Mom Confessions: I Let My Toddler Play Outside Alone


mom confessionsIt's time for a Mom Confession -- because, let's face it, we're real mothers and sometimes it doesn't work the way the parenting books say it should.

This Week's Confession:

I let my toddlers play in the yard alone or without adult supervision.

I live in a quiet neighborhood with mostly elderly neighbors and our yard is fenced in, so I let my 3 1/2 year old play outside with our two dogs who bark at everybody that comes near our house. -- anonymous

My kids have played in gated yards alone since they were 4, with the siding glass wide open so I can see and hear them. -- anonymous

Pretty much every day -- they are 3, 5, and 8. Front yard. Back yard. For the most part they are in the street either on bikes are playing with chalk. They are free to come and go from the house as they please. I prefer the 3 year old to be out there with someone, but there are occasions when he might go blow bubbles all by himself. -- anonymous.


Should toddlers be allowed to play outside alone?

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Total Votes: 354

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Would you trust slightly older siblings, ages 5-8, to supervise younger toddlers in the yard, or is that too much responsibility for a little kid? What about your dog -- is he a responsible enough babysitter for outside play time?

We all have secrets and opinions -- so thanks to this brave mom for sharing her honest thoughts, and thank you for keeping this conversation non-judgemental!

Past Confessions:

I Turn My Kids Over to A Mom I Just Met

My Toddler Wears Crude T-Shirts

I Let My Toddlers Climb Play Equipment Unassisted

My Kids Go to Sleep After Midnight

I Let My Toddlers Go Naked in Public

I Throw Away My Kid's Artwork

I Paid $22 for My Son's Haircut

My Toddlers Eat Pizza for Breakfast

I'm Dying My Toddler's Hair

I Leave My Toddler Alone in the Bath

Our Children Aren't Invited to Our Wedding

I Scold Other People's Kids

I'm on Vacation, But My Kid Is Still Going to Day Care

I Favor My Older Child

I Let My Toddler Eat Food Before Paying for It

I Find Excuses to Send My Kids to Bed Early



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Lelan... LelandsMommy

I let my 3 year old play outside by himself. Our computer sits right next to our back door, and I open the door (but leave the screen door closed so that baby can't get out and bugs can't get in). I can see him and hear him... and we live on a cul-de-sac with very little traffic (especially in the morning and afternoon while everyone is at work), and I can hear all the cars that come down the street... however my son is only allowed to play in our back yard. He knows better than to go into the front yard or the street.

trelimon trelimon

fenced in back yard on a military base in a cul de sac so yes my 3 yr old plays in the backyard by himself. i usually have the screen door open and do things in the kitchen so as to hear him better and occasionally peak out the window to check on him. feel safe on base and safe knowing that crimes against kids are lower than they have been in years.

Agent... AgentBrez

i have left my toddler alone in our fenced in backyard for a few mins while i am in the kitchen and can see her through the windows. i made the mistake the other day of leaving her alone on our front porch for too long and she wandered down the street to the end of our cul-de-sac. i will never leave her alone outside in the front again, at this age.

Khai_... Khai_Milas_mom

I never let my daughter outside alone for more than a minute (she's 3). Too many strange people in the world, strange animals, bee's and hornets, etc. Even those who claim they can "see" and "hear" their children, it only takes a second for something awful to happen. And to leave your child with a dog or a an older sibling is not exactly the greatest idea either. Besides, parents should be out with their kids, interacting with them, educating them,...just generally spending time with them.

DStep... DStephens7

Yes.  Parents should interact and spend time with kids.  However, parents have things that need to be done without the little one right there at all times.  It is good for them to play alone for a little bit.  Its not going to kill them.  And everyone talking crap about parents just being lazy for not going out there is completely rude!  I need time to do things around the house and my son needs to explore without mommy up his butt all the time.  Let them be kids and fall and get a skinned knee.  That is how they learn their limits and use their imaginations.

JPsMo... JPsMommy605

DStephens7 - Hear Hear, Huzzah...and thank you.  No one who actually knows me would EVER accuse me of being lazy or of not interacting with my son.  He is allowed to explore the world and when invited, I explore with him.  It would be nice if more parents could sometimes look outside their personal experience to explore the possibility that life has endless ways of expressing good parenting ... and sometimes that means letting the little ones play by themselves indoors AND out.

madam... madamekatekate

Even if we had a fenced in yard, I wouldn't let my 3 1/2 year old play alone. I'd be outside with her, letting her do what she wanted but you can believe I'd be outside. There's any number of things that can go wrong and while I won't hover over her, I will be within a very accessible distance of her. Now if she had older siblings (about 8 or so) I would let them all play together if the oldest was responsible enough to make sure she didn't get hurt and if she did to get me immediately.

But in my mind, 3 1/2 is too young to be outside unsupervised.

Kayla... KaylasMiracle

Do a search on youtube missing/murdered's so sad. :-(  So many of the stories are heartbreaking..."I just looked away for a second" "I just ran in to use the bathroom" and so many more. My children (5 & 8) are NEVER allowed out by themselves.

And as far as letting an older  sibling watch a younger can you put that kind of responsibility on them. What if something DID happen? The older child would carry that guilt for the rest of their lives.

So,  yes perhaps I AM over protective, but my children are my everything and I don't want to chance anything happening to them.

pinkc... pinkchoklit

i'd want to always keep my eye on my litl one.  blame me for being over protective, but we live in a crazier world.  it takes but a minute for someone to snatch a child... and that would be a minute a mother's going to regret for the rest of her life...

Colts... ColtsFan1912

fenced in yard where i can hear & see 'em? yes. I would.

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