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At what age..

do you think it's acceptable to let your children play outside without mom or dad? I remember being 4 and walking around the block with my little shopping cart.
I guess this could depend on where you live. We live off of a main street and last summer I started to let my 6 yr old at that time and 3 yr old play in our backyard. We almost have an acre and I can see them playing from our family room.


Asked by Christine0813 at 6:49 PM on Mar. 8, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (9)
  • Depends on the kids. Mine are 8, 7, 6 and 3 and the older ones can play outside by themselves. They are all allowed in our backyard alone. There's not much to do back there except the sandbox. Our pool (an above ground one) takes up most of the yard). The older ones spend most of the day outside in the warmer months. They have boundaries that they are supposed to stay in and have to tell us if they are going to a friend's house (my son's best friend lives 3 houses down and another friend lives 4 houses past him). We live in Chicago. I grew up in this neighborhood and I don't see it as any more dangerous then when I was a kid and I was all over the place as were all the other kids on the street.
    But, they are also almost always out as a group. If only one is out and no other kids are around they have to stay on the porch. This summer the youngest might be allowed out with them but not on her own out front.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 8:14 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • In this day and age not until about age 10 no lie. My wash, dishes can be scheduled for their inside time. I'd sit and read, do bills, talk on the phone while they're out there but not stay in. It's better to be in sight than to have hind sight.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:52 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • I assume your backyard is fenced if you let them be outside without you.

    If you're not watching out the window the whole time, it only takes a second for a child to disappear.
    Your six year old shouldn't be responsible for watching the three year old, either.


    Answer by Anonymous at 6:54 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • Last summer I was driving down the road and almost hit a toddler. I was approaching a stop sign so I had slowed down when I saw him. The child was from a house across the intersecting street. The house was also down a hill so the child walked up their driveway, across a busy road, onto my road. I don't know how long it was before the older sister figured out he was gone. She had allowed him outside with his 5 year brother or sister. We called the police and children and youth. I felt horrible for the whole situation. I would not have been able to live with myself if I had hit him.

    Answer by robinsi2000 at 7:10 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • fenced in i would say 4yrs old... on the street in our neighborhood would be maybe 6 if other kids where out there playing catch or riding bikes together, but it would have to be in front of our yard so i could see them from the window if i wanted. about 8 or so i dont mind them riding around on their bikes with friends (maybe lol i dunno!)

    Answer by MommaTasha1003 at 7:43 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • Anon, maybe I should have been more specific in my post. I don't let them play outside all day but when they are outside and I am not always with them because of my third napping and  I CAN see them completely from our family room. Yes I have a monitor but it does not go that far since I did say we have almost an acre. It's not a window that I watch them through, they are patio doors. If I even have to go to the bathroom I call them in. No my 6 yr old doesn't watch my 3 yr old, lol. I do let them experience with me watching in the background.

    I don't mean this question to be if you don't watch your children while they are outside playing. I should have made that more clear.


    Answer by Christine0813 at 7:45 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • i live on a very quiet street in a good neighborhood with a fenced yard and i let my kids play outside i watch them either outside or in usually leaving the door open so i can hear them. but they dont know how to open the gate yet so they are pretty safe.

    Answer by Alina456 at 8:05 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • Our yard is completly fenced in and our deck has a gate on it. Last summer I started letting my three year old toddlers play at their sand table on the deck with the gate closed as long I was in the kitchen where I could get to them quickly. I'm no where near letting them outside alone. I wonder what age I'll feel comfortable with that. But I do remember going out to play in our neighborhood when I was around three. We lived in a cul de sac though, no traffic, close neighborhood, lots of kids.

    Answer by MommyAddie at 9:41 PM on Mar. 8, 2009

  • i have 3 kids ages 9, 7, and 4. i dont let them outa my site. you never know what could happen. maybe i am overprotectve, or maybe im smart.

    Answer by shai768 at 10:56 PM on Mar. 8, 2009