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What age would you let your child play out in the street without direct supervision?

(21 Posts)
Greedygirl Sat 29-Sep-12 16:10:45

We live at the end of a cul de sac and the children on our street tend to play around the corner. I go and hover with a cup of tea. DS is nearly 5. Some of the other kids play out without hovering parents but they can probably see/hear from their house. I just think it is too young, he could be off up the road, following the bigger boys without me knowing but I think I probably played out at that age. What is the general consensus?

RoobyMurray Sat 29-Sep-12 16:16:50

hmm, it's a tricky one isn't it?

we let ours do it when youngest was 4, with rules about where they were allowed up to etc, but I was absolutely certain he wouldn't wander off or anything, it's just not his style IYSWIM.

I don't let them play on the street when other friends are visiting however, as I can't vouch for other children following the rules in the same way.

It very much depends on the child and their understanding of road safety etc.

Goldenjubilee10 Sat 29-Sep-12 17:10:52

We live at the end of a cul-de-sac. Ds's 1&2 were 7 when I started letting them play out alone. Ds3 (6) doesn't play out but is allowed to go messages to the neighbour's houses. I think 5 is very young.

Greedygirl Sat 29-Sep-12 19:44:56

Yes I think you are right, it depends on the age, understanding etc. I agree that, in my DS's case, 5 is too young. He is very easily led. I just feel a bit of a nutter hovering on the corner but it is nice that we live on a street where the kids come out and play together.

Goldenjubilee10 Sun 30-Sep-12 15:10:05

Don't worry, you are not alone. I do a lot of hovering!

Greedygirl Sun 30-Sep-12 21:33:05

Think I'll just get myself a bench!

Jas Sun 30-Sep-12 21:36:53

One of my neighbours has a bench at the front of her house for this exact reason!

DS is 6 and requires heavy supervision. He is not a sensible child, and will follow if other children run in the road. My dds were about 6 and 7, as they could be trusted to keep to my rules.

5madthings Sun 30-Sep-12 21:37:39

i let my 7 and 10 yr olds play out in the cul de sac and i wil be in the house, they know only to go up to a certain lampost, but ds4 is 4 and if he is out then i tend to be out in the garden (i have a bench!) or else i am in the kitchen and can see out of the window, i sometimes let him play out with the older ones when i am in the house but i nip out every few mins and the front door is always open so i can hear them and i can see them out the sitting room and kitchen windows.

from 5ish i would say its ok depending on the child and the cul de sac, ours is very quiet and lots of kids play out smile

emsyj Sun 30-Sep-12 21:39:13

We live on a tiny cul de sac (only 8 houses) in a generally 'naice' and safe area and DD (2.5) plays out with a neighbour's DS who is 4.5 but always with me or neighbour (or more often both of us) sitting out on the wall with a cup of tea gasbagging watching them. I can't imagine the older boy being ready to play out alone for a while, and he is a sensible kid (he's good at watching out for DD and making sure she doesn't wander too far on her little balance bike). I would think on this road that I would want DD to be at least 6 before she went out alone, and that would depend also on how sensible she proves to be by then (she is a bolter atm)...

Greedygirl Mon 01-Oct-12 06:46:58

Well I feel reassured that I am not being over the top. If I didn't hover, the neighbours who have a drive overlooking the street would have to bear the brunt of looking out for all the children and that is not fair. Whilst I joked about a bench that wouldn't actually be possible as it isn't my land so I will have to continue loitering on the street corner. Thank god for the mnet app!

Fuzzymum1 Mon 01-Oct-12 11:03:05

We live almost at the end of a quiet cul de sac and DS3 has just started playing out unsupervised at 5.8. He is only allowed 'as far as the red bricks' which is within sight of the house no more than about 20 yards away - he can ride his bike or scooter out there. There are other, much younger, children allowed free-run of the whole street, one has done since they were 2 and it terrifies me! One day they wandered into our neighbour's garden to play with their child and was there well over an hour (aged 3) before mum came looking for them.

LeFreak Mon 01-Oct-12 11:17:31

Depends on the child and where you live. DD has been playing out unsupervised since she was 4.

MrsJohnDeere Mon 01-Oct-12 11:24:55

Just started letting my 6yo do this. It is a very quiet rural cul de sac though, and I only let him when he's with some older and very sensible girls.

Much to his dismay, I don't let his 4yo brother play out yet. He just doesn't have the same degree of common sense.

steppemum Mon 01-Oct-12 11:31:40

we now live in a culdesac, and I am firm believer in encouraging independence, playing outdoors, go and knock for your friend yourself and all that stuff. (other parents think I am too lax)

oldest was allowed to play outside without me at 5 (different house, no cars, I checked regularly, had to curb his wings at next house)
second was allowed to once we moved here aged 6 - (previous house had busy road, I would cross her over and then she was allowed to go to corner shop, I watched out for her and crossed her back)

youngest is nearly 5 and not yet allowed to. I also think she is less reliable than dd1.

School lets them walk too and from on their own in year 4 - aged 8. dd1 has just started year 3 aged 7 and I would be happy for her to (not every day)

very hard to comment as depends on your road, your neighbours, your child and so on.

We have school friends who live about 300 yards away, across a dead end road and a grass patch. I suggested to mum that my dd and her dd could knock for each other (and we could text if she liked to know where they were). dds are 7. She was horrified, not even her 9 year old is allowed to do that, as she can't cross the (dead end) street safely. hmmm, maybe you should teach her then??

insideoutsider Fri 05-Oct-12 20:45:34

My kids are 4yrs old and I could NEVER imagine allowing them play outside by the street even at 7yrs by themselves. They can live in the back garden all they want but not the front by the street.

There are children in the 3 houses opposite our house range from age 3 - 10 and they are always outside. In fact, one child - a 6yr old girl - is 'put out' by her mother in the morning and finally 'allowed in' at about 8pm! The child practically has to beg to come in for a bathroom and she's always talking to strangers and unknown passers-by. How horrible. We live in a world with lots of bad people. I don't know how to leave my child outside without seeing him/her for a whole minute! I'll never understand it.

MogTheForgetfulCat Fri 05-Oct-12 21:00:59

I let DS1 and DS2 (6.8 and 4.8) play out on a little green out the back of our house, it's in a sort of 'triangle' in between 3 streets. There are usually other children out there, but if not they play out there together. There are rules. If one comes in, they both have to, so neither of them is out there alone. They are not to go off the green with anyone, adult or child. They stay on the green or in our back garden and nowhere else. I have been quite fierce about the rules, and they have been adhered to (they've been doing this since the summer hols).

It is something that I periodically have a wobble about, and I do nip up the garden to check on them periodically, or I bring DS3 out and use that as an excuse to stay out for a while smile. But I try not to allow my fears to take over. I know that the risk of anything really awful happening is, statistically, very low. I also want them to grow into strong, self-reliant, capable and self-confident individuals, and I think that having a degree of freedom, learning about risk and how to manage it etc., is part of that. But it's just my personal choice for my DC.

jennymac Fri 05-Oct-12 22:41:14

Well said Mog!

BackforGood Fri 05-Oct-12 22:45:38

Not sure it's quite the right week for this thread, considering the main news story sad.

MogTheForgetfulCat Fri 05-Oct-12 22:54:24

But isn't it because of the main news story - truly heartbreaking sad - that people are questioning their decisions, trying to find out what other people think about kids playing out etc?

The story about April is exactly the sort of thing that could make anyone stop their kids from playing out - but, heartbreaking as the story is, I for one will try very hard not to let it change the way I am doing thing with my DC (for the record, I completely respect anyone who does things differently - that is their choice for their DC) because I know, with my rational head on, that statistically our society is not more dangerous than it was when I was growing up. At least, not in terms of truly terrible things like child abductions - probably worse in terms of volume of traffic and things like that. And it's not more dangerous than it was before this news story broke. Although it might feel like it is sad.

Jas Fri 05-Oct-12 22:54:35

Possibly not - but this thread was started aweek ago.

Greedygirl Sat 06-Oct-12 16:57:12

Hello everyone, just wanted to say that I started this thread before I was aware about April Jones going missing. I in no way think that (a) her parents are somehow to blame or that (b) people should stop their children playing outside. Tbh I am more worried about my DS having an accident or getting hit by a car than being abducted. I hope they find April soon x

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