At what age do you allow your kids more freedom?

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At what age do you allow your kids more freedom?

At what age do you give your children more freedom to do things alone?

We live about a 15 minuite walk from the school, you have to walk up a stretch of really busy main road (about 5 mins) and then its a back road (no cars) the rest of the way. Right across from the school there's a park surrounded by fields, a couple of weeks before we broke up for Easter holidays I picked ES (5) up and we were going to go to Morrisons before going home. ES who usually wouldnt stay anywhere alone begged me to let him stay at the park and pick him up on the way home. Now I have no doubt atall that he would NOT have moved from that park until I came back even if i'd been 2 hours but imo he was just to young to leave and it got me thinking what age would I leave him. I don't know.

What age would you allow your kids to go to the park alone, walk home from school alone, go into town alone, that kind of thing?

Fredd's picture
Joined: 26/11/2009 - 13:44
Posts: 11361

oo great question! Last summer I left ES in a park on his own. but - it was just before Beavers, the ark is utside the Beavers hut and there were other Beavers there. I wouldn't leave either of them for the time to do shopping, though ES is nearly 8 so I really should think about it.

I will let them both go off to different areas of a park though, send them to the toilet in supermarkets on htheir own, let ES walk up to school alone (from the lower school entrance, so not much further to go!).

Thepark is over a main road, so despair of ever ebign able to send them there alone, and school is a mile away.

OliversArmy's picture
Joined: 26/11/2009 - 13:45
Posts: 12082

I wouldn't have left ES alone in a park either MM. I let him scoot up and down the driveway if I'm in the front room so I can see him, but we've had several very stern lectures on what is/isn't acceptable. I don't let him play out without me or walk to his friends houses yet (they're only a few minutes walk through a quiet estate). Not because I don't trust Olly; I do. I just don't trust anyone else.

I think over the next few years we'll have to loosen the reins on him a little and test how well he deals with a bit of freedom. Much as I'd like to keep him wrapped up forever, he has to learn how to be independent and I have to learn to let go. It's hard though, and I'm sure it gets harder as they get older because at 5 Olly is still very much my shadow and wants me to play out with him.


Thats it Char, as bad as it is its other people who worry me, ok theres a lot more good people than bad but you never know do you and hearing storys of what some kids have done never mind adults is really scary.

I know we can't keep them wrapped up forever but it'd be so much easier if we could.

Im pretty much the same as you Fredd, I will let ES go to the toilet in Morrisons alone cos he knows exactly where it is and will only go if we're at the checkout, he wouldn't risk it if we were still shopping and he might have trouble finding us. I'll let MS go if he's desperate and ES is with him and we're at a checkout right across from the toilet where I can clearly see them come out, otherwise he has to wait.

ES will be 6 and a half when he starts p3 and MS will start p1 then when he's 8 and a half and I might have been thinking about walking him up to the start of the back road and walking the rest of the way themselves YS will be starting p1 so looks like i'll be walking up to the school for a good few years yet lol.

Miss Poppins's picture
Miss Poppins
Joined: 26/11/2009 - 09:21
Posts: 7102

Dont think im the best person to give advice on giving kids freedom, im just letting Abbie have freedom and she is 11. I couldnt have even considered it before now.

sparkledust's picture
Joined: 29/11/2009 - 17:57
Posts: 2949

OD is 13 and walks home from school now. It is busy all the way back, past the hospital etc and she is usually with friends or following the crowd from school if she walks to my sisters.
I did start letting her go out with friends when she was at the end of yr 6 so she was 11, and they were sensible friends, there would've been other who'd have knocked and I would have point blank refused. Bless her on the 2 times she went out with them she rang me from everywhere they went to, and asked if she could go to the next place they were planning on going.
They do go to the toilet on their own if were in supermarkets or restaurants etc.. I still keep an eye on the time mind.
YD(10) is desperate to walk to school on her own, I have started letting her walk from where we park to drop off and I sit and watch until she's through the gate. But I have started planting the seed that will both walk to school together once YD is settled in Sept and stop using the car in the mornings. Not sure who's benefit thats for... but I have to syke myself up for it...a few months should do


Just to throw a different perspective into the picture (although I'm with many of you and my DD (8) can go to the toilet in our local supermarket and "find" things in different aisles etc, but I have seen many of her school friends in town on their own or small groups! Maybe when she's at secondary school lol!

However - in Switzerland the children in NURSERY (slightly different system so age 5 - 7) walk home at lunch times - alone! I know of one child who walks 1/2 mile across Zurich city centre home and then again at the end of the day. That PETRIFIES me! I've watched them and there are trams (don't slow down for anyone or anything), very fast moving traffic etc not to mention strangers......


ElectronBlue's picture
Joined: 27/07/2011 - 10:11
Posts: 13374

We have a local lad (from Poland) who walks to school across our busy town morning and evening on his own and has done so since seven...

He's nine now and been doing it a couple years.

I'm half envious of parents who allow that kind of freedom, and half 'are you out of your mind???' lol I can see the pros and cons for the kids, but I am on the more protective side myself.


Oooooh we have had this conversation not long ago. A will be 8.5 soon, and we have said that next summer she can go to the park on her own. It is across the main road, BUT we also live right opposite the park, so she will be seen (with her friend) across the road and back again. She will take my phone with me so that she can ring me when she is on her way, and she will have to 'check in every half hour. She will also be 'allowed' to speak to other adults and children, but is NOT to go off with any of them.

Its bloody hard knowing when to let go, but if I dont prepare myself now, I dont think that I could let her go in a years time lol.

Joined: 26/11/2009 - 22:36
Posts: 765

We have a middle school system so all the children walk to school together from Year 5. I figured that if I'm going to let her walk across town in rush hour then I should let her play out independently too.
She is now 11 (yr 6) and goes to the gym after school on her own, cycles to the swimming pool at the weekends with her friends. If she's going out on her bike on her own, she has to stay on the estate, but if with friends she can go anywhere in our (small) town.
She has a mobile but rarely takes it. My home and mobile numbers are on a tag on her bike in case she needs to contact me while she's out and about. Otherwise she has her watch and returns at an agreed time. She has never been late.

Blessy Smith

I am thinking to leave my kids home alone and walks home alone at the age of 14.During that time they are responsible enough to handle things of their own. However before deciding this thing we must be assured that our kid was protected wherever they go anytime and anywhere. I am confident enough of letting my kids walks home and stay at home alone because I can monitor their exact location even if I'm not beside them. I provided my kids a mobile personal safety solution with GPS locator that I can know where is my kid location and by the press of the panic button it allows my kids to ask immediate help and it notify me and my husband if my kid is in trouble.