My Boys Have No Neighborhood Kids to Play With

Updated on June 18, 2014
K.C. asks from Solon, OH
19 answers

I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. I have a 10 year old and twins that are 7 (all boys). We love our house, but the problem is we do not have any neighborhood kids for them to play with. Every summer I usually have a list of fun things to do and we always hang out with another family with boys the same age as my kiddos. That family has since moved away and now I feel like we are a little lost.

I often wonder if we lived in a neighborhood full of kids if that would be a better situation or maybe not. I thought about moving, but to be honest I think we would have to move out of the city where we live because there is either a lot of million dollar homes for sale or homes that are not in a very good neighborhood. We are in the middle and there isn't a lot of homes to choose from in the middle. I really don't want to have my boys change schools so moving isn't really an option.

So, what is your situation? Do you have kids in the neighborhood that your kiddos play with and if not are your kiddos okay with that? I have been feeling kind of down about this today.

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answers from Wausau on

We're fortunate to live in a neighborhood where kids do run about and play freely. Most often they end up in my yard. They built a fort back there and I keep tube popsicles in the garage freezer.

We also live in easy walking distance to parks and the pool. My kids usually find others to play with there too, if only for the day.

They also have friends that do not live nearby enough to just come over, so hanging out with them involves some prearrangement and transportation.

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answers from Boston on

Our kids don't have neighborhood friends but that doesn't translate into a shortage of play time with friends, I just drive them places or their friends' parents drive here. Having them get contact info for their school and sports friends and have them pick up the phone and call to arrange time to hang out seems like a much easier solution than moving, right?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

No kids around here. We have always just made plans with friends to get together over the summer. Kids would come here or they would go to their friends. Some days I'd have a houseful, other days they'd all be gone at once (whoo hoo!) We would also meet up at the pool or park, community center, etc. Takes a little effort but that's how it's always been for us. Besides, just because kids live next to each other doesn't mean they'll click or even get along. Can you imagine only socializing with the people you happen to live next door to? Me either, and children are no different.
So let them call up their friends and invite them over. No need to sit around being lonely! And if most of their friends are in camps or whatever during the week try to have them over on the weekend.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

We live a few miles out of town, in the country. Everyone on our road has 2 to 5 acres. We do have neighbors, but really people just do their own thing. My boys are 5 and almost 8. I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids, so I do understand your concerns.

The reality is, my boys will probably never have neighbors to play with. They do see their friends. Right now my 5 year old goes to daycare in the mornings, so he sees his friends there. My oldest goes to different half-day camps and has a great time. They both play baseball. The will be attending Vacation Bible School.

Life is what you make of it. You can find many things to do that will give them a fun summer. It doesn't have to be with neighborhood kids. They can invite friends over or meet them to go bowling or to the water park. Heck, you could take them to Cedar Point and let them invite a friend.

I wouldn't move, but I would look for ways for them to hang out with friends or at least with other kids their age. They are not going to suffer just because their next door neighbor is not their best friend.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I had both situations growing up.

At my mom's house (where we visited for 6 weeks in the summer) there were TONS of neighborhood kids. It was great, and we really had a blast. It was also nice because we had the run of the neighborhood, as everyone knew who was "normal" in the area, and who were strangers to keep an eye on. It gave the neighborhood a safe feeling. But... We had a really hard time having our own time. There was a lot of jealousy and competition among the kids, and at times it got pretty cliquey.

At my dad's house (who had full custody), there were no kids. We had to entertain ourselves. We got really good at creating our own games, and bonded more closely than a lot of other siblings I know. (Of course, the near-constant proximity also meant more fighting too... Lol.) We would often ride our bikes to the park, or to the mall, or wherever else was within riding distance when we felt too cooped up. (My dad was a single father, so he was at work all day and wasn't able to take us anywhere.) we did tend to watch a little too much TV and video games though...

So really, both situations have their upsides and downsides. I enjoyed both situations, and never felt like one was better than the other.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I went through this when we first bought our home, which is on a rural road with no kids. I grew up in a suburb and was used to just running down the street to play with friends, my husband the opposite. My kids are 4 and 6 now and I can honestly say that I'm happy. When you live in a neighborhood, you can't control who your neighbors are...what if the next door neighbor kids are bullies or just don't get along with your kids? What if you feel they're a bad influence? This way, you get to sort of control who comes over your house on a regular basis or not.

As for meeting up with kids over the year, we mostly have friends through things we're involved in- school, sports, extra-curricular activities. Over the summer we schedule a lot of beach and park play dates. My two boys also play a lot with each other, which is nice because that probably wouldn't happen as much if there were more kids around- they're going to be really close as I'm sure your boys will be as well. I also like just being home with them, I'd probably go a little nuts if I had neighborhood kids in and out of my house all the time!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Once they hit about 7-8, it's like they came out if the woodwork.
It's a blessing and a curse.
Mostly a blessing. 😊

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We do have lots of kids and I love it. So I can see why you'd be sad. But I don't think it's worth moving. I already see as my kids get older that most of their really close friendships are kids outside the neighborhood. It's like when they're really little all that matters is they're about the same age. Then they grow up and commonalities and personality and fit matter more and more. So it doesn't seem worth moving to me at this point in your lives. And at least they have each other. Lots of people don't have friends a walk away. It's harder on the parents maybe but they can still see friends a lot. You just have to drive them and plan a bit more. And who knows who will move in soon! And definitely doesn't seem worth moving if it means changing schools.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

We have neighbor kids over constantly. It is a blessing and a curse. Some days they play well, other days they do not. My boys play ice hockey, so they do many skating classes and hockey camps in the summer. We have a nice balance. The good thing with sports is that your child can invite his teammates over when the neighbor kids are busy. I never thought that I would enjoy sports, but it has been a blessing for my boys.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have three boys, about the same ages as yours, and no, they don't seem to get together with neighbourhood kids. Never have really. They play together all the time though, and I don't feel they're missing out on anything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

My kids did not have any to play with either. After school, they usually went home with a friend or vice versa. We had kids over, they went over to play at other kids houses during the summer. Then there are after school activities. Day camp in the summer. You just make it work. Move so your kids can have kids to play with is crazy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I would not move because of this. My son is 10 and he calls friends and sets up get togethers or sleepovers. When we do an activity I often will allow him to invite a friend along too. He's so much happier that way...but his sister is 5 years younger than him. At least your boys have each other...that's great. Maybe you should work on making some friends with some other families with kids your son's like hanging out with....have them over for dinner regularly. Our situation - we have a lot of kids in our neighborhood. If we didn't I would encourage my son to set up playdates with other kids regularly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Re-read JB's answer. That's our situation too and always has been.

Did you, yourself, grow up in a neighborhood where kids just tumbled out the door and disappeared to play with other kids all day and the notion of actually scheduling get-togethers was just never thought of? Sometimes if parents grew up like that themselves they forget that things are different now.

Your sons are all old enough that they and you can and should be doing meet-ups. If they're in activities of any kind, you need to get to know the parents of the kids they like at those activities (I'm not saying become best buddies, but introduce yourself enough that the parents are fine later when you get in touch about the kids meeting up). Same with school -- it really helps to be acquainted with parents of kids your boys like. Ditto for church if you go to one; think about what kids there your kids are pals with and see them outside the church setting.Talk to your sons and just ask them what kids they'd like to have over to play, or to meet at a park, etc. If you don't ask, they may not think to tell you, because it just does not occur to kids that they can ask to do things, sometimes.

Once you have their ideas, you can be proactive about e-mailing and calling to set things up. Your older boy can talk with his friends and then talk to you about "I want to ask Billy over on Friday after school to play in the yard and maybe play computer games afterward." Eleven is still too young to set things up entirely without a parent involved; at 11, kids don't know their own schedules all the time and can't drive themselves, so you do have to play a role here and will for years to come.

This topic comes up on this board pretty frequently, but frankly it is just not essential to kids' lives to have neighbor kids they can run off and see any time. That's not how it is any more in many places -- yes, in some, but in many areas kids, especially as they get older, have activities (sports, Scouts, church groups, school clubs, dance, drama, whatever), and those activities mean they are not available to hang out in the neighborhood. BUT those activities also give kids a great potential group of other kids with whom they share real interests -- and shared interests are the basis of real, deeper friendships. Mere proximity, just living on the same block, does not necessarily make friendships for life.

Please try not to feel down about it. Take that energy and turn it toward getting out there and taking the role you have to take if you want them to play with other kids. Give up mourning the neighborhood and have your kids seek out friends in other places. You will have to do more driving and e-mailing and phoning but it's worth it.


answers from Washington DC on

when my boys were small we lived in a neighborhood full of kids. it WAS pretty wonderful for them.
then we moved to our small farm, and suddenly no one was within walking distance. but it was a family lifestyle choice, and like all choices, it had cons as well as pros.
so my kids got used to entertaining each other and themselves, which i consider to be a Very Good Thing. and i also resolved to spend a lot more time driving them around to friends' houses and bringing kids here, which was necessary anyway as we homeschooled at that point.
don't feel down. find ways to get your kids with friends once or twice a week, and beyond that, let them get bored. boredom is touchstone for creativity. parents today are too afraid of their kids being bored. it's not yours to fix, at least not all the time.


answers from Jacksonville on

We didn't. In either neighborhood we were in. Now that they are older (son turns 16 this summer), the past couple of years 2 boys close to his age have moved in.
Daughter still doesn't hang with any girls (there is one older, and one younger... but they weren't always here, either).

It's a blessing and curse. Make of it what you will. We stay so busy that it doesn't matter. And sometimes it's great to have no kids around, bc you know that doorbell isn't going to ring when husband is trying to sleep for a mid-shift. ;)

We always invited kids over and did playdates or sleepovers, though. It is easier to control who is coming and going, and for how long. ;)



answers from Phoenix on

Don't move. We have discovered there are more kids but most stay inside or do sports after school. We started walking around the block and working in our front yard and have met more. We dislike two families with kids on our street and don't let our kids go there.


answers from Grand Forks on

My kids go to school in our neighbourhood as do most of the kids in the neighbourhood, so the neighbourhood kids are also school friends. They do have some school friends who live outside our neighbourhood who they do see regularly outside of school, and they have a couple of neighbourhood friends who go to a different school.

It is nice that my kids can just hop on their bikes and ride over to their friends places, or that their friends can just pop by, but I also don't mind dropping them off to visit friends further away, or picking up friends to take on outings etc.

When we bought our house we took into account that we were in walking distance of good schools, which equates to a neighbourhood with kids.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would not move.
Definitely not esp since he'd have to change schools.

Instead I would just have him have his school friends over during the summer AND take him to places that are riddled w/boys his age (wether that be a park, where they have basketball hoops, maybe sign them up for a day summer camp etc.).



answers from New York on

My kids grew up with each other. The various and varying neighborhoods they grew up in have from 1 kid to non but they always had each other for better or worse. The arguing was the worse for me. So with 6 kids growing up in the same house. 1 bio son, 3 neices and 2 nephews all being raised together in the same house you learn which combinations work from the ones that don't but ultimately it really doesn't make that much of a difference as long as there are other outlets for socializing outside of school.

For my kids when we were in a neghborhood with no children it meant trips to the parks, summer camp, more church youth activities, and of course sports. Viola - well rounded children.

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