Can 7 year old DS go to park alone?(70 Posts)
I have a question. My 7 year old DS is quite responsible for his age. Now we live right opposite a park that I can see from my windows, and we go there as much as we can, although with me doing a full time Uni course maybe not as often as i'd like. Now my 7 year old is begging to be able to go over on his own on days I cant take him. He has his own phone, and I can see the park from my windows and other children of his age play there unattended. Do you think it would be ok for me to let him occassionally go there on his own if he takes his phone with him so I can contact him regularly?
No I wouldn't let mine go. I think it is too young.
My DD is only nearly 2 so I have no direct experience but I just wanted to say that I read an article in, of all places, the national trust magazine a year or so ago which said that people's fear of their kids being snatched is actually unrealistic and no more likely today than it was in the 70s or whenever. What has changed considerably is the likelihood of being hit by a car, so as long as you can supervise the road crossing he should be fine. Maybe you could do some research on the crime figs at the local library to satisfy yourself that your fears are hopefully unjustified?
It's difficult to judge without knowing the park and your house. If it's virtually your garden and it is full of parents and children you know and you all have similar rules (e.g. about what behaviour is acceptable, which areas are in and out of bounds) then cautiously yes.
If it is mainly deserted, and there is one swing swinging eerily, a crisp packet blowing bleakly across the tarmac, then no.
I think its impossible to say who is and isn't safe issy, that list is very confusing to me as an adult. I go with the never go any where with anyone is not your parent or aunts and uncles, because unless there was an emergency I would never send anyone for you, and in the event of a emergency the only people who I would send for them would be an aunt or uncle and strictly no one else.
I would filter your list down to relatives or one or two very very close friends who are in agreement that in the event of an emergency you would call upon them.
It's a tricky one. For me personally I say no to my 7 year old - even though the park is literally just 5 mins walk away. This is because around 6 years ago when my sons were that age, a car with 2 men stopped near the park, and they talked to some children playing there, and tried to persuade them to get in the car to come and see some puppies . I know it was a long time ago, but that incident remains at the back of my mind, and my daughter is very small in height etc still and would not stand a chance if someone tried to force her into a vehicle. We live in an extremely quiet village with very little traffic.
With my sons, I waited until they were in year 5 before going to park on their own. With DD, I don't even know about that, but perhaps I am overprotective.
We've talked to the DCs about 'stranger danger' but sometimes it's hard for children to know who is a 'stranger' and who isn't. So our rule is that everyone is a stranger unless they have eaten a meal with us in our house. We're very sociable but that rule still makes the circle of trusted people fairly tight and all the people with whom we might have the odd friendly conversation but don't actually know - the parents of a school friend we may have bumped into in the playground, the school caretaker, the guy who runs the corner shop - are still "strangers". The only exception to this is the DCs' current and past teachers.
Having said that, I still think the roads are a way, way bigger risk.
I let my 7yo twins play out last summer within sight of the house and to the park, two roads away with either ds1 (10) or dd (12). I don't let them go together, because they are more sensible as individuals.
I won't let them go to the park at the moment, just because the park is too quiet and it is out of sight. I'd let them if I could see them. As the weather warms up, and the park gets busier again, I will let them. I'm not so worried about abduction, but if one of the kids hurt themselves, and there is nobody around to help.
I',m not sure I would let a 7 year old carry a phone, I'd be worried about it being stolen from him and him getting hurt. It might be a cheap nokia, but I'd still worry about the risk. Surely with the park opposite you can shout for him if need be - or get a whistle!
I would, my 7 year old plays out, if there are others his age unaccompanied and you can see the park I think its safe enough. I would just go through some basic rules of safety. My dd must come home if no other children are playing out or if everyone else goes home and she must never leave any friend alone with out telling each other if they go home.
I let my dc's out at this age OP
I don't believe children are in any more danger than ten, twenty of fifty years ago. In fact I believe they are far safer at times due to the restrictions we all put on them and the fact that kids do have phones, so help can be called quickly in case of accident and injury
I decide each request at the time its made. Sometimes I am probably a bit unreasonable and say no for no apparent reason other than my instinct, but as I do give them a reasonable amount of freedom most of the time they respect my
silly concerns decision.
How about you let him go as long as he is with mates and then "spy" on him from your window so you can tell if he is sensible when he thinks you aren't
looking? That way, you have done a little check for peace of mind.
I find it ridiculous that someone up thread wouldn't let their 9 and a half year old out unless they have SN. My Ds was allowed out at about the age of 8, told to come home if his mates drifted off and not to play alone. We did the road safety and "stranger danger" talk and that was that. My youngest is only 4 and a half, and although I wouldn't let him out now, I can see myself letting him when he is about six, with DS1 who would be 11 by then. I would never have let DS1 out at that age, but he didn't have a big brother.
Good luck, and if you do let him out, enjoy the peace.
Wow, this thread has generated alot more interest then I expected. The thing with April Jones as well is that she was still out playing at 7.30pm at night, my children are in bed by 7pm so they'd be home eating and bathing by 5.30pm.
And its not just about me taking "work to the park" as a couple of people have suggested.
a) That would not work as I have 2 young ones, 4 and 3, which would not allow me to work at the park and I tend to do my work when the kids are in bed in the evening, and
b) it's not just about work. Its about me rushing in from a long day at uni, running around trying to get tea on at the same time as tidy up from the morning, help the kids do their homework and generally do mum/house stuff which I cant do during the day due to me attending lectures at university until 4-5pm most days and it is this fact which does not allow me to take them to the park every day, not my "work".
Its about giving him the freedom do pop over to the park for half hour to an hour while I cook their tea so he's life isnt constantly just school-childminder-home-bed!!
we also stay in a quiet estate with few cars and no through traffic
when ds was 7 he was allowed to play in our cul-de-sac, but not go past a certain lamppost, which he was very good at, even when his friends went and played further away. He was allowed to the park around the corner out of sight of the house last summer when he was 8.
Is it a park (large area, with trees, adults, dog walkers etc) or a playground (mostly kids)?
If its a playground in sight of your windows I would have let ds go at 7. If its a park would have been more wary.
My 7 year old is allowed to go to the park by himself and has been allowed to do this for at least the past year. He usually meets up with other kids to play football. I tend to wander up every now and then to check, and he has to come home on the hour every hour to check in. If he misses a check-in and I have to go and collect him, he has to come home.
yes i would let mine go, dont see a problem with it.
How are our children to learn to deal with risk and decision making if we never allow them any kind of freedom, or to take any measured forms of risk? They'll get to secondary school age, and have to walk to school across town, but won't have been out of the sight of a parent? How will they cope? Surely the situation OP describes is a PERFECT way to start her DS on the road to independence, in small baby steps?
The risks of a child being abducted by a stranger are miniscule. If we become a society that won't let children do anything because of the miniscule possibility they may be abducted, then I worry what sort of society we will have in 30 years - micro managed probably.
As for road crossing, surely we should be teaching our children how to cross a road safely from the time they start to walk or even before. Clearly not on their own at that age, but I would have thought that a child who is nearly 8 should be able to cross a quiet road safely.
hmmm yeah, in these circumstance, i would - since you can see it. is there a little crowd of his friends he can go with??
I don't think it's about being abducted - it's about safety in all sorts of areas - cars, accidents, etc
Yes. The only danger that has increased since we were all allowed out on our own is traffic. If your road is a quiet one there's no problem. No more strangers abduct/kill children than before. If you let your child visit other people without you that is as dangerous! April Jones was taken by a friend's Dad not a stranger.
My nearly 8 year old has been playing at the park next to our house (no road just over a fence) since he was 5 so I would if you think they're sensible enough.
My ds has a phone too so I can ring him if he goes to a friends house and I need him back, but he doesn't carry it all the time.
I wouldn't. A 7 year old is vulnerable even if they're well behaved and trustworthy!
I think of parents like the little girl April who was recently allowed to play nearby because 'all the other kids can' and it had always been safe, and how much they tragically must wish they'd have chosen a different path.
I know just because it happens to one parent it doesn't happen to them all, but at 7 I wouldn't take that chance.
But why are children today not as free to roam? The risk from cars is greater but the risks of being murdered by a random stranger is no greater now than it was 50 years ago.
If you trust the area, I would say go for it. 7 was the age I remember being let out to play by myself (also on a quiet estate) and in all the areas I've lived in since this seems to be the general trend.
I know some people get very paranoid, but you should use your best judgement. I think a little independence can be a good thing.
No sorry i wouldn't... It's a shame but better safe than sorry... If you know one of the other parents who are with their child at the park perhaps you could ask them to keep an eye on him? 7 is still so little...
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.