sit/lay and play by himself I've let him. Once he began crawling we closed doors or if it wasn't safe for him to be wandering around we put him in his exersaucer. Now we live in an apartment that has a huge fenced in backyard. It spans across the back of the 8-10 units but since I don't know all the tenants really well with the exception of our neighbor, I tell him he is not allowed to go past a light pole that is on the edge of our neighbor's apartment. And I leave the back door open so I can hear him playing. He has even told my husband that he isn't allowed to go past the pole because mommy says so. He is very independent. I do have to Peek in when he's been quiet for a while in his room because I have found him on top of his dresser twice. However I believe the spankings he's received for that have cured him of that. So while it does depend on the child and parent I believe that if the room/area is safe for your child to explore without you watching their every move, let them do it!! You will thank yourself because then they will not feel the constant need to be by your side all day every day. I love spending time with my son but I'm so very glad he is independent because it allows me time to do what I need to and some time alone. I also believe it will help when he begins preschool in the fall because he won't be used to being by my side all day.

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17 6

My son will be 3 in june. I leave him for 5 minutes tops (do a load of laundry, go to the bathroom, do the dishes)...at first he would get into things and tear things apart...now he knows better and sits still and plays or watches tv. it really depends on your child though

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9 56

I think there are a lot of variables to this question that make it hard to give a answer that fits every child. I have 4 kids, and each with a different personality. My eldest was so intelligent and independent, that by 18 months I could explain that he needed to plan alone in his room and he did great! However, my next 3 kids, not so much. The problem is that they get in trouble together - with 4 they are never without an accomplice! Even at that, by the time they are about 2 1/2 to 3, I think they have all been fine (with all the normal safety precautions, of course) and like most other moms said, "it's good for them!"

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6 21

I would love to be able to leave my "almost" 3 yr old to play independantly, but unfortunately I can't leave him alone for a second... I have tried everything from travel cots, to large playpens, even covered ones, to enable me to just do housework and pop back and fore to check on him and keep him interested in play... but he managed to figure an escape out of everything. If I leave him alone to just use the toilet he is playing with things that are breakable or climbing up on bunkbeds, pulling things over, and generally exploring the most dangerous areas he can fit his grubby little hands into... He knows what the word no means, but chooses to ignore it :)
My other children however were fine, able to play alone and quite happy to let me do the housework, and learned quite well what No means and once told they very rarely broke the rules..

So I completely agree with Barbara Beilin-Rhoads, it really does depend on the child.

I wish you better luck than I am having :D

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0 0

Try letting him help you. Maybe he resents being away from you or being left out of what he sees as something exciting. Let him help with baking a cake, let him wash up his own plastic plate etc (maybe in the garden in a washing up bowl), let him make music with kitchen implements. if it is vital he stays where he is put then it sounds like he needs training - like a dog. Tell him you are going to play a game.You are going to leave him and he has to try to stay as still as possible. Count down - 3,2,1, turn your back for 2 seconds and turn to face him. If it was successful extend the time gradually, then leave the room (but go back to 2 seconds) and gradually extend the period you leave him. Every success should be rewarded - sultanas are a healthy treat, you could use 1 for each second you left him. When it reaches too many he may be bake to have a special pudding, or similar.

13 0

It all depends on the child/how they were raised. My daughter is almost 4 and able to be semi unsupervised since 2-2 and 1/2. If a child still sticks small stuff in their mouth, probably shouldn't be unsupervised. If the house isn't child friendly, probably shouldn't be unsupervised. She has been going potty by herself for almost 2 years, always has a water bottle around and plenty of books and toys to occupy her. I can easily be in my room doing homework or work for an online class while she does her thing. Obviously I don't expect her to do this all the time, I enjoy doing things with her as well!

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13 0

I think it's semi unsupervised as opposed to hovering, like you see at the play places at the mall... Lol

6 16

As an early childhood educator, we are taught to never leave a toddler unsupervised. As a parent, I kept a close eye on my kids until they were 4 or 5. 2 and 3 year olds, no matter how mature, are not able to understand consequences for their actions. It only takes a second for a child that age to put something in their mouth, try to crawl up something unsafe, etc. If I wasn't in the same room with my child, briefly, I always listened so I was aware what they were doing. Thankfully, that helped keep them safe!!

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32 0

my son is about to be 4 years old......he plays in his room alone and i will be in the living room or kitchen......this is obviously considered unsupervised as i cannot see him....i can hear him or hear if he got hurt of course and i check on him every 5-10 mins...usually i can hear him moving and scuffling around...when i don't hear anything is when i will def check the room but it is that he is just playing quietly....as a stay at home mom i obviously have to clean and cook etc so there will be times that my child needs to entertain himself.....i think at 3 yrs old it is okay to allow them some "unsupervised" time in their room....from 1 yr to 2 yrs old i worry about them falling as their walk is not perfected yet...def not left alone in kitchen or room where they can really hurt themselves.

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0 0

Check your son/ daughter whether they are ready to listern your instructions & follow accordingly. If they can, then you can try to let them play alone with semi supervision. In the begining be away from your child vision, but he/ she need to be under your vision. If they behave as you told, then that is the age.

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24 42

LOL-I only left them semi-unsupervised if I had to go to the bathroom, run down to the basement to thru in a load of laundry etc. Where they were semi unsupervised for about 2-4 mins. I would go to the bathroom with the door slightly open so that I can hear everything & when I was doing laundry it was while they were napping. When they were about 3 years old then I would let them play in their room semi unsupervised with the door wide open & I was always in hearing distance.
It depends on how your child is-how safe your house is. What you consider a short period of time.

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0 23

I agree with most of you. If you know your child's behavior enough you know whether they can play "semi-unsupervised" as long as they are in a safe play environment. Kids need to figure stuff out without a parent there to constantly interject on their every move. My sister is a social worker though and FYI but states have laws regarding unsupervised children and ages that could possibly be accused of neglect or worse if a child is outside without an adult. Might want to just check your state laws and be aware.

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0 7

My son is about to be three and has been left unsupervised for short time periods since he was about one. I hate waiting until after my LO goes to bed just to shower so if my hubby has to work late I will turn on my baby's favorite cartoon(which is DVR'd) and he sits on the couch and doesn't move. I've been lucky to find a show on TV that my baby will drop everything he is doing to watch. My baby also plays alone in his room for periods of time. I think some parents are so overbearing when it comes to their kids. I don't really believe that I need to be standing over my kid all the time when we are in the house!

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24 11

As a preschool teacher, I will say that at whichever age you feel you can give your child some semi unsupervised time, the key is safety. If your child is in a safe location, like a play room with no climbable shelves and a gate on the door so they don't wander away and only large toys to avoid choking, then your child will probably be ok. They best way to start is to create a safe location and let your child stay there for the short time it takes you to use the bathroom. Tell them "Mommy will be right back. I just have to use the bathroom." (or whatever words you use) Then come right back. This will help your child get used to you being away from him/her which will help with babysitters and preschool and it will help you know how much time he/she can be alone. Good luck!

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0 5

As a single mom, my son (now 4) has been left alone for varying amounts of time since he was born. Of course, all age appropriate (in crib, swing, bouncer, playing). Now he's pretty much got run of the house, but he knows most boundaries. I do let him go in our backyard by himself. Wherever he is, he's too antsy to be by himself for long, so we check on each other regularly.

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