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10 June 2012

When is the right time?

With parenthood comes responsibility. As your child grows and they seek more freedom and independence it can be hard to create a balance of letting go and keeping them secure.

Minxy recently turned 8 and often asks about walking to school by herself and playing outside with friends. School is only a few minutes away with no busy roads nearby but the entrance is near a park with alot of people about. How would I know that she got to school safely?

It's not that I don't trust her as she is very sensible but she is still young and nieve about the dangers out there and I don't trust other people that she may bump into. Similar with playing out, although we live in a quiet cul de sac it's next to a large field with park and pub opposite. What if something happened? Or is it a case of trust her until something goes wrong and then remove the privilege?

Am I being too over protective? Am I doing the right thing? Lots of worry and questions go through my mind.

It's hard for me to decide and I don't want my views on the world to make her fearful of others, affect her social life or make her resent me but at the same time I would rather be safe than sorry and have her hurt or taken when Im not there to protect her.

What age do you think is suitable to play out with friends? Does it vary on the child and the location rather than their age?

What age is suitable to walk to school alone or with friends? Have things changed from when you went to school to how things are now in relation to this?

What would you do in this situation?



  1. It is a tough one. My babies and almost 7 and almost 4 and despite living in a cul de sac, I really don't allow them to play outside the garden.

    My problem is that the children down the street are allowed to play out and that makes it even tougher. Do I give in to the pressure and allow mine to be like the other kids. I have to admit to having allowed the older one out to play, leaving me highly on edge and listening to every sound and even worse silence. As for the youngest, No chance!

  2. Good post! the right time is tricky and I believe different for different children. Mine are all quite independent and go out on the farm alone or up to the shop (a mile we are in the country)in pairs from age 8. However I wouldn't let them cross the main road to school alone as it is on a tricky bend. Only you know when your kid are ready to take the next independent step and it might not be the same time as others, go with your instincts.

  3. We live in a quiet cul-de-sac in Ireland and have allowed our children out to play for a long time. They play in a large group with older children too and there are almost always other parents out and about if I'm not. When they first went out I shadowed them at a distance and made sure they knew rules, boundaries etc. I'm never entirely relaxed and realise there is always risk but I very much believe they benefit from this freedom to explore. I think it is down to location as if we still lived in London they wouldn't play out at all! The road to school is very busy and they have to cross so I wouldn't feel confident to let them go alone for a good while yet x

  4. We live in a quiet estate but cars travel so quickly on the road, I am so nervous. Other kids seem to get out anything from 3+ I can assure yu Buddy (3 tomorrow) won't be one of them. You never know who is around, I think by 8 I might let them go occasionally to school themselves if it was that close, but not every day! Playing, well that is again subjective. I am not sure I could relax!

  5. My eldest is 9 and his friends walk to school alone every day, he always asks me about doing it but I'm lucky in that we live more than a mile away from the school. Living in a village makes it more difficult for me to let him out alone, none of his friends live nearby. I definitely understand your reluctance, letting our children go is one of the hardest things we'll ever have to do as parents. I'm not sure I'm ready for it yet either. :)


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