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When do you let your children go out alone?

 
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 8:45 am
I guess this depends on the child and the neighborhood, but I would like to hear what other people do. I have such trouble letting go!
When (age, and awareness, developmental milestone) do you let your children walk alone?
Up and down your block?
Around the area on quiet streets?
On the side walk of a busy street?
Crossing streets - quiet? busy?
Do you give them a cell phone?
What safety rules/issues should I think of/discuss before letting them spread their wings?
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Ema of 5




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 8:58 am
Technically my older children are old enough- they are 15 and 13. I really don’t like them walking around alone though, because there have been some not so great incidences in our neighborhood. I prefer them to walk around with at least one friend. During the week they always have phones with them, it’s a must.
My 10 year old can go to a neighbor on shabbos, he’s literally up the block. I don’t let him go during the week because the street he has to cross is busy (it’s much quieter on shabbos) and by the time he comes home (about 6:00) it’s usually too late to go to friends anyway.
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amother




Emerald
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 9:14 am
I lean towards the helicopter mom side even though I try hard not to be that. I live in a very safe neighborhood but I'm still paranoid. I let my kids walk within a few blocks around age 10 if they are in a group (at least 3) and by 12 much further in a group or even just a pair, but alone I still don't let unless they have a phone so Shabbos if it's more than a couple blocks they need to have someone with them or I'll walk with them. The main safety rule I discuss with them is just always being aware of your surroundings. Even when busy chatting with their friends or chatting on the phone. Pay attention. Look around you. And obviously they know not to engage with a stranger, fall for the "your mom sent me to get you" routine and all of that.
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amother




Beige
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 9:21 am
It's so hard to know. I always have a hard time with this.
I do it slowly. Like first just on our yard. Keep on going out to check if kid still by our house... Do that awhile. and then I let till the curb on our side.... I also first go check outside very often and then slowly that time gets longer. Like from going out every 5 minutes to going out every 15.

Slowly builds up. More I see that the kid is responsible and doesn't go past boundary, the more I let go....
I don't think it's an age thing. I think it's a process that you get to slowly feel comfortable with.

Honestly, I am never 100% calm. I wish there would be a book with guidelines telling me exactly at what age kids can do different stuff. But I don't think it works that way.
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amother




Daphne
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 11:48 am
Ema of 5 wrote:
Technically my older children are old enough- they are 15 and 13. I really don’t like them walking around alone though, because there have been some not so great incidences in our neighborhood. I prefer them to walk around with at least one friend. During the week they always have phones with them, it’s a must.
My 10 year old can go to a neighbor on shabbos, he’s literally up the block. I don’t let him go during the week because the street he has to cross is busy (it’s much quieter on shabbos) and by the time he comes home (about 6:00) it’s usually too late to go to friends anyway.


This
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amother




Beige
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 2:08 pm
Ema of 5 wrote:
Technically my older children are old enough- they are 15 and 13. I really don’t like them walking around alone though, because there have been some not so great incidences in our neighborhood. I prefer them to walk around with at least one friend. During the week they always have phones with them, it’s a must.
My 10 year old can go to a neighbor on shabbos, he’s literally up the block. I don’t let him go during the week because the street he has to cross is busy (it’s much quieter on shabbos) and by the time he comes home (about 6:00) it’s usually too late to go to friends anyway.


I think this is very neighborhood dependent.
Where I live I feel comfortable sending out my 8 year old to walk on my block to friends till later. He usually walks home 8ish from them.
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honey36




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 2:18 pm
Thanks for posting this. I always had the same question.

I also want to know about biking. Not so relevant now, but in the warmer months I see kids biking around in pairs or even alone as young as 7 or 8.

I would love my kids to get the fresh air, exercise and it's such an enjoyable activity, but I can't exactly go biking with them anytime. OTOH I'd never allow them to go alone or even with a friend! I just feel like it's so unsafe! What is the solution?
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Ema of 5




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 24 2022, 2:24 pm
amother Beige wrote:
I think this is very neighborhood dependent.
Where I live I feel comfortable sending out my 8 year old to walk on my block to friends till later. He usually walks home 8ish from them.

If he didn’t have to cross the street I would definitely let him be out later. Unfortunately, once it’s dark, or not shabbos, the street that he has to cross gets busy and drivers are not always safe there. Also, in recent months there have been some really not cool incidences- exposure, attempted abduction….if it was a completely safe neighborhood, I would for sure let him (and my other kids) walk around whenever and wherever they want. Unfortunately that’s not the world we live in :-(
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#BestBubby




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 10:08 am
My grandchildren in Lakewood development play outside unsupervised from age 5.

But they have to stay on their block and not go into neighbors house without telling mother where they are.

In 1970s Boro Park, I walked to grocery or nearby friend myself. I could cross with a traffic light from age 6.

I believe in "free range" kids where possible.


Last edited by #BestBubby on Sun, Nov 27 2022, 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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#BestBubby




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 10:11 am
honey36 wrote:
Thanks for posting this. I always had the same question.

I also want to know about biking. Not so relevant now, but in the warmer months I see kids biking around in pairs or even alone as young as 7 or 8.

I would love my kids to get the fresh air, exercise and it's such an enjoyable activity, but I can't exactly go biking with them anytime. OTOH I'd never allow them to go alone or even with a friend! I just feel like it's so unsafe! What is the solution?


You let your child ride in car, go swimming and ride bike?

These also have risks.

Let your children play outside.

There is also risk to physical and mental health, not to let kids play outside.
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Ema of 5




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 10:21 am
honey36 wrote:
Thanks for posting this. I always had the same question.

I also want to know about biking. Not so relevant now, but in the warmer months I see kids biking around in pairs or even alone as young as 7 or 8.

I would love my kids to get the fresh air, exercise and it's such an enjoyable activity, but I can't exactly go biking with them anytime. OTOH I'd never allow them to go alone or even with a friend! I just feel like it's so unsafe! What is the solution?

You don’t have to ride with them. You can let them rode on your block and check in every time they pass the house. You can go for a walk with them and let them ride while you walk.
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amother




Daphne
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 10:32 am
Times have changed from when we were kids. And unfortunately not for the better. Crime etc and general craziness. and less policing of inappropriate and dangerous behavior.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 10:37 am
#BestBubby wrote:
I believe in "free range" kids where possible.

Same
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#BestBubby




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 11:01 am
In Ramona book written in 1970s, Ramona and Howie asked mothers permission to walk to school themselves after mothers walked them for a few weeks.

They were age FIVE and crossed streets without traffic lights, being overly cautious and not crossing if they saw a car coming a block away.

That was considered normal in 1970s.

I crossed street from age 6, but only with traffic light.
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amother




Azure
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 11:12 am
It really depends on the neighborhood. I live in a very safe town and neighborhood.
It depends on the child too.
I let my 3 yo go outside while I'm in and out of the house. He'll ride his bike, jump around play with toys.... (One of my kids I wouldn't let at 3 do what my now 3 yo does. She'd walk off as soon as my hands would let go of hers. Lol)
My 7 yo rides her bike around the neighborhood looking for company. (About a 1.5 mile radius)
I'm comfortable with that.
I teach my kids about safety because the idea of a "safe neighborhood" can be a false sense of security. We do our best. The rest is up to hashem.

Some kids are ready sooner than others.
My 8 yo is extremely competent as a little mother's helper. In my last weeks of pregnancy and early PP If I slept in a bit she would set the table and feed herself and the other kids. She was so sweet. When I came out she yelled "suprise!" She felt like a million bucks!
At the same time, she doesn't have such good motor control. And has slow reflexes.
So I'd rather my 7 yo hold the baby than her because if she tripped, she could loose her grip. If 7 yo fell, she'd hold onto baby tighter (happened once. She tripped and bumped a large heavy object. She held onto baby and kicked the object away with her foot. It could have chv crushed her face. She was so quick thinking and acting! adults might not have been able to react this way! My 7 yo hurt herself badly but nothing serious. Was sore for a day or so. I'm so amazed my her)

So it all depends.
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Ema of 5




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 11:14 am
#BestBubby wrote:
In Ramona book written in 1970s, Ramona and Howie asked mothers permission to walk to school themselves after mothers walked them for a few weeks.

They were age FIVE and crossed streets without traffic lights, being overly cautious and not crossing if they saw a car coming a block away.

That was considered normal in 1970s.

I crossed street from age 6, but only with traffic light.

There are no traffic lights in my neighborhood, only speed bumps and stop signs. I am an adult, and I am still super cautious when crossing on my corner. It is a very busy street, and even with a stop sign (not on my corner) and speed bumps, people still go really fast and are not safe drivers. I will let my 6 year old cross my street, which has very little traffic, alone, but I won’t let my 10 year old cross at the corner alone except on shabbos, when there is much less traffic.
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amother




Sand
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 11:50 am
In my neighborhood, traffic is a major major issue. People blow right past loading school buses without a thought, stop signs are treated as a suggestion more than an actual law (my husband was recently knocked over on his way home from shul because the person did a rolling stop instead of an actual stop). Every year, there are tragedies along the main road here, mostly involving full grown adults, so forgive me if I'd rather hold off on letting my kids cross that road and if I myself would rather walk an extra quarter of a mile to cross at a light. I do believe in free range as much as possible, but community design has not kept pace with traffic increases and it's really nerve wracking. I do let my kids cross smaller streets from about 9 or so, and let them walk around or bike on our side of the main road in groups/pairs from that age. But the traffic situation is what's really holding a lot of us back.
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justforfun87




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Nov 27 2022, 12:55 pm
My almost 11 year old bikes the neighborhood and goes to friends house within a half a mile. My 8yr old daughter is very responsible and I would hypothetically let her walk to shul a few blocks a way. My 6 yr old is not ready to cross streets so she can walk down block a few houses and back.
Live in Baltimore
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