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What age to let a child play out on their own?

(27 Posts)
pipkins Thu 04-Aug-05 00:18:05

Just wondered what age you let your children play outside the front of your house on their own.
I live in a cul de sac with the house overlooking a green where other children go out to play.My ds is nearly 4 and loves to go play out their,but i stand watch him .Although it is a cul de sac and their is'nt much traffic cars obviously come and go from their houses and most don't stick to the speed limit.Ds is very good when walking anywhere and is weary of the road and knows to hold my hand when crossing etc.
Was talking to a couple of people today who thought it would be ok to let him play out their . They said i could'nt wrap my children up in cotton wool and lfe is about risks and my children ned to know that.

I still think it is too young.However road wise he may be you can't always rely on the drivers being aware and sticking to the speed limit.

Anyone think i am over reacting?

RTKangaMummy Thu 04-Aug-05 00:21:13

no way would I let DS at 4 play out

My friend lives in a quiet cul de sac but cars do go down esp visiting cars who do not expect children. IYSWIM

sparklymieow Thu 04-Aug-05 00:21:46

I don't allow my 7 year old out the front, all the other parents do, but because he has cerebral Palsy I worry that if he fell in the road he can't get up fast, the other neighbours prolly think I am wrapping him in cotton wool, but TBH I don't give a flying F*ck. He is my child and I want him safe. I am moving away from this street soon anyway because of problems here and I will be so glad to get away.........

sparklymieow Thu 04-Aug-05 00:23:33

and all my kids love looking out the windows at the other kids but I refuse to let them out there, especially atm.........

QueenEagle Thu 04-Aug-05 00:23:58

I wouldn't let a 3 year old play out the front on his own whether he was with other kids or not. I too live in a cul-de-sac and I think I probably let my ds2 out with his older brother and sister when he was about 6 or so. And that was with me watching from the front window.

So, no i don't think you are over-reacting.

QueenOfQuotes Thu 04-Aug-05 00:24:34

If it was just outside the house - ie no road then I'd probably let him (when DS2 was 3 he was playing out the front - but the road was a long way off, and there was always at least one or two parents watching out of the window). But if there was a road - no way - not even now - and he's nearly 5 and IS road concious.

mishmash Thu 04-Aug-05 00:25:49

I guess it all depends on where you live - DD our youngest is 4 but she doesn't go beyond the front wall. The boys do but they are 6 and 8 but wouldn't wander too far either - they are always in either one of three houses and we live in a quiet area - mind you the river is quite close but they have never attempted to go near it.

Cadmum Thu 04-Aug-05 00:26:30

I have also been told that 'I cannot protect my children forever' and other lovely, helpful suggestions but I have only just started to allow my 8 and 6 year olds to play out front by himself this summer. They are both sensible and road-aware as well but accidents can happen and children can be impulsive.

Ultimately, you know your child better than anyone offering friendly advice so you will know when you feel confident to allow him a few unsupervised moments. HTH

Cadmum Thu 04-Aug-05 00:28:17

ooops sorry for the typos... Pregnancy brain and too many interruptions...

pipkins Thu 04-Aug-05 00:34:03

Thanks RTKangamummy and Sparklymieow.
My thoughts entirely.They asked what age i thought was acceptable.I could'nt answer as I feel all children are different and would need to see as he gets older how responsible he becomes.

Like you say RTKangamummy,visiting cars etc maynot be as aware of the children playing.
I just feel over neurotic,as i see these other children out there out of view from their homes and don't know how the parents can do it.I would be pacing up and down looking out of the window all the time.
Also you never know who is about!!!!!Now I am really getting neurotic!!

Sparklymieow,wish i could feel like you and not worry what people thought all the time.
Glad you are moving soon ,hope you enjoy your new home.

sparklymieow Thu 04-Aug-05 00:36:46

You do it when you are ready, and when you feel your son is old enough, don't let the other neighbours bully you into it, you would be at the window all the time and wouldn't relax.

RTKangaMummy Thu 04-Aug-05 00:41:28

Stick to your guns

If in doubt say that other parents have told you that you are not in a minority

pipkins Thu 04-Aug-05 00:41:42

Thanks for all your replys.
I don't feel so bad now.Looking back i always remember my mum aying i was'nt allowed out of the ront garden until i was about 8,a lot older than my friends.Maybe that's why i feel the way i do.
As for someone saying children need to know their are risks in life,I am not wiling to chance it.As his mother i should protect him from risk at 4 years old.

assumedname Thu 04-Aug-05 00:42:52

pipkins - 7 would be the earliest age I'd consider it. It would still depend on how sensible the child was and how sensible the other children were.

My house backs onto a park with kids' swings etc right over the other side. I let my dd's go there by themselves when the park's quiet. They're 11, 9 and 6, but there is no road to cross and I can see them from my window. It's more usual for the older 2 to go by themselves.

Caligula Thu 04-Aug-05 00:44:44

TBH, I wouldn't let my kids play on the roads at any time.

I suppose because I was never allowed to, it has always seemed a very strange place to play, to me. It's a hangover from the days when there were no cars on the road, and later, very few cars.

I know people say it's all about keeping the community alive and there are 20mph schemes now and positive efforts to make some streets "children's playing streets" or some such, but it has always struck me that places for children to play and transport routes are an incompatible mixture. I've always been slightly puzzled by it, and the only way I can imagine letting my kids out to play is in a situation like yours, where it's a cul de sac and there's a green for them to play on - and even then, I'd probably give them strict instructions that they had to stay on the green until I came to the front door to wave them across the road! (And certainly not at 4 - they'd have to be at least 8!)

pipkins Thu 04-Aug-05 00:47:12

Sparklymieow,you have just descibed me to a tee.
I would be at the window all the time and having major panic attacks.I often do just watching the other children ,especially as a large white van parks on the kerb every night and the times i have seen the childen run across anfd have'nt been able to see it frightens me to death.

Great idea RTKangamummy.maybe i should just print off this thread and stick it to my front door.

RTKangaMummy Thu 04-Aug-05 00:48:13

ScummyMummy Thu 04-Aug-05 00:51:25

I think it depends so much on where you live.

Skribble Thu 04-Aug-05 00:53:42

I have the same set up as Assumedname with park outside back gate. I can watch them from back garden and were in a small village, age 5 and 8. They have to come in if any of the older kids are in park mostly due to their language.

pipkins Thu 04-Aug-05 00:56:30

Assumedname and caligula-thanks for your replys.
The other children that play out are a mixture of ages from about 4-11.I would'nt trust any of them to look after my ds.
There is about 30 houses in the cul de sac and a small road lead to the side of our house up to 4 of the houses.So cars come and go from those houses most of the day.
I just think we have a lovely rear garden which backs onto the school playing field and ds and dd who is 2 love gettingout their everyday.
It's just other people think they need to socialize more with other children and I am denying them that.

pipkins Thu 04-Aug-05 01:00:49

Scrummymummy-It is a nice cul de sac and the houses were built in 2000 backing onto the school with children in mind.But a lot still depends on as skribble has said what the other children are like ie language etc

TwinSetAndPearls Thu 04-Aug-05 01:05:17

My dd (3.11) plays in our front garden and I let her ride her tryccle on the pavement as far as the end of the gardens either side of us, so 50yds either way. ( i am saying 50 yds but don't have a clue what that is, the width of a standard suburban semi!)

I always have my front door open, I live on a very quiet road with lots of old people all arund me who seem to be permanently watering their front gardens. I check on her every few minutes, although to be honest I can hear her anyway.

I suppose it all depends on your neighbourhood, you and your child.

Caligula Thu 04-Aug-05 01:08:57

Hmm, yes I can understand that, about the socialisation aspect. But why do people not use each other's gardens? When i was a kid, there were about 6 families in the street who had kids and we were always in and out of each other's gardens.

(Thinking about it, all of the families we played with were either Irish or Turkish, so from very rural locations where the parents had grown up in a society with very little traffic. So I supect they were freaked out by the amount of traffic they got in London, which is probably why none of us were allowed to play on the road.)

And then otoh with the socialisation thing - they'll play with other kids in school and playgroup! I don't think you'll be actively harming your ds by not letting him out. I like the idea of kids playing out on the street and looking after each other, but I just don't think our communities and children are geared towards it anymore. I remember feeling responsible for a crying three year old when I was about 10, and knowing that he had to be taken home to his mother. I'm not sure the average 10 year old nowadays would understand that or feel it was his problem.

QueenOfQuotes Thu 04-Aug-05 01:11:50

"But why do people not use each other's gardens?"

In our instance because it was extremely impractical. Unless you wanted a troup of 14 or 15 children - aged between 3yrs and 13yrs - truding through your living room, into the kitchen, through the utility and back again. Then there was the factor (in our instance) where they were playing in the gardens at the front (cul-de-sac without the road in the middle, so a path with houses coming off and hardly any fences) they could actually be seen out the back in the garden it was difficult to keep an eye on them

Caligula Thu 04-Aug-05 01:18:20

Ah. We always accessed via the fences. Hardly ever went inside the houses as I recall. In fact, so rarely, that I now remember one time we did, when we learnt some Turkish from our neighbour's granny who struck me as being this august being on a throne (god knows what kind of chair it was, but it impressed me as being a throne!) And also, there were only about six of us ever allowed in at one time.

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