How old is old enough?

At what age would you let your child outside on their own?

My eldest is now 10 years old and has started to talk about going outside on his own, not to play in the street but for a jog or a cycle ride round the block. There are many a times that we have seen his friends out and about at the park or at the shops on their own without any adult supervision and i look at him and feel slightly sorry for him, for trying to hold onto those dear youthful innocent years and not allowing him to grow up and have that little bit of independence.

Jak is a very grown up boy who is an intelligent confident individual and i sometimes have to remind myself that he is only 10 years old, you can have an adult conversation with him and he is very trustworthy and i’m sure he has a good head on his shoulders, he knows whats right and whats wrong and can make his own decisions on subjects but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about him coming to danger when i’m not around. We live in a busy area of Greater London and although i have taught him the green cross code since he could walk, i fear that he would forget to use when he is on his own and not cross the roads safely and then there’s the thought of him getting bullied by older the children who hang around on our streets.

I have known for the past few months since he turned 10 that i would have to give in to the pressure and allow him some independence, not only that it will show him that i do trust him too.

Yesterday was the first time i allowed him to go to the shop for me, which is on the next street just behind our house, it was mid afternoon, there is one road to cross which can get very busy with parked cars and the odd idiot driver zooming up the road using it as a cut through to skip out the traffic lights!

I told him-

  • not to cross behind or in front of parked cars but to find a big enough space where he could see clearly up and down the road
  • not to talk to anyone he doesn’t know
  • to run their and back
  • to stick to the pavement and not to walk the kerb side
  • to watch out for where there is a pavement cut as that means it is used as a driveway and to keep an eye out for cars coming in and off the drives
  • to keep his head up and be aware of who is around him

I gave him a pound coin to buy me a paper, i have never seen him put his shoes on as quick as he did, he was like flash lightening, i suppose he thought that the quicker he gets his shoes on and leaves the house I won’t be able to change my mind, bless him! He was gone for the matter of minutes which seemed like hours for me, i couldn’t concentrate on the other anything else whilst he was out, my heart was beating fast and i felt sick! Worry and fear was taking over and lots of thoughts were running through my mind, i was imaging where he would be at the stage of his journey at what time and when he knocked on the door shouting ‘it’s me mum’ i suddenly felt all relaxed, he was home safe and sound!

I asked jak how he felt doing the job for me and he said that he felt all grown up and responsible!

Have i lost my youthful little child? No i havent! I have gained a little man!

What age did your children go out for their first time?

Thank you for reading my post:-)

 

 

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2 thoughts on “How old is old enough?

  1. I think it all depends on the child / where you live / where the child wants to go etc.
    My son is 6 and last Summer was allowed to go out to call on his friends in our street, and occasionally play out with them. We live in a cul-de-sac in a small town just outside of Edinburgh. There are fields surrounding our estate and no busy roads. And Brodie is a trustworthy kid who knows not to go further than our street – or he would be grounded.
    Kids around our town don’t tend to play out in Winter – it’s too cold. So there’s only about 3 months of the year that my sons will want to play outside in the street.
    Things would be very different if we lived in London, or a built-up area with lots of traffic. If that were the case, I think I’d arrange for my son to have friends over to the house more, or I’d let him go to a friend’s house.
    There’s no hard and fast rule. You have to do what you think is best.

  2. I can’t lie, this is a constant worry for me. I live in an estate in West London & I see children that look about 6 out in the estate playing footy, normally with friends but occasionally by themselves. I see 10 year olds going to the park up the road in a group & feel like I am over protective because i don’t think I want shy to do that! My reasoning is that even if I can see her out the window… it doesn’t mean I can stop anything bad happening (irrational fear of kidnappers lol). I suppose when the time comes… I will cry a little inside lol

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