Parenting

At What Age Should Children Be Allowed to Play Outside Alone? My Answer May Surprise You.

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At what age is it appropriate to allow your children to do activities outside alone—like walking to school, the park, or even riding bikes in the neighborhood? That question has come up to me many times over the years, and again in recent days, so I thought I would weigh in on it.

This may sound strange to some of you, but my answer is … never.

Times have changed from when I was a kid. I don’t think I had ever heard of a child being abducted when we were growing up. My parents made me walk to school by myself in the 1980s when I was in the 2nd grade. We left the house at 8 a.m. during the weekends and summertime—came home for lunch—and then back out after dinner until the street lights came on. There were no cell phones back then, and our parents had no idea where we were most of the time. 

There is no way on God’s green earth I would let my children do that today.

We live in a safe upper-class neighborhood now, but that means nothing. It’s not that I don’t trust my children, it’s that I don’t trust society. Have you ever looked up how many convicted pedophiles live in your area? (Yes, I am THAT mom.) Most police departments list that public information for you to look over. If you haven’t done it yet, I think you will be a little shocked to see how many there are in your neighborhood.

Put a label on me, call me paranoid, but I am going to drive my kids to school, and I will sit and watch them play during a beautiful sunny day, thank you very much!

At what age do you let your children play alone? Let us know by leaving a comment.