At what age should you let your child play outside by themselves?

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Kansas - posted on 08/01/2011

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I honestly think it depends on your housing situation. I don't live in a neighborhood per se, but my next door neighbor and my backyard neighbor both have kids that my 8 year old loves to play with. The kids are 3, 5 and 7 (and my 8 yo.) Together, the way our houses are arranged they have about an acre of triangle shaped land that is set WAY back from any road. All the kids play outside (even the 3 yo) without constant adult supervision. The older ones know what to do if a stranger approaches them or if the younger ones get hurt.
There are just sometimes when I can't or won't go outside to watch the kids goof off, but I'm not going to let that stop kids from having outdoor time (about 5-6 hours a DAY during the summer with frequent cool off breaks). Kids need to be outside, if you think your housing situation (fenced in yard, no road access, and a kid that understands the safety rules) is safe then I'd say no worries. We can't let our fear rob our kids of healthy fun outdoor activities, we just can't.

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Becky - posted on 05/08/2012

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We let our 6 and 4 year old play in the backyard by themselves as long as they are in the backyard, stay in our yard, are always visual through the windows, and are following our safety rules. If they break any of our guidelines, they must come in. We live in a town of 300 people though with very low crime rate. If we lived in a big city, it would a lot older.

WhiteWolf - posted on 04/18/2012

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Boy I sure feel like a bad mom. I have a 9 year old litle girl and I have JUST this year got to where I will let her cross the street alone here. On my side though we live in a busy place during the day and people FLY up and down this road and half the time some do not even come to a stop they just keep going. I am sooooo scared that my baby will get hit because Lord only knows it takes only a second! I do not want to be one of the moms that cant let go at all and her hate me for it later but I am scared. She is my only baby and I cannot have anymore and even if I could NOTHING could or would replace her. I need to learn to let go so I do not think I can even answer as I thought maybe i could?......WOW. This thread has really woke me up. This was a great thread but now I need to find out and learn how to let go lol......any suggestions? anything would be great almost. Have a great nite. :^)
WhiteWolf

Rebecca - posted on 03/26/2012

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We live in a close on a RAF Base and my 4 year old has been playing outside here since he was 2.5 yr old started off with supervision then it slowely went to him out with out us, the deal is if he does go out his big sister who is 8 has to be outside too playing with her friends. x

Mimi - posted on 02/11/2012

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We live on a short cul de sac street. When my kids were young many years ago I would let them play on the street with others all day and check on them frequently. Now I would not let our grandchildren play without being outside with them. Why are there more deviants now? Or are they just reporting it more?

Karen - posted on 08/03/2011

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Definitely depends on your location. I live 8 miles from the city, but there are state gamelands all around us and only 3 neighbors within a 1/2 mile. Our yard is fully fenced and I have a very protective standard poodle that would take your arm off if you try to get near my kids. I let them play outside on their own together and they are 9, 6, and almost 5. I make sure I am easily available if needed and still check on them through the windows periodically. I would be outside with them if not for my severe asthma, but we make do!

Susan - posted on 07/31/2011

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Having all of mine grown, or at least almost, I have to say this day and age is a lot different from when and where I started. When we first moved into our house, it was in kind of a sketchy neighborhood. We had decent neighbors on both sides, with a fenced yard and a creek behind the house so there was no one way to access my yard. Our kids were never allowed to play outside alone..oldest was 10.(between me and my neighbor we had 6 kids) If they played in front, my neighbor or myself were out front watching them. My neighbor had a pool in her backyard, and I had the swingset. They swam there and played in mine. When we moved to a new town, we lived in a neighborhood where my kids and the neighbors were the only ones. The neighbor's mother lived at the end of the block with elderly neighbors in between. NOTHING went unnoticed by them! They were allowed to play outside pretty much by themselves with the older kids (4th grade) watching them.

Barbara - posted on 07/27/2011

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I struggle with this everyday. You all have amazing points. We live in a quiet neighborhood, not many stay at home moms so not many children outside during the week. We have a fence row of trees that separates our property to a field. We do not have a fenced in yard but like I said it is very quiet. I am constantly checking on my 4, 5, and 7 year old. Inside with an 11 month old. My biggest worry - STRANGERS or predators! I know I sound like a maniac you just never know who is lurking. What bothers me the most is that how do you tell your children that someone they may know could take them and do awful things to them. It breaks my heart. They are not allowed to play in the front yard. Even though our yard is a decent size and plenty of room in the front to play w/out going in the street, it is more accessible to others. I have to say my biggest worry with my children playing outside is other people like sickos!!! Like I said, I constantly am checking but what if that 10 seconds I was not looking, something happens?

Michelle - posted on 11/11/2010

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In this day and age its so hard to let them have alittle freedom. I guess I'm old school but I would say 10. I know that seems harsh, but we also have a sex offender in our neighborhood.

Christina - posted on 11/10/2010

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I feel the same way Always supervise, take into consideration where you live and if you have pets you can trust with your child outside. I say this because I have a few German Shephards and so I feel comfortable when she is outside with them as well as my mom's eagle eye on her even though I have the pets there as well and depending on the community or area you reside in as far as crime rate, sex offenders, violent offenders, abductions etc... Take a look at the whole picture as well as whether your yard is fenced if you live in a highly populated area or desolate area and so forth.

Candi - posted on 11/08/2010

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My older kids were 4 & 5 when they played unsupervised in our fully privacy fenced backyard. Our couch was right beside our sliding door, so I could see straight at them. I told them if they couldn't see me, then I couldn't see them and that worries me. They always stayed right on the swingset in my view. The only reason I wasn't out there with them was b/c I had a newborn. Now that newborn is 5 yrs old and they are all able to play in the yard where we live now. It is also fenced. My neighbors let their kids play ball in the front yard and chase balls across the street, not me. We live in a nice area, but sometimes visitors come through here and they don't know that some kids play in the streets. Its too risky for me.

[deleted account]

If I'm in the kitchen I'll let my 4 yr old swing which is right outside the back door...he stays on the swing or he comes inside. If I have to go to the bathroom he has to come inside... This doesn't happen very often, mostly long enough for me to do recycling or put groceries away. He won't get to play by himself, unsupervised, because we live right next to the road and anything could happen, no fence etc... My friends let their kids play in their fenced yard oldest was 5-youngest 18mos? She could basically see them if she stood up and looked out the window...small town, culdesac, etc...

Jane - posted on 11/03/2010

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age 5 or 6, never alone always with other kids! But i still get stressed out about it! I never go down stair or get in the shower while my kids are playing out-side!

Jodi - posted on 10/30/2010

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That's a pretty subjective question. It depends on the yard and depends on where you live. For instance, I have a very secure back yard, and live in a low density area with low crime, so my kids have been playing outside on their own since they were about 3 (I was always in earshot and was able to glance outside from where I was working and get to them quickly if I needed to). I'm comfortable with that.



My son was catching a bus or walking to school when he was 8, and he is now 13, and is permitted quite a bit of freedom (within reason). My daughter is 5 and will spend hours playing in out yard, and I don't watch her every move, I just pop my head outside here and there.



The important thing is, you cannot wrap your children in cotton wool. You gradually have to allow them a little freedom and independence. People who decide to keep their kids sheltered until they are mid teens are asking for trouble IMO.

Becky - posted on 10/29/2010

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I would say at least 5 years old and that is in a fully fenced backyard where they are not allowed out and you are still able to see clearly every few minutes. At about 7-8 they are ok but still stay on the property.

[deleted account]

ALWAYS supervise-at least be where you can see and hear each other. Can you get to them quickly if something were to happen?

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