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How old are kids when they can play outside by themselves?

Or when they can go around the block without you? Or use a public restroom without you?

Answer Question

Asked by janey548 at 1:17 AM on Jun. 6, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (14)
  • Never. Seriously, I had girls, so I never left them alone until they started driving. Even at that time, they had a cell with them at all times.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:19 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • Well mine are 5, 10, and 12. My 12 year old is allowed to walk to his friends houses (which are each half a mile away), and my 10 year old can walk the half mile to his friends house and to school. My 5 year old daughter is not even allowed to play out in our front yard without me. We are a little safer than many because we do live on a smaller military base and they do 100% ID checks at the front gate, so I'm not overly concerned. But my 12 year old also has a cell phone to call me in emergencies and my 10 year old has planned out routes he walks to his one friends house and to the school. He calls me as he is leaving and if he's not home in 10 minutes I know where to look for him. He only walks when we have no other choice either because still I am not comfortable with it. In public they can never go anywhere alone til they reach probably 15 or 16. I still walk them to the bathrooms and stand outside til they are done!

    Answer by AprilDJC at 2:05 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • I think it depends on a couple of things. The maturity of your child and the neighborhood you live in. I think if your child is smart enough to know not run in front of a car,look before crossing the street,not talk to strangers, things like that them 8 or 10. If you have a bad neighborhood where a lot of bad stuff happen then probably not until they are a lot older. So it all depends. Kids in my neighborhood play out side by themselves at 8 but the neighborhood is very calm and safe. Its your judgment.

    Answer by JacobsMommy05 at 2:50 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • My girls are 9 & 10 and I allow them to go outside and play by themselves and walk to their friends houses.

    Answer by sammiesmom2000 at 2:53 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • Wow, that depends on so much.

    In a park beside an apartment building? 14.
    With friends in the cul-de-sac in front of our house? 8
    Public washroom in a park? No thanks
    Public washroom in a small restaurant? 6

    Be aware of your surroundings -- including any weirded out feelings passing particular homes (because there are weird people who give off weird vibes) and supervise your children closely until they are adults.

    I've met kids -- three or four in the past few years, many more before -- who are so deeply needy for attention they will happily follow any adult who smiles at them and make eye contact. I have literally had to shoo other people's children out of my house...

    Make sure your kids are not that needy when they encounter total stangers.

    Answer by LindaClement at 3:44 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • my daughter, who is now 5, has been playing in the backyard by herself since she was 2..its all fenced in, and if anyone, whether neighbors or strangers, come near the fence, the 3 dogs start barking..she is NOT allowed in the front by herself tho! as for her going around the block by gonna hafta say not til shes like dunno, it depends on her maturity level..public washrooms by herself..well..thats tough, because i could literally pe every 5 minutes if i wanted she goes, i go as dunnno..

    Answer by alexis_06 at 3:49 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • My daughter is only 4 so I really can't say what the future will bring but I would say you can't be too safe with your kids.... it only takes once for something to happen. Kids come up missing every day.... and before they did, they had always done whatever it was that they were doing when they came up missing (walking home from school, playing on the playground, etc). It is a sad world we are living in. I would rather be safe then sorry and error on the side of caution!!! Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:31 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • Yeah, it really depends. I grew up in a pretty tight nit neighborhood where everyone looked out for each other, so I was able to play out on my own pretty early. Now, i live in an apartment complex and don't even know the people across the hall. I wouldn't let my daughter out by herself for a while.

    Answer by DixieRoadrash at 5:36 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • It only takes 20 seconds for a stranger to snatch a child.
    It makes me crazy when I see an 8 year old "in charge of" the 5 year old and the toddler; I know that the parents would not leave them alone in the house, so why is it ok to leave them alone outside with cars and crazy people?

    Answer by rkoloms at 7:04 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

  • My kids (8 & 5) are not allowed to leave our yard, period. We have a fenced back yard, and a dog that would definitely kill to defend them. Therefore, I will let them play in the backyard alone while I use the bathroom, or answer the phone, or throw something in the oven for dinner. But they do not get to just play out there by themselves for hours. It's a few short minutes, and I usually check on them several times if it's more than the bathroom or getting the phone. This probably won't change until they are at least 12 & 9, and we'll see at that point.

    I will let them use the bathroom at the grocery store (they are boys), but I stand right outside, and I call in every few seconds, and if they don't answer, I'm going in. And I have done it. I just yell, "I'm coming in, so if you don't want me to see it, you better zip it up!" So far, there's never been anyone in there but my kids, but it wouldn't make a difference to me.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 7:46 AM on Jun. 6, 2009

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