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Tell us about the first time you let your child go somewhere on their own - £300 voucher to be won NOW CLOSED

(222 Posts)
PoppyMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Jul-16 10:21:05

It can be a big deal when your child first makes a trip on their own - whether it's to the corner shop, across the road to a friend or the playground, or maybe up to school without you for the first time. Churchill Insurance would like to hear about your experiences of the first time you let your child go somewhere on their own. Tell us where they went, how old they were and how you felt about letting them go. Did you set out any ground rules about road safety or perhaps sticking to an agreed route? Did it all go according to plan? With the school holidays coming up, your DC might be waiting to do their first solo trip then. Where are they planning to go and how do you feel about it?

Please share your stories with Churchill Insurance below. All MNers who post on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 Love2Shop voucher.

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Thanks, and good luck!


Sammyislost Mon 11-Jul-16 12:00:18

Mine are only 3 and 6 and I haven't let them out by themselves yet. Although in the future, we live opposite a play park and on the same road as the school, so I'd let them walk to these destinations by themselves, but probably more likely to be near when they are 10 years old.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Mon 11-Jul-16 12:18:08

Dd is allowed to play at the park at the end of the block which is just ut of sight.

Needless to say I am often found peering out of upstairs windows- cleaning them- to catch a glimpse of her without her knowing she is being checked up on wink

She is 6, trustworthy, and most importantly, I want her to have the childhood that I had.

CopperPan Mon 11-Jul-16 12:59:07

DCs are older now but they were allowed to play in the nearby park on their own from age 5. I can actually see the playground from my kitchen window, and there aren't any roads to cross to get there so I felt secure about it. Kids tend to have a fair bit of freedom around here and are usually walking to school alone (which includes crossing A roads) by the time they're 8.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 11-Jul-16 13:11:53

I have always tried to give my DDs independence skills and small amounts of freedom so that they are confident to do things without me, usually within the context of camping trips or small festivals. We are too rural for them to walk to school alone and the nearest shop is miles away.

Now they are older they are often out in the park or around the village with their friends. I am more concerned about cars than strangers, to be honest. Safe crossing skills are key.

CMOTDibbler Mon 11-Jul-16 13:19:38

DS started with a bit of independence when we were camping, then playing out on the green in front of the house, then going to the garage (end of the road, easy to cross), then going to the park with us catching up. At 10, he's a very confident road crosser and in our tiny town it means he has a lot of freedom.

My next aim is for him to go to the pool by himself!

asuwere Mon 11-Jul-16 13:24:19

DS1 was about 6 when he was allowed to go to school on his own- I worried, even though there was only 1 road and there was a lollipop man there. It was only because DS2 and DD were ill and didn't want to drag them out.
DS2 and DD were older on their first trips on their own as they weren't quite as trustworthy. Obviously have to agree where they are going, which way and if there are roads, make sure they are confident at crossing.

AMomentaryLapseOfReason Mon 11-Jul-16 13:56:29

We started very gradually from about 5: you can go ahead of us and wait at the next road crossing; you can cross this small road while I watch; you can go the rest of the way home (out of sight) with no more roads to cross, and so on.

First true independence was age 8 for the oldest, he could call for his friend one street away. Now he is 10 he is very useful: can pop to the shop, stay in while I take his sisters to their activities, answer the phone, make a cup of tea and so on. We're training him up to use buses now.

Atlas15 Mon 11-Jul-16 13:57:03

I let my five year old play in the front garden as I watch from the kitchen window.

allthingsred Mon 11-Jul-16 14:14:48

I let my dd play out on her own when she was 8. We moved to an estate with lots of children the same age & she was allowed to go as far as a field about 2 mins from the house. To be honest I was checking on them every 10 mins & I had my friend looking out for them as well (her house overlooks area )
For the 6 weeks hols I have her an old brick of a mobile so I could ring her & know she was alright

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Mon 11-Jul-16 14:16:00

My dd was 19 months.
She had chosen a hat in the pound bin in a charity shop.
I was laden with Xmas shopping and a buggy.
I gave her a pound coin.
She walked up to the lady and simply said "hat" and handed over her coin.
I watched from the door.

Ds went to school on his own at 9.
I used to walk him half way as the big road runs through the middle of the village.
I used to cross him over this road, then he went the rest of the way on his own.
After dd was born, we had a lot of snow. I couldn't get to the road with the pram. So he went on his own.

Batboobs Mon 11-Jul-16 14:34:40

I began to give my son his first taste of freedom at about 8 years old. Initially he was only allowed to play directly outside our house, and wasn't allowed to cross the road so I could always see him. The purpose of this was really because I could see he was getting fed up with being cooped up at home with his younger siblings, and wanted to be out with his friends.

Then that summer he joined a youth club, about 5 mins away from us. It was this that was the making of him, and his confidence began to grow as he brought himself there and back. He has only one road to cross getting there, and after being coached a few times on road safety has had no issues at all.

At 9 he began to take himself to school, unfortunately due to his younger brother attending a different primary school a mile away! He had to take the bus there and back, door to door, and I gave him strict rules about coming home immediately at 3:30 and catching the first bus home. No problems there either.

Now he is 10 and can do small jobs for me like getting bread, milk etc from our local Tesco (5 mins away), and he is allowed to play further away from home. I give him rules about times, and he knows he is not allowed into anyone's home, cars etc. It can be nervewracking for me, as a few times he has been a bit late and I have been worried out of my mind, only for him to stroll through the door moments later with not a care in the world. But I understand, this is a part of him growing up and I have to allow him some freedom and to prove he can be responsible.

forkhandles4candles Mon 11-Jul-16 14:37:31

I have barely done this - ludicrous when I think of my own feral childhood. However 11 year old has been allowed - by DP - to walk across two roads to drama class. DS - who is 8 - is allowed to go around the block on his bicycle - on pavements. Mad - soon DD will be going to school and back every day on her won!

PortiaCastis Mon 11-Jul-16 14:53:58

I have had to be careful with dd (now 17) as we live in a seaside town and it gets very busy. She always wanted to buy herself an ice cream from one of the many cafes in town and I had my doubts but decided to let her attempt this at age 5 while I stood in the doorway watching.
She said hello to the owner and offered her £1 then pointed to every flavour available to go on her cone.
The owner was lovely to her and gave a teeny bit of each flavour available for her treat
When given her mouth watering offering she announced loudly "thank you but I want one for Mummy as well ".
Owner was laughing and caved in to dds demand and I was proudly presented with a strawberry mint chocolate vanilla raspberry flavoured ice cream with a gobstopper on top !
Yummy thanks dd !!

WarmHugs Mon 11-Jul-16 15:19:09

DD was 18 months when her brother was born. I sent her to stay overnight with my friend, having never been away from her for longer than an hour.

I sent her off with full instructions of her day, minute by minute. And I worried the whole time.

Although I do still have the 14 pages of a4 that I wrote to amuse myself with now. What was I thinking!

NotEnoughTime Mon 11-Jul-16 15:56:53

I sent my son to post a letter at the local post box which is about a five minute walk away from our house. He was 9 if I remember correctly.

It was the longest 5 minutes of my life

healingmachine Mon 11-Jul-16 17:13:17

She stayed at her nan's overnight once and it was just horrible. I couldn't relax! Huge anxiety! Felt like I'd left a limb somewhere. I know it's ridiculous but it didn't feel right not doing bath and bedtime.

Larnipoo Mon 11-Jul-16 17:36:50

My son went to beaver camp in his own last year. The previous year me and my husband stayed at camp as we were worried (our son is autistic so has no awareness of danger). We knew everyone involved so knew he'd be alright. We were so proud. I think me and hubby were more nervous than our son.

miaowmix Mon 11-Jul-16 17:44:28

Let daughter go to the park on her own when she was 8. With some friends actually, so not totally solo. Can see park from house, no roads to cross.

Friend announced "Finally - some freedom!" smile

LifeIsGoodish Mon 11-Jul-16 17:53:04

I've been letting my dc play unsupervised in the close outside our house since 5/6yo, go to the park alone since 7yo, to the corner shop since 8yo, to and from school alone since 9yo, gradually increasing their bounds. They have always had clear limits re distance and time, and have always been praised for respecting them and grounded for breaking them. I very very rarely have to ground.

kateandme Mon 11-Jul-16 17:55:32

I appreciate reading these posts. the first day I was allowed to school by myself changed my life for the worst imaginable.and so I think reading these replys might help me as ive been forever fearful of what I will do when tha ttime should or will come for my own

doing Mon 11-Jul-16 18:58:22

Independence starts when they are tiny.

DS is three and plays out in our (very safe) immediate local area alone. He comes to find me if he wants anything.

People have commented on how independent he is. I value it so have encouraged it but it's a bit chicken and egg as to which produced the other.

sharond101 Mon 11-Jul-16 19:08:49

DC are 3 and 1, anxious about letting them out my sight so reading this with interest.

RamsayBoltonsConscience Mon 11-Jul-16 19:23:39

Ds is 16 now but he started building up his independence fairly early thanks to Beavers and Cubs. I had allowed him to play outside but not out of my eyeline when he was about 7 but he went up to the shops to buy a pint of milk when he was 8. They are about a 5 minute walk (no roads to cross) and I sweated out every second that he was gone. I was very casually wiping down the work surfaces in the kitchen when he got back. I told him I was proud of him and he was happy that he had been trusted. That was the start of the big wide world and he recently went to his first gig in London. I was just as nervous as I had been when he was 8 and again had a very clean kitchen before I had to pick him up from the train station!

gazzalw Mon 11-Jul-16 19:29:19

DS went to the corner shop on his own at the age of 9. When he started in Year 5 he used to walk home (30 minute walk) from school several afternoons a week on his own. As soon as he hit secondary school he was doing the journey alone.

DD we're a bit more precious with TBQH. Not sure whether it's a gender or youngest child thing. She is keen to walk home alone but doesn't have the same friendly 'check-in' points (should there be any issues) that DS had...With her coming up to Year 6 though we do realise that we will have to start letting her do things alone.

Putting it in context, DW used to catch a bus home from school (ten stops) with her little sister from the age of 7. Their mother used to wait for them at the arrival point.

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