When should you let your child play outside by themselves?

It can be hard to pull your child inside when they want to stay out and play. But there are often things you need to get done inside and you're not sure if you should leave them alone. What age should children be left outside alone?

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40  Answers

3 10

Wow maybe I'm over protective but my little boy is almost four and I can't
Imagine letting him play by himself. My poor kid won't be playing himself
Till hes at least 9 or 10.

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2 19

I was definitely like that with my first - I guess I've mellowed out with the addition of 3 more! LOL

1 20

lol, that's the only child syndrome

103 88

I completely agree Michelle and I have been told that I am over protective over and over again in my life. I really don't care, I would rather be over protective than have my kid or my husband and I be a statistic. Oh and by the way, I have THREE children of my own ad step daughter so it is NOT just an "only child syndrome". As I said earlier I was almost abducted twice when I was younger and I almost ran over a 3 y.o. because she was outside playing by herself with her 5 y.o. sister and her mom wasn't watching them. My kids will also not have anxiety about being away from me because I home school them for one thing and for another they do get time to themselves when they are playing in their rooms and upstairs. I don't constantly watch them when we are in the house but then there is no one in the house that will kidnap or hurt them. Different strokes for different folks.

0 0

I have a daughter that is 21. Plan to adopt again. I have a bunch of animals, most I have rehomed. that the neighbor kids still like to come look at occasionally. Well there was this little 5yr old girl that would come with and 8 yr old and her 4 and 5yr old brothers. I told them time after time that they need to bring their parents. I brought out a few animals for them to see, then said we need to go tell your parents that your coming over here. The parents of the both sets of children are young, The little 5 yr old girl kept coming back wanting to see that animals, and just wanting to play with my dogs. I told her we need to go tell your mom where you are, This child is alone a lot outside all the time. And went into the road the other day, at a t intersection where cars fly around the corner by my house. Her house is halfway up the block. No one watches her.! I have been so worried about her. I felt, like, well, as long as her mom knows she s here she can play in my backyard with the dogs. and color pictures or what ever shes not going to be hanging around in the street. SHe safe. Again she came over. so I went with her to get her moms number, She texted later and asked if she was still there, and she was making lunch so I sent her home. She runs back after wards . The mother later texted to say she was going to the store , that she could stay with me or go with her. I was being nice and said she s fine she can stay here, go ahead. I have told her how smart and amazing her child is how she loves to learn, to encourage to spend more time with her and said they both could come over to play scrabble because It will help her spelling. I did also voice my concerns about her running in the streets and what happned to me when I was a child left alone a lot, and tried to very nicely make her see the dangers of her running to other people s houses her mom doesn't know. About predators I experienced when young, And she got offended and all the sudden said " well I don't think she should go over there anymore , I don't know why you want to hang out with a 5 yr old. ! I was so angry! And the audacity to imply that sort of thing, When Im trying to watch out for her 5 yr old that is put outside like a cat. She doesn't even know her friends or her parents. I have made every effort to invite her to coffee , to encourage her to know who I am. . And shared my concern as a mother. Trying to offer help first. I told her I would rather her be here safe than in the streets! I know she is safe here! I have seen her jet out in the street in front of her dad even when he was driviing up the road. I just gasped in horrer it scared me so bad! And She gets way to close to my truck and trailer when I m pulling in where I have to stop. I have talked to the little girl a lot about what will happen if she gets hit to put fear into her so she will look for cars. I told the mom, letting her daughter out like this with no supervision is putting her in danger of cars and of predators. And she didn't make any effort to get to know me I was the one who made a point to let her know where her daughter was, ( she said oh I was wondering) and get her number. When I confronted her. She said she was strict with her but didn't want to shelter her. I told her there is a BIG difference between sheltering to much and just protecting your child. Before I met her I was going to ask if she didn't want her I would gladly adopt her. And I'm more inclined to do that now. A five yr old should not be out without the parent. Her mom says she tells her where she is going. But she didn't know she had been coming here wanting to see the animals when I told her. And her getting excited to see her friend across the street and just hauling across not looking . I'm so worried about this child! I should just call CPS and will if I see her out again with no parent. I try to help, and care about everyone. I am just that way I prefer that over getting the law or cps involved. But that isn't good enough. I m just heartbroken over the whole thing and fear for that little girl.

0 0

never (or in their room for 5 min totally child proofed by safe care standards

0 0

10 I let my 5 & 6 y old grand children we live n apt's almost like gated community knowing neighbors and have them stay where I can see and hear me

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1 16

for me personally it is not about how well my children behave when im not looking, i will not let my children play outside by themselves in an open area.. thats how too many children get kidnapped. if for some reason i cannot be outside with my children then they come in the house with me

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3 10

I agree 100 %

1 16

please - do some research. The number of children kidnapped by strangers is ridiculously low. You want to protect your kids from kidnapping? Keep them away from disgruntled exes, and various relatives.

1 16

like i had said Amy, for ME PERSONALLY were the key words in my comment.

1 16

seeing how you asked me to do some research i did... The first step in protecting your child from potential abductors is to know what you're dealing with. Here are some important -- and potentially surprising -- facts about child abductions in the United States: Every 40 seconds in the United States, a child becomes missing or is abducted. In 2001, 840,279 people (adults and children) were reported missing to the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The FBI estimates that 85 to 90 percent of those (roughly 750,000 people or 2,000 per day) reported missing were children. The vast majority of these cases are resolved within hours. Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: kidnapping by a relative of the victim or "family kidnapping" (49 percent), kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or "acquaintance kidnapping" (27 percent), and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or "stranger kidnapping" (24 percent). Family kidnapping is committed primarily by parents, involves a larger percentage of female perpetrators (43 percent) than other types of kidnapping offenses, occurs more frequently to children under 6, equally victimizes juveniles of both sexes, and most often originates in the home. Acquaintance kidnapping involves a comparatively high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, is more often associated with other crimes (especially sexual and physical assault), occurs at homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims. Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females than males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-age children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of girl victims and robberies in the case of boy victims (although not exclusively so), and is the type of kidnapping most likely to involve the use of a firearm. Only about one child out of each 10,000 missing children reported to the local police is not found alive. However, about 20 percent of the children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in nonfamily abductions are not found alive. In 80 percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home. Most potential abductors grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles. About 74 percent of the victims of nonfamily child abduction are girls. Acting quickly is critical. Seventy-four percent of abducted children who are ultimately murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction. One in five children 10 to 17 years old receive unwanted sexual solicitations online. In a 1998 study of parents' worries by pediatricians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, nearly three-quarters of parents said they feared their children might be abducted. One-third of parents said this was a frequent worry -- a degree of fear greater than that held for any other concern, including car accidents, sports injuries, or drug addiction. Thanks to Parents.com

1 16

http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/stranger-safety/child-abduction-facts/ Thank you Parents.com for proving my point

29 31

i would rather not take any chances on my children than to pe the parent who's kid is gone in a flash.those parents were ones who thought this could never happen to me.there are only 1 out of every 3 hundred and somthing thoudand kids that get takin and that is enough for me.

0 8

24% of kidnappings are by strangers and that is not ridiculousy low (ridiculously low would be 5% IMO), and 24% is too high for me to take a chance at letting my child play outside by herself. It doesn't matter if its a stranger or a family member who does the kidnapping, leave your child alone, outside in an open area and it's just an invitation for one of the 24% to be YOUR child. I agree with you 100% Erica!!

1 16

Thank You Rachelle, Julia, and Michelle

52 28

I agree completely! I will never take the chance with my child or any child in my care. I am very protective of my daughter and at play dates I often keep an eye on all children involved. A habit brought on from working in daycares and nannying for years. And I know it's not first child syndrom I will always watch out for possible dangers being that I was almost grabbed when I was 15. The man just randomly picked me and if it wasn't for the woman in a passing car I would have been raped and possibly murdered. Every child should be protected and as they get old enough they should be made aware of the real danger of it, not that it happens to some small percent of children but that it could happen to anyone and they should know what to do in the situation. I love that you looked up the actual statistics for it. very helpful.

1 20

I completely agree with you Erica!!! I have a fenced in yard and my children are not allowed to go outside by themselves...it is even hard for me to concentrate when they are outside on their swing set playing when their Dad is outside mowing the lawn. (only because he is busy and his full attention is not on them) I live by a main road so the people that would see them could just take them and run!!! There is no way my 3 and 4 year old are getting taken from me if I can prevent it!!!!!!!!!

1 16

Thanks Anissa and Tara

103 88

Love all the facts that you found, thanks for posting those Erica!!! I would also recommend that people use WATCHDOG.com to find out who the predators are that live in your area. This is a great way to see where they live, what they look like, how old they are, what they were convicted of, etc. I have used it many times since we move a lot because of the Air Force. It's scarey to see who is out there. Small towns are not immune to child predators, in fact, we live in a town of 2,500 and there are 15 men that live within a 20 mile radius of my house. And I thought this was a nice quiet safe town. I guess looks can be deceiving.

103 88

Oh and I was almost abducted once when I was 9 by one person and another time when I was 10 by another person. It's not just little kids that can be abducted. It is scarey to me to see the amount of parents in my neighborhood and on here who let their children play outside by themselves and "check on them". This is not "first time mom, only child syndrome" either, I have 3 children and a step-daughter and my friend has 5 children and neither she nor I let our children play outside alone. She even has a 12 y.o. that she will not let go up to the park that is 4 houses down from hers. We know the risks and we will not allow our children to be one of the 10,000 children that are abducted daily in this country.

1 0

this is probably going to sound sexist but letting a son go out to play alone and a daughter are totally different things -- I am far more worried about the daughter getting snatched up or attacked than my son even though they are only a year apart. I go by what I hear on the news in the area which I live. Some places you can let them run free unsupervised, when I lived in a small town with a population of 25, that was pretty much the norm. I also knew at least one person from each household there. Now I live near pittsburgh and I have to be either present, or, he has to have a friend with im I know, a cell phone, and a watch, and must state his route and where I can find him in case of emergency on my end. Parents, even sending him with a phone out of minutes is ok most of the time because they can still dial 911. You might want to confirm that and not just assume. For my daughter,she is 9 and doesnt go out with friends yet, period, unless a friend that I know has one of their parents that I also know with them, and all that stuff I just said about my son applies as well. Hope that helped. (Lived in 4 small towns and 9 major cities, no incidents yet -- knock on wood!!)

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8 1

I let my almost 4 yr old play in the back yard when I am inside. I started letting him do this when he was 3. We have a small fenced in yard and he can't really get into much trouble, though I do check on him every few minutes.

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29 31

I have a great website for you to use its called WATCHDOG it will show you were sex offenders are around your home,I live in a small town and within a 5 mole radus I have 6 sex offenders so I am very protective of my children.

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25 11

Listen to your child as they will tell you when they are ready.
1: Allow you both to adjust to the changes and keep in mind that you will not be there when they are at school and at kinder.
2: use the kitchen timer to know when to check on them
3: kids need to be kids

Children grow at different rates and the worst thing you can do is constantly observe them and overly protect them from harm. The child will need to get some time to themselves or they will suffer from seperation anxiety as they go to kinder etc.
You can't stop every bump and scratch. Children need alone time just as much as we do. they need to learn that we trust them just as much as you need to allow yourself to be able to trust that they are ok.
kids need to be kids and they need to learn life lessons, just as we did when we were younger. If you think back to your childhood you might be able to relate to how your parents felt at this time and then you can see just how the first step is the hardest one to make but once you make it, the easier it becomes and you will grow in trust and will be able to trust yourself to leave them alone, even for 5 minutes at a time, but then those minutes gradually overtime will become longer and longer (as the child grows older) til eventually it will become natual to you and you will be able to cope with leaving them alone for hours at a time. (However there are exceptions to this rule, as long as you are at home with them, these steps are great to use for your peace of mind.. meaning never leave your child unattended at home or anywhere else without adult supervision.) they still require adult supervision no matter what, you just dont need to be constantly watching them.

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0 0

I was constantly watching my 7 and 6 yrs old twins ,now the one is 8 and the twins are turning 7 in a few days ,I'm trying as of to day to give them some space.They are in the backyard also.

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103 88

I don't think it matters how old or responsible they are, if your child is not big enough to fight off an abductor or run away then they are not old enough to be outside alone.

None of my children play outside alone. My oldest will be 9 in two weeks and my two youngest are 5 and 4. I will never allow them to play outside by themselves. I was almost abducted when I was 8 and then again when I was 10 by total strangers, the only reason I wasn't is because I screamed one time and the other time I ran and screamed. I don't care if my yard is fenced in, I don't care if I am inside and can see them, I don't care if they think they are old enough, it will NOT happen. There are 7 sex offenders that live within a ten mile radius of my home and we live in a small town.

I also heard a story not too long ago of a woman who was in her house and could see her child from her window and as she was going to the door to call her child inside she watched a man scoop her child up into his car and drive off. There was nothing she could do but call the police. Her husband tried to catch him but didn't find him, I do not want that to happen to my children. I don't care if it is a small percentage of children that are abducted by strangers (24% is not that small in my mind though) I do not want my children to be in that small percentage and the less aware I am the more likely it is that it will be my child.

I will not post where I live on any type of forum or discussion board and I do not tell anyone my childrens names that I do not know. This is why I did not post when or where that story happened of that child being abducted and that was 100 miles away from here.

It's not just abductions you have to worry about though what about your child getting hurt or run over or picked up by an animal, or worse. There are so many things that could happen, I will not risk my child's life for five minutes to myself. I have a friend who was in her house while her 5 and 3 year old were outside playing and I almost ran over her child because she wasn't in the backyard where she was supposed to be. It is not a 5 y.o.'s responsibility to care for a 3 y.o. and a 3 y.o. does not have the ability to pay attention to watch for every danger when they are outside alone, they just don't think like that yet.

I won't even let my kids go over to my neighbors house and play in the garage or in there driveway because I can't see them. There are so many stories of children going over to a friends house and being molested. Why take chances with your childs life? If it is an inconvenience for you to be outside then don't take them outside, they can wait until later. These are just my feelings and with all of the stories out there now-a-days you would think that people would be more careful.

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1 20

This story just crushed my heart and I agree with you completely!! My yard is fenced and there is no way that my girls are going out by themselves. Period!

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103 88

I'm sorry Tara but I saw this question and I just had to respond. I think that too many people have that "it won't happen to me" thing going on and I wanted people to hear some real stories. One of those attempted abductions was on a base, the other was in a really nice housing area, and the child I almost ran over on accident was in a military housing area. I have 3 children and a step-daughter who is 7 so I obviously do not have the "first time mom, only child syndrome". I don't care if people do call me over-protective, at least I know for a fact that my children will not be one of the 10,000 children that are abducted daily in this country. I think my biggest problem with some of the responses I have seen is people letting their 2, 3, 4, and even 5 and 6 year olds play outside by themselves in a fenced in back yard and them justifying that by saying, "well I constantly check on them". I have a question for these people; if you check on your children every 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes and you do this routinely, how do you know that someone isn't watching you? How do you know that there isn't someone watching your house and you and your kids and thinking, "okay, she just came out so she won't be out for another 15 minutes, now is my chance to take this child". How do you know? I am not trying to be rude or disrespectful, I am just worried for your children. I realize that 9 is a little old to be watching a childs every move when they are playing outside and I also realize that some may call me over-protective, but as I stated before, I was almost abducted at 9 and until my child is big enough to fight off their abductor I will always be keeping a very close eye on them. Seeing as how my husband is 6' 8" and I am 5' 9" this may not be that far off anyway. :)

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9 0

Hi Sarah, Have commented further down to another post of yours, but just had to ask you here, are you sure 10,000 kids are abducted daily? That sounds like a ridiculously high figure. As I point out 'below' I an not an American, but if that figure you cited is actually true, I cannot believe you are not all looking to emigrate. That figure equates to the size of a small town - actually a medium one in NZ. As for how I personally know someone isn't watching me, I know my neighbours on all sides, I have 5 foot high fences right around the small backyard and around two sides of the frontyard, with a three-foot one in the very front, and I can see into my neighbours' windows as well as they can see into mine. Plus, these days, its usually my tree-climbing kids that are looking into everyone else's backyards, LOL! While I realise you have had bad experiences, you are making things tough for your children when you make the world out to be such a scary place. I hope you learn to reax, or you move to a safer country. You are in danger of scarring your children, unless you are somehow able to learn to control your fears. All the best....

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103 88

Actually yes Tania, I am. I looked up the numbers myself. Yes it is a large number of children, which is just one of the many, many reasons I am so paranoid. As for moving, that is not an option. First of all, America is my home; second of all, my husband is in the Air Force so we cannot just leave whenever we want to; and third of all, even if we could move over-seas my husband and I are both divorced and we both have children from previous marriages. It is very, very costly to fly children back and forth over-seas especially when we would have to pay for 2 tickets each time for each of our children. I wasn't talking about neighbors I was talking about someone you don't know watching your house. Not from another house but from the bushes or from a vehice, etc. And I it wasn't just a personal question to you it was meant for everyone. You never really know whether or not someone is actually watching you and your family. Those are only a fraction of the bad experiences I have had and they do not even include the bad experiences friends and family of mine have had. I have good reason to be concerned and very good reason to keep eyes on my children at all times. My children do not think that the world is a scarey place because they do not know that the world is a scarey place. Other than stranger danger, they don't know much about the world outside of our home. My two youngest children are home-schooled and their life is normal to them. Our oldest two children, the ones that are 8 and 9, love it when we are outside playing with them. For one thing, they love the family time and they love the fact that we are so involved with them. Their other parents don't do these things with them and don't spend time with them hardly at all so they enjoy all the time we spend with them and they don't think of it as over-bearing or over-protective. They don't think of it as abnormal even though their friends play outside by themselves because to them they are getting to spend time with us and their friends and they think that it is more fun than just spending time by themselves. Not to mention the fact that all of their friends like us and while we're outside with them we are turning the hoses on and keeping an eye on them while their parents are inside. It's funny too because half the time we are outside with them and their friends, their friends are talking to us more than they are playing with all the toys. Kids like to have interaction with adults and they like to know that they are safe and that they are being watched out for. That is what is provided for kids at our house. It always saddens me when our neighbors kids come over to play in our garage while her husband is at work and she is inside working out on her elliptical and taking a shower. While she is doing all of this, she doesn't even come out to check on her kids or find out where they are for over an hour and a half. One of the kdis is five and one is seven. It's just sad to me. Parents used to go out and play catch with their kids and teach them how to ride bikes and play in the dirt and now parents are too worried about themselves and the housework to do any of that. I understand our lives as adults get busy but kids just want attention. My kids do play by themselves, in our house. They never and will never play outside by themselves. That is my perogative, I am their parents. And since it's normal to my kid's I do not feel that they will be scarred for life. My parents were physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive, my husbands parents told him that he was an accident and that they never wanted him and didn't parent him at all, these are things that scar you for life, not having parents that are over-protective. In my opinion we are much better parents than our parents were and at least my children know that they are loved. They will never doubt that. My children know about my past, they know about stranger danger but they don't think the world is scarey. My youngest daughter still says "hi" to everyone she meets and will talk their ear off if they let her. My youngest son is still pretty shy when it comes to people but when it comes to trying new (adventurous) things, and riding his bike and running and playing, he still goes further than he should and we still have to follow him around. Don't get me wrong, we are not constantly calling him back to our line of sight and we don't stand right next to him when he is riding his bike. We let him ride around the cul-de-sac we live in while we sit in the driveway and we let him go up this hill next to our neighbors house on the sidewalk with us following behind him a little ways. My kids, while very loving and very family oriented are also very independant. I trust my children whole-heartedly, I just don't trust the world. It's the people that think, "this will never happen to me" that this happens to.

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53 28

I am with you ladies I have a 11 year old and a 7 year old that I know could and would beat off any attacker my 7 year old is as strong as an Ox with the attitude of a Rattlesnake and my 11 yr old is as big as an Ox with the temper of a Grizzly if you mess with his baby brother. BUT I DON'T care I will not let them outside by themelves no way never. maybe when they are 20 lol. We go to Mamaw and pappy's and I don't let them out there for long not because I am afriad of a person they live in the country but because i am afraid of the bears around. To many children are taken every year. Call me whatever but I had to many treatment to much pain to ever just act like i can just pop another one out if that one gets lost they are not cats or rabbits to me. They are my life and I will die for them. Tania Chong As for making my kids freaks or whatever I am making them realists. They watch the news they hear everyday about this person getting murdered, raped, shot run over they can read the missing children signs at walmart and on the cartons they are not stupid. The world is a scary place full of people who will shoot people over 20 dollors and if you think that is not true then you need to open your eyes and read the newspaper or watch the news. It is reality and I hope nothing ever bad happens to your kids. But I know for a fact it won't happen to mine cause they are never out of my sight. the actual numbers for your information are 797,500 per year for an avg of 2185 reported each day missing children numbers taken from U.S Dept of Justice FAQ website

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103 88

That is exactly how I feel Ixchel!!! :) We have problems with bears and wild cats out here where we live too. We live in a town of about 2500 people out in the country and while I love the area it can still be dangerous.

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9 0

@Sarah again, your figures were really bugging me.10,000 children a day snatched? Let's look at the maths on that. NZ now has 4 million people. The US has, what, 400 million? (A US expat friend of mine thinks it's about that). So, let's say about 100 times the population size. Both countries have fairly well-educated populations, both are Western nations, both have multi-ethnic but mainly Englishspeaking populations. NZ is much smaller physically of course, but size-for-size, probably has much rougher terrain (island vs. continent, yada, yada). The US appears to be a very civilised country. So, on abduction figures, by anyone in NZ, strangers or otherwise, there are on any given day roughly 0 attempted abductions. Over the course of an entire year there may be 10 or 15 attempted abductions by strangers. Only one has been successful over the past two years, and in that case the child was rescued, very frightened of course but otherwise unharmed, by a policeman within an hour. So, that's one successful (if that's the term to use) abduction in two whole years, or one for every 730 days. You have, according to your figures, in the same time had 7,300,000 abductions, roughly speaking. You have only 100 times our population. This just does not add up. Why am I bringing this up? Simply because fearmongering is harming our children far more these days than strangers are. I would love to know how many children in the US have actually been snatched by strangers from fenced backyards in the States. As I posted further down, in NZ the figure is absolutely none. Drowning is a real risk to young children, down here anyway - strangers, virtually zero.

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0 5

According to the US Department of Justice 797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time studied, resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day. (SOURCE: http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=2810#1)

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103 88

You - commented on Mar 7, 2012 You have the luxury of feeling that way Tania because (as you stated before) where you live only one child in 30 years has ever been abducted. The article I read said 10,000 kidnappings every year in the US. Now maybe I was reading kidnappings overall and not just children under 18, I am going to check my facts as soon as I am done. However, even if it's only 2,100 (and some odd) children that are abducted in the US that's still 63,999 children more than the one child where you live that have been abducted in the last 30 years in the US (that's assuming that 2,100 have been abducted every year for 30 years here, although I know that some years it was more and some less, I used that number because that's what was given). That's much, much too many and that is why some of us parents are "over-protective" and "paranoid". You can be rude and feel sorry for my kids all you want. They have never known any different, it doesn't bother them (not even my almost 10 year old) one bit and they know that I am the way I am because of being almost abducted myself and because I care and love for them so much (this is not to say that you don't, I'm just stating that my kids understand this). Like I have said many times before I would rather be over-protective and paranoid than a statistic! Every single day I hear about another kid being abducted or walk by a poster in the store and my heart breaks for those families and those children. I also don't just worry about strangers but I worry about my husbands ex and my ex as well, my ex has even made threats on my kids' lives so yeah, I'm a little over-protective. I also almost ran over a neighbors kid because she s drunk and passed out on her couch at ten in the morning while her five year old was watching her two year old outside. The only reason I didn't run her over is because my husband had forgotten something and ran back in the house and when he came out (as I was backing out) he saw her and screamed at me to stop and as I told you before I was almost abducted twice by two different strangers and I was abducted by my mother after my parents got divorced. I have many reasons to be the way that I am and I am not trying to be rude. As far as the voting goes, I can vote any way that I want to just like you. Feel free to vote negatively on mine as much as you can, I really don't care. I'm not here to argue with people, I'm here to get and give advice and explain why I feel the way that I do and I have just as much right to do that as anyone else. Again I wasn't trying to (nor was I) starting a confrontation. I'd you don't like what I have to say then just ignore me and what I have to say and please do not try arguing with me on someone else's response, in my opinion it's very rude.

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103 88

Im sorry my numbers are wrong at that last comment I was thinking 2,100 children abducted every year not every day for some reason so with the correct numbers and again assuming that this is the same every single day for 30 years (but like I said before I know it's not) that means in 30 years, at that rate, 24,000,000 children have been abducted in the US in 30 years compared to your one where you live. So, yeah, I think most of us have every right to be paranoid and I over-protective and then some!

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24% of TOTAL abductions are by strangers.... Not 24% of ALL children are abducted by strangers. And no, 10,000 children are not abducted daily. We would have no more children left within a month. Just saying! Fear mongering tsk tsk....

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I let my 5 year old, three year old, and two year old play outside with each other for short periods of time as long as I can see them in our windows. We live in small town Iowa and I know all my neighbors so I feel relatively safe for short bursts of time. Admittedly I don't get a whole lot done when I'm constantly checking on them but it gives them a sense of independence and responsibility. If we lived in an urban area my kids would never be out of my sight though!!! That would be too scary for me. My kids are also very good at staying put. I think it's the kids' personalities and where you live that should determine whether or not they can be outside by themselves for any length of time.

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I totally agree, kudos to you woman!

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We live in Alaska and my boys 4 and 6 can build a fire, use a small ax, build a temporary shelter with hammer and nails, which bark to eat if necessary, what part of the cattail to eat, identify wild sage and mint, use the sun to tell time and direction and how to track animals. I am so surprised at how many moms are scared of kidnapping and abduction in children playing outside. The statistics from www.missing kids.com give a clear numbers on this.The beautiful thing is its up to each of us based on our children and comfort level. I wonder how old many of you were when you could play independently outside. I would have been out of my mind if I had to play within parents reach until 10 years of age. By the time I was ten, I could ride my bike to school, hike in the woods, build tree forts, swim at the beach, walk to the store to spend my chore money, and develop other traits of responsibility. I started babysitting at 11 after I finished my red cross certification. The real danger actually exists in our homes. One in five children 10 to 17 years old receive unwanted sexual solicitations online. That is scary to me. My children can play outside independently but they cannot use media without supervision. We all do the best for our children and it doesn't look the same for every family.

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I'm just glad I don't live in a household as a child that I can't BE a child, let them run let them play, obviously people will parent as THEY see fit, a lot of it I've read on here I CERTAINLY DONT agree with but hey, I'm Canadian, waaayyy laid back, calm and loving. I just love my kids, I don't smother, or stalk, I know where I need to be, and my kids know I'm always there, it IS like I DO have eyes in the back of my head, LOL! Aww life, just live it people and enjoy as there are NO DO-OVERS.

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I totally agree with u, it's a real shame that all these mums won't allow children to be children and explore and play and learn social skills, kids also need to learn to be streetwise, bad things happen to everyone not just children!! U can't wrap them in cotton wool forever, chill out everyone!

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my older son couldn't play outside unattended until he was 7 or 8. i trust him, it's others i don't trust. you cannot be too careful. he still is mad at me today because i wouldn't let him go down the street because i couldn't see him. same will go for the 3 year old.

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We allow our 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter to play in the backyard alone, however I check on them constantly and our yard has very high cedar fences and is very private...and we have a lock on the gate :) they are never allowed to play out front alone.

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Not until 10 yrs old

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I think it depends not so much on the age of the child, but the area in which you live. If you live in a very busy area with cars and people coming and going all the time, and easy access from the street to your yard, then even older kids (12, 13) can still be at risk - they may be old enough to know what they should and shouldn't do, but aren't old enough to fight off a would-be kidnapper. But if you live in a quiet suburban area or small town where you know the neighbours, and there is no access to your back yard from the street (or houses behind) and it is secure enough that your children can't get out, then you can let them play outside from a much younger age. I don't think I'll be letting my kids outside alone for a very long time (they are much too young now anyway - one's two and one's four months) because I have just been hearing too many horrible stories of child abductions, murder, home invasions, etc lately and I don't think I'll be letting them out of my sight until they are teenagers! Well, hopefully by then we will be in a house of our own with a secure backyard with no street access but even then I think you need to be pretty vigilant in checking on them very regularly.

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when you have a fenced in yard its easier to let your small children play outside, especially if you can keep an eye on them from a window or patio door... but when you live in a city and dont have a yard... how young is too young. i see kids playing on the block all the time... ive even let my 5 year old ride her bike back and forth, but i was outside... i cant see myself leaving her out there while im indoors.

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I'm an old male. I still have an image when I first saw snow. Wow what a wonderful sight and I wanted to play in it. My mother dress me warmly and out I ran. Fun until two big monsters came up to me and rumb my face into that snow. I went home crying I would not go outside without my mother for anything.
My parents moved to the burbs where there was no monsters. (5 years old) I ran all over the place, the police knew who I was because they kept seeing a little boy walking all over. It got so bad that my mother had me tie on a long, long rope. When walking with her I was in a harness. It kept me from dashing into the street.
It depends upon where you live. In farm country little will happen in the city you need a neighborhood where adults are on the streets.
I still remember the monsters. I also dream of monsters attacking me. Silly is it not.

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Call me crazy i guess but my 4 and almost 3 year old play in my backyard by themselves. Yes i have a fully fenced and gated backyard and can see them from inside. I can also hear the gate if it opens and closes. I guess I also feel comfortable with them outside because their very protective and very loyal Lab dog is always right with them, she won't let anyone she doesn't know even near them...

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i agree, i have a 5yr old and 2yr old and they play happily in our yard togeather. i watch the from the kitchen window or on the veranda.

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Never

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in Ontario i'm pretty sure it's illegal for you to lave your child under 10 unattended... they have warning signs at the library and stuff soo unless its just here in my city i was pretty sure it was criminal neglect or something like that...

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I think this is extra tough because a child may be ready to be alone outside, but there are still child predators who are a lot stronger than a child no matter how mentally mature that child is. I live in a small town about 4,000 people, and there have been creepy men in trucks by the schools trying to get children to come with them. So, personally I would never really let my child play outside by herself unless I could keep watching her, maybe age 9 or 10 but I would still check on her frequently. I am not sure I would feel comfortable with her walking around town by herself until she was like 13 or 14, and even then, children get picked up by sex traffikers all the time at that age (not that it's common) but you have to think about everything!

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I remember playing outside by myself all the time when I was a child. It helped me gain independence and fueled my imagination. Many children do not learn how to be independent (or to really learn to do things for themselves). Don't base it on age as much as maturity since each child is different. Also, it should depend on how safe your area is. I live in a small town in the country and let my son play out in our yard by himself often. He is 7 (but has been doing this since he was 5). Our house is a bit from the road and I know the neighbor in front of us. He knows which areas he can be in and doesn't go outside the boundaries. I check on him from time to time, but overall do not worry. Kids need time to develop their own personality and view of the world. We are too scared to do anything anymore. Use common sense and make sure it is a safe environment (which means for some of you depending on where you live that you wouldn't let your kids out to play alone). Remember folks, we all have different children and communities so let's not judge too harshly.

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I have an 11 year old a 8year old and a set off 6 year old twins all boys. I allow them outside alone only when they are with each other or a friend. They have to grow some time.

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I have two sons, ages 5 and 6. I never let either of them go out alone. And when they go outside together I make them stay in our fenced backyard ONLY, and I keep the screen door open so I can hear them at all times. If it's quiet out there, I go immediately and see what they're doing. Usually something naughty (like torturing a worm, watering the plants with bottled water, transporting all the sand from their sandbox over to the garden in dump trucks, etc). Plus, I usually let them go play outside when I'm cooking, which I have a clear view of the backyard from my kitchen. And I make sure to tell them to stay where they can see the kitchen window, because if they can't see it, I can't see them. They never go outside of the fence. They did one time and I didn't let them go outside for a week.

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I don't let mine play outside by themselves. I have 2 girls; 5 & 7 yrs old. and that to me is not an option. If I or Daddy r not outside or by the window where we can c u....u cannot go outside.

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I have a 4 and 3 year old. I will not be letting them play outside by themselves for awhile. This is just to young in my opinion!

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We lived in the city with my oldest and she started playing outside, while I was inside at around 3 years old. But just our street alone had at least 15 kids. They'd all be on their trikes and bikes. There would always be at least 1 adult sitting outside their building at some point. If any kid got hurt or they were hitting or being bad, you could trust that atleast 6 would come running to your door to let you know. Now, with my youngest, we live in the suburbs. Again our neighborhood has tons of kids and they all play together and I let him out while I was in about the same age. He comes and goes as he pleases and understands there are strict rules. I do step outside every so often or peek out the window or even have the windows open so I can hear. So, I'm not completely removed. They have a better sense of responsibility and independance if you give them some space. I suppose I'm lucky that we always live in a populated area where all parents understand the old concept "It takes a village...". I think they would be bored if there were no other kids to play with. That's when they get into trouble (like step all over the flowers in mommy's garden or throw rocks at the house).

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I have twins that are 4 1/2 and I just for the first time left them outside by themselves in the back yard for a minute to run in the house, and was nervous the whole time! If my 3 yr old is outside I have to keep an eye on him at ALL times, there is no leaving him alone outside or in.

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I have two boys, 7 and 4, and I let the oldest play in our fenced yard when he turned 3. My youngest has been playing by himself (or with his brother) since then, as well. I check on them if I haven't heard them playing for a while, mostly because it probably means they're doing something they shouldn't be. I've only just this year allowed my oldest to play outside in the front, which isn't fenced, and to go bike riding by himself. However we live in a small town of only about 1200 people, so it's safer than larger places.

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we moved to a co-op townhome 3 yrs ago and this yr I have been keeping our 3 girls in MORE rather than less. I see a 5yr old that live on the other side of our co-op running around our cul de sac all the time - he actually just came to our door and asked if our 12 yr old daughter could come out! I asked if mommy knew where he was and he said she was out and his aunt was watching him but there is NO WAY she can see him on our street! and I am being told all the time to "mind my own biz" - problem is that our co-op park is right behind our yard and I hear and see alot of kids misbehaving and I don't want my kids to be aroudn that! aand without a fence, I cannot even go out there without having the whole "gang" that is at the park come towards our yard when anyone is in it! We have NO privacy and our kids are now becoming couch potatoes! I drive school bus and cannot afford a vehicle with 3 girls - hubby has been out of work on and off for the past 3 yrs and we have been struggling - and I am being told I am too anal and have had other mom's actually delete me from thier Facebok because they think I am too judging - it's hard NOT to judge when it is in my face!

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So Agree!

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you don't let your 12 year old play outside? I feel very sorry for her, me and all my friends were out playing since the age of five, building forts and climbing trees and enjoying nature like normal kids are supposed to. playing outside at 5 is perfectly normal for the young boy you mentioned, and I feel terrible that your daughter could not experience an adventurous childhood.

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i live in a town that has 390 people in it and a lot of them live in the country I let my 3 1/2 yr old play in the back yard while i'm inside i go check on him every once and a while and he never leaves our fenced in area, i don't think there is anything wrong with that. if i lived in anyother town i probably would not let him play alone.

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Good on you Jamie. I also let my young ones play outside in our fenced backyard. They need to get out to nature without us breathing down their necks all the time.

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my boys are 3 and 2 and we live right out in the middle of nowhere and i let them play in the back fully closed of garden all the time i cheek on them alot but have never had a problem, but i dont think i would let my two year old out alone, i think 3 is an ok age but only you can tell if its a good age for your child!

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I live in Ontario and where I live, I see kids outside like 5 or 6 older siblings who are only 10 and with their youngest sibling playing outside and No PARENT!!! what the hell? Like that is just irresponsible, I will NOT leave my kid outside by themselves, at least til maybe 10 or 11, if she says she's old enough to be outside by herself I will be like well I am sorry but you still need parental supervision. I mean my parents live out in the country side and have a fenced in back yard, but I would still be outside with her.
I guess I am very paranoid, as Kids are curious and LOVE to get into things.

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I don't think you should let your child play outside by themself , Just because people are crazy out there. If there was someone watching them then yes you could leave them outside if you trust the
person. Now if you were at a playground no! you shouldn't leave the child or children alone. Knowng
something could happen. like being kidnappap or even worse.
I lived in a nieborhood with lots of nice people growing up but even if I was outside my mom
had her eyes on me.

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I live in a Townhome community and the kids around here all play outside. But we never let our kids go outside here. We go up to Mama and Paps they live in the country with the neighbors being family and they are allowed to go out in the yard and run and play they are 10 and 7 but I will not allow them to play in our community by themselves. I don't know who might be coming in to "visit" here. But my husband worked corrections in the Federal system for years and in a treatment facility so we have seen some really bad things that people do. so maybe we are over protective. Hope this helps

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Me I wouldn't till they are old enough to watch out for vehicles, other kids and strangers. We live in an apt complex where kids of all ages play in the little yard/ grass patch in front I personally would not let my daughter or up coming son play out there alone till they are old enough and mature enough to watch out for themselves. many things can happen in a blink of an eye. better to be over protective than under protected and let something bad happen because I wasn't there. No matter who else is around or how many other kids are there.

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Now days its not safe for any age. I'm still new to everything this is my first child so everything's scary to me lol. Back in the day my mom let me play outside with my friends at the age of 12 she watched me though, and it wasn't as bad as it is now. But I don't know my baby is only 2 right now.. and like "Michelle" said I think I'm a little over protective! .. lol

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I have 4 children & I am super protective... My youngest are 7&9 & I just started letting them play outside by themselves,but that is only with other children & I check on them regularly or know their is a neighbor that is close by also...

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I live in town and have a 8 and 5 year old.I dont feel right leaving them outside alone.I feel that at any moment they could be taken it ony takes a second and you child is gone.My 8 year old also has autisim spectrim so even thou he is 8 he is not able to keep an eye on his sister.

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No never, they can climb, they think and see things that they want and what
they want, they will go after it. My grandson is seven and i watch what he is doing all the time. Children want to learn and we need to teach them and protect them and watch over them and teach them. I also have a grandson whom is is two and i will display and instill in him the same .

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I let my 9 yr. old go outside to do a quick chore (bring up the trashcan) and she is allowed to be outside in our fenced backyard with a friend. I also have 4 yr. old twins, but typically do not leave them outside by themselves longer than it takes me to run inside and get them a popsicle!

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I have 3 daughters ages 7, 5 & 3. I will let my 2 older daughters play outside alone or together if they stay in the part of the yard that I can see them out the kitchen window. My 3 year old I don't think is ready to be alone outside. and I don't feel right putting the burden on her sisters to watch her without me present either. If I had a fenced in yard I may feel differently and let them all play outside together. It is difficult to know when to let them have a little bit of freedom, and still keep them safe.

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8 or so we live in apts very proteted by each other as neighbors so some times younger

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