Yr3 (ages 7/8) children - how much freedom?(30 Posts)
OK, so I have name-changed for this as do not want to be outed. DS and friend both aged 7 were allowed to walk home from a fair along a track in the early evening. DS was with his dad last weekend and they had been to the fair with his father and his partner's family. All well and good. His dad, partner and family went home together to his partner's parents house. For some reason, DS and friend (a girl) were allowed to walk back to the house they were staying in for about 15 mins on the edge of a rural town in England. DS told me because he had been frightened as they had met 3 strangers separately on this one walk (one man, one lady and an an older boy on a bike). I am concerned as although we have spoken about "stranger danger" DS is only just 7 and very trusting. Would really appreciate what other parents think about this as I wonder if I am being too PFB?
My ds is 7 and I wouldn't be happy with that. He's not old enough yet to be trusted around roads or manage a 15 walk without an adult. Sounds like your ds isn't ready either especially if he was scared. My older dd was about 10/11 when she started doing short walks/spending short times without an adult.
If the friend was also the same age I wouldn't be happy about that. My 7 yr old plays in the few streets surrounding our house and walks about 5 minutes away to a park but only if he is with his 10 year old brother. He also knows the streets very well and these are busy streets with people about to see what's going on. This track doesn't sound like it was very open/overlooked and he doesn't sound like he is too familiar with the area.
I would be careful with 'stranger danger' though as not all strangers are dangerous and not all known people are good people.
No from me too. Too young to be responsible and utterly dependant on any adult at that age. Was is getting dark too?
I think he's too young for that but am also concerned that he understands "stranger danger" as needing to be scared of all strangers. What exactly have you told him?
Personally I don't think 7 year olds should be out anywhere unaccompanied.
OK - I have said "stranger danger" on this site to adults. I have been very careful about what I have said to him; I too don't want him to be afraid of everybody he doesn't know.
What does he think 'stranger danger' means? Because it sounds like he thinks he should be frightened of everyone he doesn't know.
X post with you OP.
I wouldn't be happy about this situation you describe.
My DS is also Y3, the extent of his 'freedom' is to be allowed to walk down the lane to beavers himself - me at the top of the lane where i can see the hut and i watch until he goes in!
actually, aside from whether we all think its ok or not, your DS has said he was scared/nervous which means he's too young. he will tell you when he feels he's ready i expect.
The idea he's scared of perfectly innocent people he passes is a concern. Two seven year olds walking home is fine as long as there are no fast roads to cross. The children at Brownies used to walk home together where we used to live. I used to go to school by bus about 6 miles away with my seven year old sister in charge from reception. We sometimes underestimate children and make them unnecessarily fearful.
I wouldn't be happy with them walking on their own at age 7, but I wouldn't teach them to fear strangers like that - statistically you're much more likely to be harmed by someone known to you than by a stranger and far more likely to need help from a stranger than be harmed by one. The chances of them being harmed by a stranger on that walk home were far less likely than them getting lost or one tripping over and hurting themselves and in that situation you want them to be able to ask a stranger for help, not panic because they're afraid to approach anyone and end up in a worse mess. Rather than teaching stranger danger, teach them which people are best to approach if they need help, ie. a mum with a child.
My 7 year old DTs are allowed to walk to school themselves but we are only about 100 yds away and I can see the playground (although not all parts of it) from our house. They are also allowed up to the school playground to play without an adult at the weekends but only if their older sister or brother (age 10 & 12) are with them. There is a grassy area also very close by but I wouldn't let them there without us yet because it's quite hidden and no clear visibility from homes or streets whereas the school playground is really open and visible.
The equivalent of what your DC has done would be my DTs walking home from the park along the old railway line back to our house without an adult - not a chance would I let them do that alone. We cycle and they scoot along the railway line and often go on ahead of us but would never go that far ahead. I would just about let my 10 year old walk home from the park alone now if we'd all been there together, but I still wouldn't let her go to the park alone or stay there without us if we'd left earlier.
Please read what I have said re "stranger danger" I put it in brackets for a reason. He is not frightened of people he doesn't know - we have discussed appropriate reasons to be wary of people and this is not what I am asking for information on but thank you. I am aware of all these issues as it is part of my job. It is more the 7 yr olds on their own that concerns me. All the 3 people they met stopped and talked to them, he didn't know them and I am glad that as they were alone, this rang warning bells with him - they could have been anyone.
It's a no from me, my dd isn't assertive enough to scream/run etc when required. I'm a bit precious with my 2 and I think I'll let them out for short walks when they're
No way. My 7-yr-old is way too young. Just started letting my 9-year-old walk home from school (50 yards!) alone!
Did they really all stop to talk to the kids?? I wouldn’t have been happy about this at all, they’re far too young for a 15 minute evening stroll.
What prompted your ex to let them, did they ask?
DS told me because he had been frightened as they had met 3 strangers separately on this one walk (one man, one lady and an an older boy on a bike).
I think it's this bit that people are picking up on, rather than the term stranger danger itself.
He wasn't happy - ergo he is too young.
7/8 would be the age to start thinking about independence, but only if they are happy, and start small.
I'm a Brownie leader so know quite a lot of 7 year olds. I wouldn't expect any of them to be going anywhere alone or with a same aged friend. Maybe playing out in their street depending on the sort of street they live on. They often have no road sense (although if you ask them they could tell you how to safely cross a road... doesn't mean they actually do it). We would never let any of the Brownies take themselves home unless we had written parental consent, and tbh in four years it's only come up once (for a 9 year old).
As a PP has pointed out, it doesn't matter what any of us think. He was scared, which means he's too young. Some 7 year olds might be fine (a minority imo) but your particular 7 year old isn't.
My 7yo would not be happy with that. She's barely happy to be upstairs without an adult, so she's a bit of an outlier. I don't know any of her school friends who would be allowed/expected to do that walk without an adult/responsible older child.
Well, strangers can be dangerous. I know statistically bad things happen to kids by someone they know, but I had enough dodgy encounters with strangers in my life to be wary. Playing out in daylight on the street where you live-fine. Walking home along a path at dusk-not fine. But you know this?
Thank you for your responses. No, I am not happy about it either and I have no idea what on earth my ExH was thinking nor do I quite know at the moment what on earth I am going to do about it. He doesn't listen to anything I say and seems to be far too laid about about DS's safety (on lots of fronts). Sadly
Yes with starting with independence and starting small and working up. But about giving them confidence in a safe environment to learn but as others have said, step by step.
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