letting the kids go out on their own

letting the kids go out on their own

Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 12:21 pm #1

This week we started letting the children (ages 8 and 7) go around the block on their bikes or scooters by themselves. Well, all together but without adults. We live a very large (but not especially populated) neighborhood in a somewhat rural area, not a lot of cars. We instructed them to stay to the side of the road, stop at each intersection and wait for all four siblings to catch up before crossing together, and they can wave and say hi to neighbors, but no stopping to talk. I do feel they are safe and smart/savvy enough to be doing this, but it's a weird feeling to see them go off down the road like that! I think the biggest, most real danger is that one will fall and get a skinned knee and be quite a ways home when it happens. Their siblings would be nearby to tell them to sympathize or encourage them to buck up. And that wouldn't be the end of the world, either, really. They do seem quite proud of themselves at being allowed to do this. Is anyone else at this point yet?

xoxoxo
MM
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Joined: January 24th, 2007, 2:25 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 1:39 pm #2

what a great feeling that must be.

i have to say, i think 7-8 is good age for this. but i tend to be a little easy going... curious to know what the others think.
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Joined: August 21st, 2006, 3:29 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 2:26 pm #3

This week we started letting the children (ages 8 and 7) go around the block on their bikes or scooters by themselves. Well, all together but without adults. We live a very large (but not especially populated) neighborhood in a somewhat rural area, not a lot of cars. We instructed them to stay to the side of the road, stop at each intersection and wait for all four siblings to catch up before crossing together, and they can wave and say hi to neighbors, but no stopping to talk. I do feel they are safe and smart/savvy enough to be doing this, but it's a weird feeling to see them go off down the road like that! I think the biggest, most real danger is that one will fall and get a skinned knee and be quite a ways home when it happens. Their siblings would be nearby to tell them to sympathize or encourage them to buck up. And that wouldn't be the end of the world, either, really. They do seem quite proud of themselves at being allowed to do this. Is anyone else at this point yet?

xoxoxo
MM
Hi, MM-IL,

We are not there yet but this does bring back fond memories of my childhood. I was definitely running all around our neighborhood (with kid friends) on foot nad on bikes no later than when I was 6, I am sure of that because of when one of my friends moved away. My closest friend was several years older than me then, though, so about the age of your LOs at least by the time she moved. We also walked (or biked) to school together without parental supervision, about 1/2 mile from my house and mostly in our neighborhood but crossing 1 big street (with a crossing guard). I am really looking forward to my DS being old enough to do this ... at 4 he is not yet though I have now left him briefly a few times on playgrounds when I needed to do something (run to the bathroom, grab pizza delivery) a few hundred yards away and (barely) out of sight. One of those times I asked another parent to keep an eye on him and another we were actually the only ones on the playground at all so I just told him I'd be right back. Unfortunately there are fewer kids playing out in our neighborhood now than there were when I was a kid in my neighborhood; this definitely doesn't reflect worse crime or a worse environment but does I think reflect somewhat changed expectations, a changed society (fewer SAHMs, more organized/scheduled kids' activities), and also possibly the fact that there aren't so many "medium-sized" kids in our neighborhood right now today. I will say there are 2 sisters who live down the street from us about the age of your kids and for the first time this year I saw them out and about on their bikes, unsupervised.

I'm curious about your rule that the kids not stop and talk to neighbors. Are you concerned about what might happen (what the neighbors might do) or about the kids splitting up (some wanting to go on and others to hang back)? Right now when DS and I are out and about in our neighborhood I am trying to talk to neighbors and to model for him stuff like how to ask for information or help. I definitely hope that by the time he is "out and about" we will have several neighbors he/we know well enough for him to treat them as sources of assistance (actually we do already have several but I'd like more) but I also realize that there are legitimate concerns about protecting children from "known" predators (known in the sense that they are people the child knows, not in the sense that they are known to be predators).

Thanks for posting about this ... great topic, I think it's something many of us struggle with knowing when and how to allow and manage.

Best wishes,
Alex
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 23rd, 2011, 2:31 pm #4

This week we started letting the children (ages 8 and 7) go around the block on their bikes or scooters by themselves. Well, all together but without adults. We live a very large (but not especially populated) neighborhood in a somewhat rural area, not a lot of cars. We instructed them to stay to the side of the road, stop at each intersection and wait for all four siblings to catch up before crossing together, and they can wave and say hi to neighbors, but no stopping to talk. I do feel they are safe and smart/savvy enough to be doing this, but it's a weird feeling to see them go off down the road like that! I think the biggest, most real danger is that one will fall and get a skinned knee and be quite a ways home when it happens. Their siblings would be nearby to tell them to sympathize or encourage them to buck up. And that wouldn't be the end of the world, either, really. They do seem quite proud of themselves at being allowed to do this. Is anyone else at this point yet?

xoxoxo
MM
I have a singleton, after all, and he's known for being pretty impulsive and immature. He's just naturally that way, and when we try to encourage more independence and self-sufficiency, he pushes back.

So I need to work on getting him more street-savvy. Traffic goes very fast through here, and just 4 blocks away to the South, and 3 blocks away to the East, there are very bad neighborhoods where there have been violent crimes recently. Guns, drugs, etc. Unfortunately, the stats for personal crime and violence are high in my city.

I think QM lets her quads walk to appointments together without her, though.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 9:43 pm #5

what a great feeling that must be.

i have to say, i think 7-8 is good age for this. but i tend to be a little easy going... curious to know what the others think.
I'm not sure if I would be as comfortable doing this with just one (or maybe even two), but I feel like there's safety in numbers and that it's not a very risky thing to do. Still feels weird, though!

xoxox
MM
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 10:10 pm #6

Hi, MM-IL,

We are not there yet but this does bring back fond memories of my childhood. I was definitely running all around our neighborhood (with kid friends) on foot nad on bikes no later than when I was 6, I am sure of that because of when one of my friends moved away. My closest friend was several years older than me then, though, so about the age of your LOs at least by the time she moved. We also walked (or biked) to school together without parental supervision, about 1/2 mile from my house and mostly in our neighborhood but crossing 1 big street (with a crossing guard). I am really looking forward to my DS being old enough to do this ... at 4 he is not yet though I have now left him briefly a few times on playgrounds when I needed to do something (run to the bathroom, grab pizza delivery) a few hundred yards away and (barely) out of sight. One of those times I asked another parent to keep an eye on him and another we were actually the only ones on the playground at all so I just told him I'd be right back. Unfortunately there are fewer kids playing out in our neighborhood now than there were when I was a kid in my neighborhood; this definitely doesn't reflect worse crime or a worse environment but does I think reflect somewhat changed expectations, a changed society (fewer SAHMs, more organized/scheduled kids' activities), and also possibly the fact that there aren't so many "medium-sized" kids in our neighborhood right now today. I will say there are 2 sisters who live down the street from us about the age of your kids and for the first time this year I saw them out and about on their bikes, unsupervised.

I'm curious about your rule that the kids not stop and talk to neighbors. Are you concerned about what might happen (what the neighbors might do) or about the kids splitting up (some wanting to go on and others to hang back)? Right now when DS and I are out and about in our neighborhood I am trying to talk to neighbors and to model for him stuff like how to ask for information or help. I definitely hope that by the time he is "out and about" we will have several neighbors he/we know well enough for him to treat them as sources of assistance (actually we do already have several but I'd like more) but I also realize that there are legitimate concerns about protecting children from "known" predators (known in the sense that they are people the child knows, not in the sense that they are known to be predators).

Thanks for posting about this ... great topic, I think it's something many of us struggle with knowing when and how to allow and manage.

Best wishes,
Alex
it's mostly because we really only know a few of our neighbors very well. Our yards are very big, which is nice for space, but it also tends to foster a "wave in passing" kind of neighborhood. Also, I would start to worry if they took too long going around, and also as you mentioned, I'd like them to stay somewhat together. You've got me thinking...I might need to clarify this a bit with them. If something really bad happened, I wouldn't want them to be concerned about asking to use a phone or something. I do tell them to trust their instincts and think about what I would probably want them to do. It would be nice for them to meet more kids in the neighborhood. They don't all go to our school. I have talked with them before about what peers are, and how it's okay to talk with other kids you don't know, but an adult you don't know should not be asking a kid for help.

I think back to the freedom I had when I was growing up. I'm sure I was all over the neighborhood as soon as I was able to ride a bike!

xoxox
MM
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Joined: April 16th, 2004, 9:20 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 11:41 pm #7

This week we started letting the children (ages 8 and 7) go around the block on their bikes or scooters by themselves. Well, all together but without adults. We live a very large (but not especially populated) neighborhood in a somewhat rural area, not a lot of cars. We instructed them to stay to the side of the road, stop at each intersection and wait for all four siblings to catch up before crossing together, and they can wave and say hi to neighbors, but no stopping to talk. I do feel they are safe and smart/savvy enough to be doing this, but it's a weird feeling to see them go off down the road like that! I think the biggest, most real danger is that one will fall and get a skinned knee and be quite a ways home when it happens. Their siblings would be nearby to tell them to sympathize or encourage them to buck up. And that wouldn't be the end of the world, either, really. They do seem quite proud of themselves at being allowed to do this. Is anyone else at this point yet?

xoxoxo
MM
This sounds wonderful and reminds me so much of growing up in a village. My kids are city kids and I can't imagine them going anywhere w/o me. In fact just last week I asked DD if she wanted to wait in the car while I ran into Walgreens just to get batteries that DS needed for the Wii, but then next sentence was "no, I really can't do this - you have to still go with me". I do leave them at the ice rink by themselves for up to 15 minutes when I move the car, but they have been going there multiple times/week for 1.5 years, know people, the coaches, the shop staff, friends etc. They know NOT to leave the rink ever w/o me. DD recently went into a corner store to buy gum and get change all by herself while I waited in the car... that's about it... city kids!!!

Last edited by SabinaCA on August 23rd, 2011, 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 30th, 2006, 9:39 pm

August 23rd, 2011, 11:59 pm #8

it's mostly because we really only know a few of our neighbors very well. Our yards are very big, which is nice for space, but it also tends to foster a "wave in passing" kind of neighborhood. Also, I would start to worry if they took too long going around, and also as you mentioned, I'd like them to stay somewhat together. You've got me thinking...I might need to clarify this a bit with them. If something really bad happened, I wouldn't want them to be concerned about asking to use a phone or something. I do tell them to trust their instincts and think about what I would probably want them to do. It would be nice for them to meet more kids in the neighborhood. They don't all go to our school. I have talked with them before about what peers are, and how it's okay to talk with other kids you don't know, but an adult you don't know should not be asking a kid for help.

I think back to the freedom I had when I was growing up. I'm sure I was all over the neighborhood as soon as I was able to ride a bike!

xoxox
MM
MM - I think you hit it perfectly when you distinguished that "adults should not be asking kids for help"

That said, chatting with the neighbors (perhaps at the kids' initiative) might help you all develop better relationships with the neighbors.

We live in an small urban setting (50x100 lots set close together, sidewalks, stop signs) with some busier high traffic streets. And we walk the neighborhood with our kiddo, talk to neighbors we might not know well, chat with those who walk by our house while out for a stroll or walking the dogs, as a way of broadening both our own support system and our kiddo's. That said, you are ABSOLUTELY right that adults should not be asking kids for help (finding a puppy, etc etc) and also (I'm adding here) that while it is fine for kids to talk to adults, they should never GO WITH adults without Mom & Dad's specific permission. When I leave you at school & say have fun on the field trip, I am giving you permission to go on the field trip with your teacher.

If you are lost, you may ask an adult for help, but adults have access to phones and they can CALL ME, they do not need you to go with them.

And then teach your kids your cell number.
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

August 24th, 2011, 1:00 am #9

it must be so good for fostering neighborly connections! (I must add it to the "pros" column...I'm not ready to commit yet, but getting ever closer!)

Good suggestions, especially about the cell phone number. My kids only know our land line. Thank you!

xoxox
MM
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

August 24th, 2011, 1:09 am #10

I have a singleton, after all, and he's known for being pretty impulsive and immature. He's just naturally that way, and when we try to encourage more independence and self-sufficiency, he pushes back.

So I need to work on getting him more street-savvy. Traffic goes very fast through here, and just 4 blocks away to the South, and 3 blocks away to the East, there are very bad neighborhoods where there have been violent crimes recently. Guns, drugs, etc. Unfortunately, the stats for personal crime and violence are high in my city.

I think QM lets her quads walk to appointments together without her, though.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 50, dh 50
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
I would not feel comfortable letting R go on his own. Iffy about Z. But all together, it feels okay.

I know it must be a real challenge to encourage independence when it's met with resistance! I wasn't sure mine would even want to do it, as they've all become sort of homebodyish and lazy this summer (do I sound ready for school to start?), but I talked it up as something we'd decided they were ready to do because we trust them so very much. It worked.

I was just thinking about when they will learn to drive cars, and how horrible that will be for me! Yikes, can't get too far ahead!

xoxox
MM
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