23 answers

When Are Kids Old Enough to Play Outside by Themselves?

My kids turn 4 in November and I know they're too young to go outside unsupervised. I see 5 and 6 year olds outside unsupervised playing. I think it's something to look forward to later down the road. What do you suggest (based on your experiences) is old enough to play outside unaccompanied by a parent?

Thanks!

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I DO NOT agree that it depends on the neighborhood and that the nicer neighborhoods have less kidnapping activity.

There was an incodent in a very very nice, quiet and higher-priced neighborhood in my area where a little girl was sitting on the walkway going up to her house (literally in front of her house) waiting for her Mommy to come outside with her when a man walked up to her and tried to grab her and force her with him. She screamed for her Mother who then rushed outside to get her. The man took off and was never caught.

So IMO the neighborhood has NOTHING to do with anything. There are crazy people EVERYWHERE!

I don't think I would let my children hang outside by themselves at all. You can never be too careful.

3 moms found this helpful

Never. My kids are 8, 6, and 4 and I am always outside with them. I have just started to let them go outside to take the dogs out and I'll watch from the back door, but that is the closest they get to alone. I trust my kids and they know the rules and consequences, but I do not trust other people. We live in the back of a large development near a cul-de-sac with not a lot of traffic, but that won't stop the crazies from taking one of my babies. I know I am overly worried, but I'd rather be that and not have anything happen to my kids....

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we live in a great neighborhood.....my sons had "some" independence at age 4. Full freedom when they started KG...for our yard only. Could ride their bikes on 1/2 the block until about 7.....& then the whole block by age 10.

4 moms found this helpful

I DO NOT agree that it depends on the neighborhood and that the nicer neighborhoods have less kidnapping activity.

There was an incodent in a very very nice, quiet and higher-priced neighborhood in my area where a little girl was sitting on the walkway going up to her house (literally in front of her house) waiting for her Mommy to come outside with her when a man walked up to her and tried to grab her and force her with him. She screamed for her Mother who then rushed outside to get her. The man took off and was never caught.

So IMO the neighborhood has NOTHING to do with anything. There are crazy people EVERYWHERE!

I don't think I would let my children hang outside by themselves at all. You can never be too careful.

3 moms found this helpful

Are you talking out front or back? It makes a difference because most back yards are fenced in and many houses have large sliding glass doors that you can supervise easily. Of course if there is a pool involved then that is a whole other story. My niece was 5 almost 6 and had never played out back unattended before, but that is because they had a pool without a fence. I took her with me to visit my husbands side of the family, and the 4 year old wanted to go outside and play (a very small yard with windows the entire length) and she ran up and asked if it was ok. I told her sure, but the adults kept an eye on them the entire time. It really depends on your yard as well as the neighborhood. Also, it depends on the maturity level of the child. Will he or she follow the rules of staying in the driveway/yard/half block etc?

3 moms found this helpful

We moved into our current home when my older kids were 8 and the younger ones were an infant and two. The older ones have been playing outside since we moved in. During that first year, they were allowed free reign of our fenced-in back yard and out front, I would pull my car across the bottom of the driveway and could see and hear them out the window in front of my desk.

My younger guys are now 5 & 7 and they have been playing outside for years. In the back yard, since age 4 at the oldest (but the older kids are usually there too and I can see them from my kitchen window) and in the front yard, just for the past year and really only to bike and play basketball and hockey in the driveway.

It's too bad that perceptions that the world is a scary place are causing people undue alarm about their children's safety. It's really not worse than when we were kids. Every neighborhood is different, of course, but I'd be more worried about safety from a traffic and injury standpoint than "stranger danger."

To the moms who answer never...you do realize that your kids are going to drive and leave home one day, right? I have a friend who won't let her 13-year-old daughter (almost 14!) walk 2 blocks to my house in the middle of the afternoon on a well-populated but not heavy-traffic street filled with parents walking their kids home from school. I have no idea what her mom thinks will happen in a little over two years when she gets her learner's permit or how she expects her to be able to earn money baby-sitting when she isn't allowed even the smallest bit of freedom and responsibility. You HAVE TO let them have some freedom and responsibility as kids. In the absence of extremely unsafe circumstance, pre-teens and young teens should be able to walk and bike places. Tweens should be able to go outside without a parent literally watching them every second. This is how they practice judgment, test boundaries, and prove that they are worthy of ever more independence. Seriously, re-think the "never" comments as they're just not based in reality.

3 moms found this helpful

Never. My kids are 8, 6, and 4 and I am always outside with them. I have just started to let them go outside to take the dogs out and I'll watch from the back door, but that is the closest they get to alone. I trust my kids and they know the rules and consequences, but I do not trust other people. We live in the back of a large development near a cul-de-sac with not a lot of traffic, but that won't stop the crazies from taking one of my babies. I know I am overly worried, but I'd rather be that and not have anything happen to my kids....

2 moms found this helpful

Now a days...'never'. I would recommend a parent be out there with their children at all times. I know I will always be, or my husband or both of us. Even out in the backyard, one of us or both my husband and I are out with our kids while they play. I think my boys will probably be in their teens before I let go 'a little'. :-)
I read an article that a little girl, around 7 years old I believe, was walking from a neighbors house (in the trailer park that they lived in), and in a blink of an eye, a strange man grabbed her and shoved her into his truck and sped off. Another neighbor man saw this, jumped in his truck and chased after that man, knowing that was 'not' right. Something was very wrong with how he grabbed that little girl and shoved her in his truck. The stranger ended up crashing his vehicle, the nice man got out, while the other stranger ran off, and the nice man went to that little girl and told her he was taking her home. Of course the police was called. I'm providing the link to this story. It is a scary story....and the thought of what could have happened to that little girl, had that good samaritan not have reacted the way he did. This, and other true events that are similar, are the reason why I will never leave my children unattended.
http://www.newser.com/story/126028/hero-neighbor-saves-gi...

Read this story. It will give you chill bumps. I hope this helps you to decide.

2 moms found this helpful

I think its different for boys and girls and it depends on the area where you live. I barely let my almost 11 yr old go out front and he's a big kid. I think there are a lot of crazy people out there and it scares me to see little ones outside unsupervised. Another thing is to never let them out alone. Kids should be with a group of other kids. Hope that helps!

2 moms found this helpful

Depends on the yard and child.

Each child is different. No one child is completely trust worthy but some are more trusting than others, or vice versa.

With a fence and locked gate with door for easy access and vision to the yard, 3, for small yard of a fortress. I'd have to be watching for a nearby window with the door open and talking back and forth to the child. As the fortress becomes less reliable the age of going out on their own goes up.

We've lived in many homes while in the military with 5 kids. Each house was set up different so while one child was gone alone at one house the next they were not allowed out alone.

Safety is always the issue so when in doubt, keep them in.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

2 moms found this helpful

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