Community Advocacy and Support by and for Young Mothers

Playing Outside alone..

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SativaStarr's picture
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2004-05-16 13:39
Playing Outside alone..

How old is old enough for a child to play outside alone? Im talking within a 100 yards of our patio (although you cant see it since its kinda around the corner) is the complex playground. I *thought* Cass was old enough.. she'll be 6 in October, and I would walk to the edge of the building (about 100 ft) and check on her like every 10 min or so.. She's been doing this for 2 weeks now, and her mom used to let her play outside alone too.

Well, this afternoon I got a knock at the door.. it was the cops. Apparently someone called them because they are concerned about the child playing alone :roll: So shes devastated she cant go to the playground anymore, but its just too hard to haul all the kids down there, and its really not apprpriate for a 7 mo old or 18 mo old anyways..

Idk, I just think this is rediculous.. I remember playing outside with my friends while my mom was in the house at 5-6 years old.. we'd go 3 houses down to the end of the street and play in the corn fields..

im just frustrated.. and I completely out of line in thinking she's old enough to play outside without constant supervision?

SativaStarr's picture
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2004-05-16 13:39
Playing Outside alone..

ETA: This is small town of 7,000 people.. we live on a quiet residential street and the playground is totally barracaded (sp?) from the roads anyway..

Earth_moves's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2005-01-21 20:04
Playing Outside alone..

Personally, I think 5 is a little young.
I wouldn't send Ais to play alone at 5.

But it's a very personal, geared to the child decision....

I don't ever remember playing anywhere but our yard, alone, when I was 5..... and we lived on an acreage so we were a long way fron a road, or people.

I remember playing with friends, without much supervision, when I was 6.

But a child's understanding, especially about strangers, and safety takes a big leap between 5 and 6.

We'd go down to the playground at the school, on bikes or something to that effect.... but we lived in a very small town.

BUT, if I had seen Cass out playing alone, being 5, I probably would have mentionned something to you, as opposed to call the Cops.

I lived on V.Island when Micheal Dunahee (sp?) went missing, and I know from that experience, a lot of parents really re-evaluated what was safe and what wasn't....

naivete's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 2004-05-06 15:48
Playing Outside alone..

I'm torn, I personally off the bat think it's too young, but I also remember playing outside at that age in my neighborhood, so it makes you wonder if a lot of it is just fear, you know?

When I was 5-6, I lived at the end of a horse-shoe-shaped culdesac, and often we'd play in the middle of the culdesac (you couldn't drive in it, it was blocked off by a gate) or in friends back yards, and just down the road was a small playground that we'd go to, it was literally like 2 minutes from my house, but not in view of the house, my mum never minded as long as I knew to stay in the general vacinity of the culdesac or playground, and we checked in about every half an hour to an hour.

But would I do it with T? Probably not, but I'm a very paranoid person.

Honestly I think it's BS that they called the cops on you instead of talking to you about it. Is there anything else that can be done? Do you have friends with kids similar in age to her that would supervise in exchange for something else?

ramonegirl's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 2004-11-27 23:32
Playing Outside alone..

I haven't let Lyric play outside yet, she'll be 6 in two months. I let her play on the small patio, but never alone. She's been in my dad's yard, but usually someone is out there.

I was going to mention what naivete did, too. I lived in the same complex I live in now when I was 5 & 6 ... and I remember playing outside by myself with my sister and neighbor kids ... so I am not sure.

jeanie_j's picture
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: 2006-03-04 20:40
Playing Outside alone..

I've been thinking about this lately too. I played alone quite a bit when I was a kid outside. We would ride our bikes, go to parks, walk to school back and forth by ourselves etc. But it was normal then and it doesnt seem to be as common now. I dont think that the world is anymore dangerous for kids now than it was before, we just hear about it more so it makes people scared. But yeah calling the cops is a little extreme in my opinion. And you can judge from spending time with a kid if they can handle 15 minutes of unsupervised outside play or not.

Amy Rox
Amy Rox's picture
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 2004-05-08 22:23
Playing Outside alone..

i played alone outside at that age, or with my brother and sister (who are older than me). we ran all about the neighborhood, spent time in the woods, and i was around 4 or so. we entertained ourselves a lot. but-- parenting styles have changed so much from when we were kids. i remember hearing "go outside and play!" and have had many people relate, having had similar experiences to mine. now, we have shifted toward the attachment style of parenting (myself included), which makes us hold their hands longer and generally be more protective. one style is not necessarily better or worse than the other, just different. i think it is really a judgment call, and a hard one to make. one of the downsides of the recent trend is the feeling of being afraid/paranoid about almost everything we let our kids do. but, who wouldn't be scared after hearing the news stories about child abduction? these situations happened back then when we were kids, but i think the media treated it a bit differently then. i also felt more of "a community raises the child" zeitgeist while i was a child, because i felt like i could always knock on a neighbor's door and i knew them, while now, it seems like people are a bit more self-absorbed. but then again, i am an adult now and so my worldview has changed.

haven't you mentioned in the past that your neighbors have complained/"had it out for you"? i'd guess that it's more of a personal thing against you, and not necessarily because they care about the well-being of cass. i think a well-intentioned neighbor would say something to you first and that calling the police would be an absolute last resort. this seems different.

kell82504's picture
Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: 2004-05-06 15:47
Playing Outside alone..

I think it depends on where you live and the childs understanding.

Me i wouldnt personally let my kids alone at 6 but thats because like naivete im a paranoid person but its because of all the shit going on in this world. I try to avoid bad situations.

Now andrew at 3 plays in my moms back yard alone but its fenced in and right behind us. ITs her property. No way for him to get out because gates are locked.

emily's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 2004-05-06 12:49
Playing Outside alone..

kiddo is 6 and i let him play outside alone. He's an only child and we have a bunch of rules about the back yard and where he's allowed to play. It helps that my hard is fenced in, and he knows not to go beyond the gate for ANY reason unless I'm with him, and we haven't yet had any problems.

I live on a HUGELY busy street, literally on the busiest street in Toronto, and sure it worries me that he's out there, by himself, even though i'm checking up on him...

but i weigh out that playing outside is important for him, and that he IS getting older, and does understand rules and why we stay inside the gate. I think it depends on the kid and the situation. If i didn't have a gated private yard there's no WAY i'd let kiddo out there.

misfit's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 week ago
Joined: 2005-09-28 17:56
Playing Outside alone..

I let Matthias play outside alone but he is 10 1/2.
I still don't let him go anywhere (we have a park down the street but he can't go without us) but he is allowed to play with friends in front of the house or in the backyard, and also a couple houses down at his friends house.

Malakhi is not allowed to play alone, not even on our front steps.
He'll be 5 and I'm afraid if I had to go to the bathroom that someone would grab him in the 2 minutes I was gone.

mamatessa's picture
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: 2007-10-19 09:32
Playing Outside alone..

I let Ian whos 4, play outside in the yard (it's huge but not fenced) and the cul-de-sac in front of my house or his grandparents or his cousins.. Our street is set up weird. Itrs a normal street with a cul-de-sac on the left every couple of houses. I live acvross the street and caddy corner to my in laws. and just like 5 or 6 houses from my nieces and nephew and their dad.We're in a cul-de-sac ourself and my in-laws and brother-in-law live across the street from differant cul-de-sacs. We live in a very family oriented neighborhood. Its all pretty much young families like ourselves. We also live in a very small town. I don't mind him outside playing as long as his cousins are with him. They are 7 8 and 9. I wouldn't do this tho if I didn't trust the neighborhood or if we lived in a big city. I also remember playing outside with my brother at about 5 or 6. And that was in Tucson and that's a huge city! I personally think its not the age but their maturity and how well you can trust them.

kuntish's picture
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 2006-08-14 18:10
Playing Outside alone..

I don't personally think the world is any more dangerous now than it was when we were all kids, I just think the media covers it more. I let Meghan play outside alone now, but I've only started recently. (She's 7, btw)

I think it depends on the age and how streetwise your child is. That sucks about your neighbours calling the cops. :roll:

erinn's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 2004-05-06 14:32
Playing Outside alone..

i think it depends on the situation and what your comfortable with.

at our old house i would never let riley play outside unless i was there.

at the new house, riley and her friends are always outside without much supervision. i was totally paraniod at first and woudl sit and watch them the whole time, but weve set up some very strict boundaries, and riley has a watch that beeps every sixty minutes, and at the time she has to come check in with me.

debdogg's picture
Last seen: 10 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2005-07-04 20:17
Playing Outside alone..

People are rude, calling the cops is totally out of line in my opinion.

Did the cops say it wasn't allowed? Or are you just uncomfortable with it now?

Id say that you should do what you are comfortable with. You are checking on her often, and if you are comfortable with it, I think its ok. You have to make choices that are good for you and your family.

Good luck, and I'm sorry they did such a mean thing like calling the cops.

SativaStarr's picture
Last seen: 10 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2004-05-16 13:39
Playing Outside alone..

I think I know who called, and its not the same person we've had issues with before, actually shes being a sweetheart and offering to watch Cass when she takes her grandkids down to the playground. It was the father of a boy who lives here in our building who called according to my upstairs neighbor.. which would mean it wasnt even a person who lives here.

I still think its a bit rediculous, but then again this is the same city that I had the cops show up on my door because someone called them after seeing me "inadequately consoling my child" in the grocery store parking lot.. Sure my kid was crying, and I hugged him, and then put him in his carseat :roll: Some people apparently have no lives around here.

The cop didnt say it wasnt ok directly, but Im not comfortable letting her out to play anymore, becasue the last thing i need is the cops at my door again. We live back in the city I grew up in, and the cops all new me in high school (and not in a good way) so i try my damndest to keep my distance from them, kwim?

I mean Id understand if it was a bigger city or something.. but its not. Hell, they expect kids her age to walk to school alone if its less than a mile, but she cant play outside? At least when shes playing shes not right next to the road like a walking child would be :roll:

SunshineBlossom's picture
Last seen: 3 years 12 months ago
Joined: 2004-05-08 23:25
Playing Outside alone..

We allow Ariana to play outside only at my parents house because they live in the country and there isn't traffic and other things like that around. But when she is here we don't allow her in the back yard alone.

I can remember when I was growing up I did play outside by myself at her age but we lived where my parents do now so I really think its all based on where you live and how you feel personally about it.