How old is OK to let a kid go run around the neighborhood with a gang of kids?

Katrina - posted on 08/03/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My son is nearly 7. We just moved to a neighborhood where a lot of boys run around outside all day playing with each other. He's been invited to go with them this afternoon to a place 2 1/2 blocks from here where the street has been dug up and all teh kids play in the sand. These seem like polite and responsible kids, and the location is in front of a store where the parents of one of his friends work. There are always adults around, albeit strangers doing their own thing. I think I can count on him to be responsible and also not let the other kids push him into doing anything TOO dangerous. How old have you folks'kids been at this juncture?

20 Comments

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Nelly - posted on 09/04/2011

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my kids are 16, 14, 12 and 10 yr old i would never let them unsupervised until they were 13

Sherri - posted on 09/02/2011

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I personally think he is much to young and wouldn't allow it for quite a few more years. I personally don't think children should be without adult supervision especially children so young.

Amanda - posted on 09/01/2011

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my children r aged from 4 to 11. my 7 year old and my 10 and 11 year old play in the new block with their friends as i know where they are and can check on them. we have moved a lot too. we lived her nearly 3 years b4 i decided i could let them out. i only did because new kids moved in and they r the same age as mine. its ok to let him out if u can see him or check him. make sure u get to know the kids first as ur child could easily get into trouble if he is with kids older that can lead him astray.

Rebecca - posted on 08/18/2011

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I suppose it depends how old they are, 9-10 or how this gang behave? is prob about the right age to be able to play out alone or with mates.

Joy - posted on 08/16/2011

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My little kids are 9 and 10 and I have just started allowing them to go outside alone for short periods of time (well, together but without me or a grown up). I have a small fear of things happening and no one being able to explain to me whatever the situation may have been so I'd just rather have them really close to home where I or a neighbor can see them. You never know what kind of games kids can play with a pile of dirt where almost anything can happen!! Ok..I'm still weening myself away from the kids!!

Katrina - posted on 08/16/2011

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Well, we finally DO have a yard. Miniscule by American standards but pretty big for here. And yes, not to worry, this is not the time or place, it's become clear. He can go to the playground in the middle of teh courtyard where we can see him, he can play in the yard, and once he has local friends he can go there (by himself if it's on our block, with me or his father or an adult from the other home if it's not).

Maryna - posted on 08/16/2011

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It think it is good for children to have friends. They do however need to be supervised.
I myself however will never allow it. There are just too many dangers. Kidnaping, getting hit my a vehicle, getting into trouble due to peer pressure.
If the kids want to play and enjoy themselves, our yard is nice and big and kids are welcome.

Katrina - posted on 08/12/2011

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Yeah, I watched the dynamics here for a bit and I think to the playground I can see if I open the front door or lean to the far corner of the window is as far as I'll let this go. Luckily, some of his friends are starting to get back from vacation and the trampoline has arrived.

Janet - posted on 08/12/2011

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Just be aware that's all and if you do let him why don't you take a walk and discreetly watch what they are doing to see if they are doing the wrong from afar. I for one would like to meet these kids parents and that's what I did.

B Rae - posted on 08/08/2011

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I would say if you let him know the rules. Give him a watch with a amount of time to check in. He will do fine but if he pushes the limits be strong So he will not push you into a corner

Katrina - posted on 08/05/2011

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Well, at this point we've decided we definitely do not know the people around here well enough, and I also think the parents are NOT being attentive; I just took the puppy around the corner to the grassy bit and found a kid who couldn't have been more than 7 playing with 2 four-ish-year-olds and a toddler. No parent in sight. It seems there is a lot of reliance on siblings who are in my opinion not old enough. Also, some of the other kids have now been forbidden to go to the sand area because it's "filthy"... that in Dutch means more than just dusty or something, it means icky, foul. So no, he won't be going there. Further there have been now a couple of verbal hazing incidents while he was at the playground we can see out the window, which tells me that there are some bad eggs.... I had a talk with my son and explained that he can't go off the plein-- the area where the playground is-- except to come home, but that this is not because of anything to do with him, it is because I and his father need to know the area, the parents, and the kids a lot better before we could consider it at all. He seems to understand. Now if my !@#!!! well-meaning neighbor hadn't told him he can go through their back gate "anytime he wants" and play in their above-ground pool, we might be into some smooth sailing. But instead I have to explain several times a day that although that was very kind of the guy, my son may NOT just invade a stranger's garden at whim, that the pool is too deep anyway even if I stay there with him (he doesn't have his A-diploma yet in the swimming), and that it's, in short, just not going to happen. That early-birthday-present trampoline cannot arrive soon enough. Luckily one of his best friends will be back from their Mallorca vacation tomorrow, so we can get them together and that'll take a lot of pressure off the poor kid.

Debbie - posted on 08/05/2011

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I still keep my 7 year old close unless he is w/a parent I know. You could go with him and the kids, to see this site and what they do on it. To not embarrasse him, just tell him you will be a spectator watching them build sand sculptures or whatever they do. No real interaction with them, just observing. It's so you can get a feel for what goes on at this sand pit.

Felicia - posted on 08/05/2011

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Definitely not at 7. Mine is 12 & I don' have my leash out that far in unfamiliar areas with unacquainted people around,The other kids "SEEM" responsible?? That should be part of your own answer there.

Tracie - posted on 08/05/2011

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I would not let my almost 7 year old boy go off unsupervised unless there were some other kids with him that are 9 or 10. If not, I would absolutely make sure one of the moms or myself is somewhere in sight and supervising enough to not miss any stupid ideas that come up. My son is a smart boy but does not share the same caution that older kids do. I would also be a bit concerned about someone snatching him. There is something to say about safety in numbers as long as they always stay together... but my boy would probably leave the pack to pet a stranger's dog or something else that I haven't thought of warning him about.

Katrina - posted on 08/05/2011

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Scouts are arranged differently over here. There is a fee and it's non-negotiable, but it's only 120 Euros for an entire year so we'll see. There usually IS a waiting list, up to a few years, I'm told, but it also depends on which troop in which area. We live on a quiet back streey with any major roads a few blocks away. I don't get a deep sense of community here yet but most folks seem really friendly, and having a puppy of 11 weeks does help us meet people, I tell you. Our little one is nowadays VERY traffic-conscious... because when he was 5 he was with my neighbor while I was at work, she was taking him to school with her kids, and he ran into the street straight into the side of a huge SUV. His leg was shattered below the knee. Thank goodness there was no permanent damage-- scars are unimportant. So anyway, he is downright paranoid about crossing the street now, and I approve of that-- he won't even cross if there's a bicycle two blocks away. But I have vetoed the going without me or his dad except to the playground I can see out the window. The backyard is different-- it's all row houses here so the yard is long and narrow and entirely visible out the back windows (including the back LR window), and has a high fence and is only accessible via the house or the locked back gate. But he gets bored playing alone. Where we lived before the neighbor had a huge trampoline and all the kids could just go play on it; he was almost never anywhere else. So (shhhh!) we've decided to use some of his savings (acquired when we were chucked off an overbooked plane when he was 2 an din compensation they gave us enough money to start an account that now pays for his judo, swimming lessons, other really vital stuff we can't afford normally) to get him a 1.8 meter trampoline with safety net and so on. His birthday is next month but we're prdering it right away because the weather here turns brutal by late September, and we want him to get plenty of use out of it before he has to wear three pairs of socks and two sweaters and mittens to be out there on it. That should make the back yard more attractive!

Carol - posted on 08/05/2011

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We just recently moved into a new neighborhood too. I think the HOA had a requirement to have kids 7 & 9 to move in. My boys were 7 & 10, so we snuck in. They have come out of the woodwork to play. I love the neighborhood and the kids and the moms. They all seem to work together watching over eachother's kids. No one seems to watch the kids too much or too little. At least half the moms warned me about the one druggy family around the block. All the kids, including mine, know to stay away and rat eachother out if they go near that house. I have allowed my 7 y.o. to go as far as half a block away on his own to a friend's house. A lot of parents get walkie talkies and the kids take them everywhere. That way we can check on the beasts as often as we like. That said, there are no woods or main thoroughfares here. I think I'd feel differently if I lived on a main road. We live at the corner of 2 cul-de-sacs and there's no way out except past my house.
Don't wait on the scouts! There shouldn't be a waiting list, just sign up. I've lived in a really poor town and a pretty affluent town - both help out on the application fee. It should be free if you can't afford it. I love the CubScout program in both towns. Get involved. It's usually as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids.

Katrina - posted on 08/04/2011

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Oh, and I'm looking into how long the waiting list is for the local scouting trip. That sort of thing should be just the ticket.

Katrina - posted on 08/04/2011

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I'm hoping to do a lot more with the neighborhood folks here. We'll see. The thing is, my son didn't get to grow up with a normal dynamic; we had to move a lot (now we've been in the new house for 3 weeks and THIS time we can stay 10 years or more! Yay! But this was the 5th move since I was pregnant. The first four moves were within the first three years though.) Anyway, he's been surrounded by kids getting to play outside in groups but hasn't been friends with those kids because once he was old enough to start fitting into a dynamic he lived far away from his (excellent) school and also we didn't live on the ground floor and only had a deck. Now we live MUCH closer to the school and on the ground floor with a garden, and he's jealous of these groups playing. That said, I talked with a couple of the other kids and their moms and have decided that no, we do NOT know the people here well enough to send him off with these kids, but we ARE comfortable with him going alone half a block to the playground I can see out the window. When school starts again we'll be able to find out which kids we live near-- if we haven't bumped into them by then-- from his school and all will be better. I do think, now that we've been observing the dynamic, that most of the kids here are left too much to themselves.

Teresa - posted on 08/04/2011

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I think I poste don another one of your converstaions. My son is 7 and he isn't allowed anywhere I can't see him. We do alot of activities with other children and where parent and child are involved.

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