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Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,420
Registered: ‎07-07-2010

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

As much as I hate to say it, I don't think it is safe today for anyone to be walking alone, no matter the age.  I grew up in the city and took all types of public transport at an early age.  There were no curfews but we just had to be home for dinner.  

 

I rarely see any person walking by themselves in my neighborhood, which is just one circle, so relatively safe; but, when I see anyone of any age walking, I keep an eye out.

 

About two years ago, when I would drive to the Y, I would see this little boy standing on a major road, waiting for his school bus.  He was no older than 6, and his house was a good 1/4 mile from the road.  No parent or guardian in sight, even though someone was probably at the door.  If anything happened to him, no one could get to him in time.  When I noticed him, I started slowing down and keeping a watch until I saw the school bus.  I still remember how concerned that I was for this little boy.  I believe the home was a rental, because I have not seen him in a long time.

 

We cannot be too careful today.  Between traffic and predators, it can be scary out there.  I always enjoyed just deciding to go for a walk and not worry about anything happening.  Today, I believe in not walking alone for anyone.

The next time that I hear salt and ice together, it better be in a margarita!
Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,656
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

@Icegoddess @My son was three.We had a small two street subdivision that was home to twenty plus little ones.We were all friends and watched over the children when in our homes.Those little ones walked in a large group together but there was only local traffic as we were a tiny culdesac with no through road.We always watched out the window as they went to the next home and contacted the mom to be expecting them.I know this seems crazy lax but I never felt worried back then that anything would happen and nothing did but it could have I suppose.We most often had them at our home because I didn’t expect them to be too quiet or too tidy and you could count on me for some great snacks.LOL.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,319
Registered: ‎11-03-2018

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

I never allowed my kids to walk alone.  I walked them to school.  They begged to walk to school alone, but I followed behind them.  LOL

 

We live in a very safe neighborhood, but all it takes is someone driving through for something to happen. 

 

At some point, you have to let your kids do things no their own.  There is no right or wrong answer.  It just depends on the child and the parents.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,876
Registered: ‎09-14-2010

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

Excellent question.

 

I guess it depends where you live -  your neighborhood, your surrounding area.

 

And, the child themselves is important too. Kids are kids.

Some are just more responsible than others.

- DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS -
Valued Contributor
Posts: 756
Registered: ‎03-08-2018

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

I deal with this on a daily basis with a 9, 10, 12, and 14 year old.  It really depends on the neighborhood you live in and whether you have children who pay attention to people and their surroundings.  When I was 10 I was walking all over my town on my own but I grew up in a small town.  

  

My 12 & 14 year old are free to ride their bikes around the subdivision.  I am more concerned about my 9 & 10 year old.  If they are only going a couple houses away and I can see them that is OK.  Any more than that someone needs to be with them.  Cars fly down our road and I'm really concerned about that.  My kids at least will look around and pay attention to cars coming down the road.   We have a neighbor boy on the other hand who is 10 and constantly rides his bike in front of cars and runs through yards of homes who don't have kids.  Drives me crazy,  he's not even my kid and I tell him not to do that.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,003
Registered: ‎02-14-2017

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

My son was 10 when he was first allowed to walk or ride his bike 2 blocks to the park. He’s 14 now and gets himself on the bus half hour after I leave for work and often walks the mile home after sports practices.
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,786
Registered: ‎03-19-2010

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?


@Whatnow wrote:

@Icegoddess @My son was three.We had a small two street subdivision that was home to twenty plus little ones.We were all friends and watched over the children when in our homes.Those little ones walked in a large group together but there was only local traffic as we were a tiny culdesac with no through road.We always watched out the window as they went to the next home and contacted the mom to be expecting them.I know this seems crazy lax but I never felt worried back then that anything would happen and nothing did but it could have I suppose.We most often had them at our home because I didn’t expect them to be too quiet or too tidy and you could count on me for some great snacks.LOL.


 

@Whatnow, yeah, since I was walking to school alone at 6, I had obviously playing with neighborhood kids outside before that age.  My mother didn't drive, so that was really the only choice.  Sure, something bad could happen, but bad things happen at home too.  

 

By 5th grade I had to change schools and that was either a very long walk to school or a much shorter trek across the railroad tracks where the trains were often parked across the tracks.  And then we moved, but still same school, and it was a very long walk home and across one of the busiest streets in town.  I think by then I was getting a ride TO school in the mornigs, but still had to walk home.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,010
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

It totally depends on the child and the neighborhood. I allowed my son to bike and walk around our subdivision starting at 10. We very gradually allowed him more freedoms as he got older. I consider myself a pretty protective parent, but I don't go overboard. Sheltering your kids too much and instilling too much fear in them when it's not warranted is not healthy.

 

I live in a subdivision with lots of kids who are always outside playing, and I love it. Some of the responses here sound overly paranoid. We tell parents to get kids off screens and outside to play with their friends, and then when they actually do we tell them it's never safe. All these "when I was young I played all day and only came home when the streetlights came on and I survived" posts would lead me to believe a lot of you would want the same for your kids. And, no, I don't believe we live in a different world. Bad things happened in the past too.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. ~ Desmond Tutu
Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,656
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

@Icegoddess @It’s too bad that today’s children can’t play safely outside until they are almost teens.They end up on their computers or cell phones instead of running in the fresh air.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,861
Registered: ‎07-03-2013

Re: At what age should a child be allowed to walk neighborhood alone or with a friend?

If the mother is questioning it, it's probably too early.  I see kids in my neighborhood walking or biking alone with or without friends.  They are way younger than 9.