How Old Is Old Enough for Unsupervised Play?

Updated on May 20, 2008
D.H. asks from Portland, OR
5 answers

The question about the boy(s) urinating in the craft room made me wonder.... certainly a 3 year old is too young to be left unsupervised for more than brief periods of time, but I'm wondering what mamas think is old enough for a child and his/her friends to have a playdate with a parent in the house but not actively supervising them?

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answers from Portland on

I have 3 young kids and seem to have neighbor kids over a lot. We have a large bonus room as a play room and the kids have free reign over lots of the house. It is 2000 sq ft so not huge and I am within earshot. So far, they all play really well together, no issues and mine share so well because they just don't know any different. So, in my opinion, as long as you have witnessed the kids playing well together with no hitting, biting, etc, then as long as within earshot, let them have fun! :)


answers from Seattle on


I'm a little on the paranoid side when it comes to my kids. I'm not entirely sure when I'd let them play unsupervised, but my son is 4 1/2 and I'd still be in the same, or next room if he had a friend over.




answers from Seattle on

Great question! I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks about this.

When my almost-five year old has playdates, I make certain I'm within earshot of them almost all the time (except for when I run to the bathroom).

I'm not sure how old he'd have to be before I'd let him play "unsupervised." I was a pretty mischevious kid - so I tend to think that I'm going to want to be able to hear him with his friends for quite a while longer!



answers from Seattle on

I think as children get older, you can leave them for short periods of time to play with other kids. I am always within earshot of my kids, no matter where they are, because kids fight and argue and it's completely normal to do as long as there is an adult to interject when need be. My 6 year old likes to play the boss and makes her brothers mad when she does, so I always have to be where I can at least hear what's going on.



answers from Portland on

I do not think there is a specific age but it depends on the child and their maturity level. With my daughter she was 7 years old and I based it on how whe interacted with her cousins and in the classroom. She is great at sharing, following rules and listening. She also knows having a play date is a privilege and in order to receive this privilege you have to follow my rules. Now with that being said... I always base this on the child she is playing with. I am very active in my childrens lives and ask alot of questions. To the parents, friend and my child. There is one little girl I would not leave my child alone with if my life depended on it :) She has zero "home training" and even though my child does not follow this little girls actions, this little girl also has a mind of her own. So I think it is a group of questions that need to be asked before any play date is unsupervised. 1) How is my child as far as following rules 2) Who is the child he/she is playing with. 3) Who are the parents and do they have rules. Most importantly even if it is someone I am not worried about I always check on them every 15-20 minutes. Good Luck!

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