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to not want ds to play in the street any more?

18 replies

vmcd28 · 30/03/2011 11:45

On Sunday, ds1 (who has just turned 6yo) went out to play with two kids along the road (boy age 6, girl age 7, I think). He was playing approx 12 houses away, in a new-build area, near the top of a cul-de-sac, so he wasn't far and it isn't a busy road. I told him I'd come and get him in half an hour when dinner was ready. So I went to collect him, and as I'm walking along the road, I see that they're all running around on the road. Gulp. I started to run towards them, as a car was coming from the cul-de-sac. They were on the pavement by this point , so I breathed a sigh of relief. Until they stepped onto the other side of the road without even looking. I didn't shout (he hadn't heard me when I shouted a few moments earlier anyway) because I didn't want him to stop in front of the car or whatever. Once the car had safely passed - thankfully the driver had slowed right down and kept his eye on the kids - I shouted to ds to stay on the pavement, then asked him to cross when I saw it was safe.

Now, USUALLY my friend's dd is also out playing, and my friend keeps an eye on them from the window, but on this occasion they weren't at home, but I (wrongly) expected ds to remember the one golden rule of not playing/crossing/going onto the road.

Ds shouted "sorry, mum" the second he saw me, before id even suggested I was annoyed, so he did know, but was clearly not wanting to be the odd one out.

I've now said that I don't want him playing out the front unless an adult is there or watching them. I've suggested they all play in our wee back garden instead, but they often play on bikes, so they don't want to play out the back. Incidentally, ds can't ride a bike so he usually watches the others on their bikes, bless him.

Dh reckons he should still be allowed out the front, as he needs to learn and needs to be trusted. But he didn't see them running onto the road without even looking - I just about passed out when I saw that! This could be happening each time he's out, fgs!

Also, all the kids live further along the street which is why they play along there and not in front of our house (which I'd far prefer).

What would you all do? I don't think ds should never be allowed out again, but don't know what to do. I thought we had drummed it into him about never going on the road, but clearly he's still young and can't be expected to remember this at all times, so when can we let him loose?! I want him outside playing!

OP posts:

worraliberty · 30/03/2011 11:49

I would ground him for at least a week.

Normally, seeing their friends play out and knowing they can't join them is punishment enough to make them remember.

If you do decide to do this...really you must stick to it though.


kreecherlivesupstairs · 30/03/2011 12:22

He clearly understands that he shouldn't have been in the road which is good.
I would go with worra's idea, also, would it be ridiculous to chalk on the pavement so he doesn't leave his safety zone, or would that just be bonkers?


Boobalina · 30/03/2011 12:42

Its a well know fact that children can work out distances and also the speed a car is travelling until they are nine... something to do with their brains and eyes not recognising it until then.

What if the car hadnt slowed and it was a boy racer -- cul de sac or not, he is only 6 years old....


Desperateforthinnerthighs · 30/03/2011 12:42

YANBU - this is the exact reason I dont let my 8 year old play out!!! He is allowed as far as our front drive way but knows not to go over the line! Cars whiz up and down our road and it just isnt worth the risk - we have a big back garden so he can play in that.


Boobalina · 30/03/2011 12:43

Sorry - that should read

Its a well know fact that children cant work out distances and also the speed a car is travelling until they are nine


lurkerspeaks · 30/03/2011 12:49

I would 'ground' him for a period of days and allow him the misery of watching his friends playing out without him and then allow him to play out again.

I would be much more careful for the first few days after playing resumed and would be surreptitiously checking up on him.

If you catch him 're-offending' on the road then I think you would be justified in banning playing out for quite some time.

When I was small we didn't have chalk marks but were constrained by landmarks eg. weren't allowed to go further than Mrs X's house in one direction and Mr Y's in another. Being caught meant a serious punishment.


vmcd28 · 30/03/2011 22:53

Thanks everyone, and thanks for empathising. I was expecting to be told how wrong I was for allowing him out to play in the street :)

As a weird update, I texted the aforementioned friend to say that this happened on Sunday, and she replied "I watch them when I'm at home, but I'm ok with dd playing on the mini roundabout - I think the neighbours expect them to be there now so the cars slow down."


So the cars are expected to slow down cos they know there will be kids playing ON THE Road on a traffic calming roundabout?! This is a whole knew AIBU right here! ! I replied to say kids of any age should NOT be playing on the road, full stop, and ds1 will not be allowed to play on the road under any circumstances. I'm actually shocked, as she is usually quite precious about her dd, who is still 5yo, incidentally! She said something about "trying to give her freedom", to which I replied that giving them freedom and letting her play on the road are two completely different things!

OP posts:

edam · 30/03/2011 23:03

Boobalina - I thought that the age at which children can reliably judge the speed of a moving car is seven. Not nine. Could be wrong but it's often worth double checking 'well known facts'.

VMCD - blimey, your friend really is nuts. Playing on a mini-roundabout?! I've been letting ds play out since he was four (with close supervision at first, obviously) but drummed into him the importance of staying ON the pavement. Can't remember how old he was when I started allowing him to cross the road very carefully but he knows he will be banned from playing out immediately if I ever see him NOT looking right, left, and right again, all the way across. And he knows I check!

Think I've banned him a couple of times - from memory, for a few days, possibly a week. Seeing his friends playing out while he's stuck inside really rammed the message home. Can't recall the last time I had to issue a ban, though.

Always practice good road crossing every time we are out. Plenty of opportunities every day as I don't drive so we are always on foot. Ds is probably bored to tears of me saying 'right, left, right again' but I hope constant tedious repetition means it will have become second nature by the time he's going places without me...


Boobalina · 31/03/2011 12:22

They cant judge. They shouldnt be out playing by a road unsupervised. What if a car like a Zafira etc reverses off a drive slowly - you cant see behind properly in those.


GiddyPickle · 31/03/2011 12:40

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhereTheWildThingsWere · 31/03/2011 12:44

I just think he's too young to play in the street, sorry.


mijas99 · 31/03/2011 12:49

Maybe I am strange, but I grew up in the suburbs 25 years ago, and all the children on my street used to play outside on the street (a residencial street with a cul-de-sac) from the age of 3 with no adult supervision.

Best days of my life - and noone ever got hurt.

Let children be children, dont keep them inside and give them the freedom they deserve!


Ripeberry · 31/03/2011 12:59

mijas99, problem today there are too many cars and some have bad vision all round. It's amazing any of us ever survived the 70s/80s. I used to play in the street, walk in the woods and play near a river and walk on a frozen lake regularly!


vmcd28 · 31/03/2011 13:25

Thanks for your comments - tbh no-one has any idea WHY there's a roundabout there at all! It's a quiet street, of approx 90 houses (that ends in a cul-de-sac), and the roundabout is beside house nbr 75?! The whole estate is full of speed bumps too, so possibly they're legally obliged to put in a certain nbr?

Anyway, the problem is that I agree with you all! I want to give him freedom - like we had - but I'm all too aware of how vulnerable they are. I just can't think of a balance between the two things.

OP posts:

lesley33 · 31/03/2011 13:38

I agree about a big punishment like banning him from playing out for a week. I played outside from age 5 and never played on or crossed roads despite occasional urging from friends - until I was older and told by parent i could cross roads.

I was simply too scared to be seen by my mum to be on the road as I knew I would be in big trouble. So I think 6 is old enough for children to stick by not playing/crossing road. But only if he knows it is a very very big deal to be caught not doing this.


mollymole · 31/03/2011 20:00

might be a good idea if those on here who think it is ok for their pre-schoolers to play out in the street to read this


ChippingInMistressSteamMop · 31/03/2011 20:08

I would tell him he's not allowed to play out anymore because I can't trust him to stay on the pavement. I would say that when he shows me he can be trusted then he might be allowed out again... discuss how he can prove it, but let him take the lead.

When he is allowed out again, explain that you do not give a flying fuck care if the other kids are allowed on the mini roundabout - he is NOT and if you or any of your friends, neighbours, teachers, dogs see him on the road he will be grounded for VERY VERY long time, maybe till Christmas.

He's not too young to play out, he just needs to be reminded what the rules are and have you pop up there every now and then to make sure he's behaving.

ALSO your friend needs it explained to her that it is NOT only the people who live there that drive along the road!! Strangers will not expect kids to be playing on a mini roundabout!! DAFT BINT


supersewer · 31/03/2011 20:34

my dc's play out in our cul de sac with lots of other kids, we have had similar issues ( as I'm sure any parent would have when they start to let go of the reins a bit!)
short sharp punishments, sent in doors humiliated slightly in front of friends and now they all stop when they see a car and stand still, it's quite comical to watch them when I drive round the corner.
I love that my kids have this freedom, but they know it is precarious if they don't follow the rules.

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