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How old are/were your kids before they were allowed outside unsupervised?

We have a lot of little kids who ride or walk to school solo or with other siblings. It's a mile+, and I actually wrote a letter to our school board about it, because our start time change means there are more delivery trucks and work trucks in the neighborhood now, with NO idea they're barreling down a street with no sidewalks and a group of 5/6 yr olds potentially around each bend. I'm surprised this year how many are walking or riding bikes without an adult.

This morning I saw one, looks to be about 6, who routinely gets left behind by the crowd, and this time she looked like she was crying. This is the first year it's been so many of the younger kids going solo - it used to be anyone younger than 10 or 11 had some adult with them, even if it was a neighbor.

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 6:28 PM on Sep. 16, 2013 in Parenting Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (20)
  • My oldest is almost 7 yrs old and has only been left unsupervised outside on my balcony (we live in an apt) & in the fenced backyards of a few family members. That's it. We have a similar walk situation here. Technically my DD's school is very close. I can see it from my balcony but, there's a gated marsh land in between. The only way to walk there is in a half square, leaving my apt complex, walking down 2 major roads & then through a neighborhood. So, I drive her back & forth to school everyday. I would never dream of having her walk it alone.

    Answer by 3libras at 6:36 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • 10, and even then I was (still am) paranoid about it. I always have the kids call me when they reach their destination so I know they made it ok (they're in middle and high school).

    I see little ones playing outside or walking to school by themselves around here all the time. The other day two kids no more than 4 were playing at the pocket park down the street with no parent in sight. Granted, the parents could have been in one of the houses across the street from the park, but really? I never let my kids play outside by themselves in our backyard at that age, let alone cross the street and play at a park by themselves.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 6:36 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • I'm a little overprotective, so mine started going outside with less supervision at around 8 or 9 and the younger one was 6. My youngest school ager walks to her friend's house after school (started at 6) with 2 friends and an older sibling who is 10. I'm still not entirely comfortable with it, but it's once every other week so I let her do it. We don't live close enough to school to walk, so that's not an issue for us. I do allow them to play outside unsupervised as we have a ton of kids in our neighborhood. I typically check on them though to ensure they're safe and they review the rules before going outside.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:38 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • That's scary. I'd never let my five-year-old walk to school by herself at her age. Just in the past few months, I've let her ride her bike around the sidewalks of the condo complex outside the house, but I pop in and out, and she has to tell me where she's going and check in with me if she wants to change locations or cross any part of the street or parking lot. A park or the neighborhood streets alone, no way.

    Answer by Ballad at 6:40 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • A Mile plus? I wouldn't let my children walk a mile plus until they were in H.S. maybe!?

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 6:40 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • My kids never walked that far alone. But you asked when were they outside alone, I am guessing around 5 or six.
    It was a different time and we lived on a no through street. I still looked outside occasionally and certainly could hear them. Other mothers were also doing the same. Some one usually out in their yard but not always. We also reprimand each others children and were not shy about telling their mom what had been going on.
    A totally different time.

    Answer by Dardenella at 6:43 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • The distance is part of my complaint. Anyone over a mile is supposed to be bused. We're over a mile by road, exactly a mile in a straight line on the map.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 6:45 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • To walk that, well I wouldn't considering the conditions you have talked about. I let DS play outside unsupervised in front of the house, I have since last year. He plays with a bunch of the other kids in the neighborhood.

    Answer by kmath at 6:49 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • Oh and he was 6.

    Answer by kmath at 6:50 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

  • No sidewalks, fast moving cars, hell I wouldn't even allow myself to walk to school. Why is there no bus for kids who walk over a mile through snow sleet and rain?
    I would think I would take my kids and whoever didn't have a ride to school.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 6:55 PM on Sep. 16, 2013

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