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Letting a four year old go to the shops unaccompanied?

(155 Posts)
wonderingwondering Sun 26-Jul-09 20:39:15

DS is 4.5, starts Reception in September. We live 200 yards from our local shop, where they know DS. Today, I thought about letting him go to the shop on his own. We live on a busy road, but there's a wide pavement, and he wouldn't have to cross the road. He's quite sensible.

He seems very young, but he's quite capable of going in to a shop and buying things on his own - he's done that, while I wait outside or in the car, for a year or so now. Is he too young to walk there and back on his own?

littlelamb Sun 26-Jul-09 20:39:52

Yes, far too young

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:14

No. not a chance. What on earth would he be going to the shops for at that age?

nigglewiggle Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:19

I wouldn't consider it.

expatinscotland Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:30

No, not along a busy road.

KingCanuteIAm Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:31


PestoMonster Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:39

Too young

aGalChangedHerName Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:41

Oh god i wouldn't let a 4 year old do that!!

onepieceoflollipop Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:44

I would say slightly too young. Could you watch him all of the way? (my dd would be fine in the shop on her own, she's 5. I would worry if she saw a friend/cute kitten etc on the other side of the busy road and decided to risk it)

wonderingwondering Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:48

Why? I was thinking about the pros and cons. Am not being adversarial, genuinely seeking thoughts.

kormachameleon Sun 26-Jul-09 20:40:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 26-Jul-09 20:41:00

When I say no, I mean no I would not let him, not not too young!

Dumbledoresgirl Sun 26-Jul-09 20:41:39

IMO - yes.

And I surprise myself saying that as I was the mother who shocked other mothers in the playground by letting my childen walk to school on their own when the youngest was 5. But they were together, your ds would be on his own and not old enough to deal with an unexpected situation.

Hassled Sun 26-Jul-09 20:41:44

Yes, he is way too young. Too young not to get distracted/forget what he's meant to be doing/not fall over on the way etc etc. Plus you would get looks and be judged. Could you cope with that?

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sun 26-Jul-09 20:42:04

Er, that will be a no.

Not yet.

Definitely not.

He is FOUR for goodness sake.


Dumbledoresgirl Sun 26-Jul-09 20:42:39

That is, Yes he is too young to do this.

wonderingwondering Sun 26-Jul-09 20:42:42

Yes, I could watch him if I stood at the end of my drive, which I'd do. He's be out of sight for 50 yards, past a row of shops where people know him. We walk past them several times a day, and they wave to him.

I was thinking about giving him some independence, that is all. Not sending him for gin & fags!

onepieceoflollipop Sun 26-Jul-09 20:42:42

4 year old dcs have no real concept of risk imo/ime.

Also he would not know how to react/respond if something even slightly untoward happened (e.g. if a well meaning stranger approached him, if someone was unkind in the shop etc)

He is too immature at that age (not just him, all dcs around that age I mean)

KirstyJC Sun 26-Jul-09 20:43:09

Agree, too young. Letting him go in when you're waiting outside is one thing, letting him go on his own is something else.

At this age he will be too easily distracted, unable to keep safety info in his attention etc. Even on a quiet road I wouldn't do it and certainly not on a busy one.

Give him another 3 or 4 years yet.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 26-Jul-09 20:44:02

50 yds is 50 yds too far imo.

He is doing well and having some independence if he goes into local shops alone imo. That's plenty of independence at this stage, honestly.

expatinscotland Sun 26-Jul-09 20:44:15

I don't get all this 'it makes them more confident and independent'.

I grew up about as restricted as it gets, having been in a very large US city with no public transport and I wasn't allowed a car in high school and you have to drive everywhere. Plus, I went to school across town and no bus, had to be driven.

Yet I don't find a lot of folks are independent, assertive and street-wise as i am here.

Bellsa Sun 26-Jul-09 20:45:00

No! far too young, as everyone seems to be pointing out.

onepieceoflollipop Sun 26-Jul-09 20:45:28

OP I am being honest when I say I think you are being a tiny bit pushy. Why the rush to push him into doing these "independent" things. Fair enough if he is 7 say, but he is only 4 and not even at school.

wonderingwondering Sun 26-Jul-09 20:45:32

OK. I did think about what might go wrong. But as he'd be in sight of me, or the shopkeepers who know him, at all times, I thought he'd be OK.

The road is busy but we have a wide pavement. I didn't see much difference between that and me waiting in the car while he runs in to the shop, which we do all the time.

KingCanuteIAm Sun 26-Jul-09 20:45:32

Pros - you may not have to worry about him waking up early in the mornings anymore - I am sure the nurses on the childrens ward will sort him out for you.

Cons - nope can't think of any hmm

wonderingwondering you have been here long enough to know exactly how MN would react to this in general which makes me think that you must eithre be after a scrap or soundbytes or some attention.

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