Should I allow my kids to play outside unsupervised?

Real Mom Problem

“Do your kids play outside alone? Only in the yard? How far away do you let them go from the house without an adult? What are your rules?”


Quick Tips

  • 1. Traffic, neighborhood, type of yard, your child's maturity, and your comfort level all factor into your decision
  • 2. When playing outside alone, it's good for kids to have set safety rules they're expected to follow
  • 3. Rules you may find helpful: Never go into someone else's home, stay in sight of your own home, don't leave the yard (or block, neighborhood, etc. depending on where you live)

Real Mom Solutions

It's not always possible for moms to go outside as often as kids would like. So is it OK to allow them to play outside alone? See what the moms of CafeMom have to say.

  • mommyjenn84

    My almost five-year-old is out by herself right this minute. We have rules and if she breaks them she's in for the rest of the day.

    -she must stay on our complex grounds and off the main sidewalk
    -there must be other kids out if she goes past our porch
    -if she's out without her eight-year-old sister she's not allowed past their playgroup (that I can see from half our windows)
    -she's not allowed in anyone's apartment (except one) without asking me first

  • anotherladybird

    My six-year-old plays outside by himself, only in our yard, only in the back. Our front lines up with a busy street, so unless I'm outside with him, he has to stay in the back. I've never once had to remind him of the rules.

  • reesesami

    Our back yard is completely "fenced" in with a brick wall between the neighbors' yard and ours and surrounded by a rock wall the rest of the way, so my eight-year-old daughter can play out there by herself whenever she wants. The front yard is "fenced" in with brick and wrought iron so she can play out there as long as I know and the front door is open so I can hear her.

  • snowangel1979

    We live out in the country. My sons, 8 and 14, and can play outside by themselves. They're not allowed to leave the yard without telling me. They can play in the front yard but have to stay behind a row of trees that's out near the road. My eight-year-old isn't allowed to go in the back fields without telling me and he has to take his dog with him, when he goes.

  • lullabylily

    Mine are 12 and 8; they never leave our front yard unless Mom or Dad is with them. Call me paranoid, I don't care.

  • catevincesmom

    My kids are seven and five, and they are allowed to play outside but they must tell me first and stay in the yard. I prefer they both be outside together. I keep the doors/windows open so I can hear them, and constantly peek outside to check on them.

  • pixiemg1

    My kids are six and just this year we started letting them play outside by themselves. Our yard is completely fenced in, if it wasn't I don't think I would let them.

  • mckinneymom918

    My kids are eight and four, and are only allowed to play in our fenced in backyard. But it's usually only while I'm cooking dinner when I can't be out with them. I keep the blinds up and a window cracked so I can hear them - and only if I'm going to be on the main floor and not upstairs.

  • babylamb2011

    My eight-year-old can play outside alone but cannot leave our yard/driveway. I also have to be able to see him from the window. Never when I'm asleep, in the shower, etc...I have to be downstairs where we can both hear and see each other.

  • the.lilangel

    Neither one of my kids are allowed outside by themselves. My kids are five and two. We do not live in the safest town, we are right across the street from a lake and I have seen way too many people jump our curb when turning the corner.

  • my2boysandgirl

    My boys can go out and play when they want. Usually they stay in the backyard. They are 11 and 8. We live on a small cul-de-sac so there isn't much traffic and they know they have to tell me before they go to someone else's house. They also stay together.

  • Barabell

    Yes, he can. But he's 12. When he was a younger elementary kid, he had to be in our yard. Now, he just has to be in sight of the house.

  • raerae725

    Mine are 12, 6, and 2. The 12-year-old has quite a bit of freedom. The six-year-old can play in the fenced in backyard. His older brother can walk him down to a friend's house. We live in the back of a residential area with very little traffic. The two-year-old can be in the fenced in back yard long enough for me to run inside and use the restroom or grab drinks if the 12-year-old is with him.

  • bleumonster

    My kids are 10 and 14. They were allowed to play outside by themselves starting at about age five as long as I could see them and they stayed in either my yard or the neighbors'. However we live in a very quiet neighborhood and the neighbors watch out for all the kids.

  • Lispi

    Nope. Supervision, or no time outside. My kids are a girl 11 and a boy 5. Safety first!