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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momof... momof2cutegirls

i let me two girls play outside in my backyard (as long as its warm) we keep  any serious danger out of the back yard so that they can play. It gives them time to be outside with fresh air! It also gives me time to get things done on the inside of the house, i keep the windows open and the backdoor crack so my youngest can get back in if she wants. I dont see anything wrong with allowing your kids to be in a fenced yard by themselves. my oldest is 4 and youngest is 2 and they have a great time outside!

Proud... ProudSingleMum

I agree with Butterfly872. And would also like to add, that I have full custody of my son, and my ex is....'unpredicatible' so that is another reason. I also have a 'friend' who let her 18 month old son out by himself, he made it 1.5 blocks away (across an alley and a fairly well traveled road) to a playground before she found him. (oh and to get there, he had to walk through the yard of a child molester (I couldn't even make this stuff up!) Not worth it to me!

Toddl... ToddlerBrain82

I let my three year old play in the front yard, but he is not unsupervised. If I'm not out there with him, I am in the kitchen, which has a wall full of windows that look directly out into his play area. I only let him out because I KNOW that he is well aware of the rules for being outside, and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt where he is and is not allowed to go, and what he is and is not allowed to do. I trust him, plus I only let him go out when I'm in the kitchen and able to watch him. I should add that we live in an extremely rural area and have a large, private piece of land.

fmchavez fmchavez

I couldn't really vote. My fenced BACKYARD, perhaps, but not for very long. You know, I'd go out with her but if I had to pee or grab a drink from the kitchen, I'd leave her alone for that long, but not much longer. There are too many crazy people out there for me to be that trusting.

Tes..... Tes...Jacksmami

Well I let my son play outside by himself. But let me explain, first off, I am way more cautious then I have ever been. When I did home daycare I let the kids play outside all the time alone, we lived up a mile of dirt road with our nearest neighbors (besides my grandparents) about a mile away. The town which was 10 miles away was a population of 500. So there was near as much danger as for you that live in the city. Yes I considered my dog protection but that is because he wasn't going to let any bobcats, coyotes or cougars get close to our house. I also considered my horses some protection because after all they saved my life a couple times when I was little. However these kids were always in a fenced yard. With my son, we have neighbors closer and there is a highway at the end of our driveway (about 1/4 mile) there are too many people around for me to feel safe and we no longer have a big dog or horses. Mostly he is allowed to play in his sandbox, which is next to the front door and we keep an eye him even then. We also still live in an area with cougars, coyotes, bobcats and even bear. We have a bobcat that gets up our tree in the front yard sometimes, so my son isn't left alone without us watching him ever up here.

RanaA... RanaAurora

My kiddo has been allowed to play in our BACKYARD alone since he was 2.  It's completely fenced in, and even closes off from the front yard, which is also fenced in.  I used to only let him while I did dishes (the screen door to the backyard is in the kitchen, and I can see him out the window).
Now that he's 5, I've been more lenient.  As long as he TELLS me he's going outside, he can go out.  Then I shut the screen so the cat can't get out, and make sure I can hear him.  If he's quiet, I always go check on him.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Hmm.  Upon reading more answers, I think everyone's yard is going to make a big difference.  I have a one story house, and a 6' wooden fence all the way around my backyard... and on the other side of the fence is other neighbors - not an alley or anything.  Our house is long and takes up the majority of the lot, width-wise.  There's really very little access visually from the front of our house or the street to the backyard, and we're also in a tiny little somewhat rural neighborhood.  The only thing I'VE ever been worried about with my kiddo in the backyard is neighborhood dogs, but if the front yard gates AND backyard gates are closed, they can't get into my backyard either.

M_May... M_May-Rafferty

I never leave my child unattended.  We have rattle snakes and scorpions and such out here, I could never forgive myself if he were bitten.

toria... toriandgrace

I haven't yet, but this summer I probably will. My daughter is three. We live on a military base. Our backyard is VERY small (more like a patio) and completely fenced with a six foot wooden fence. It is longer and narrow, and we can see the entire yard from two sliding glass doors and a big window.

I will probably let her play out there while I do the dishes, run into the bathroom, get a drink, etc. I wouldn't leave her out very long, but I have no real fear of her being kidnapped from our yard.

sunsh... sunshine06

NO NO NO NO NO!  I am totally against it!  My husband on the other hand would probably let them all walk to Califonia alone.  Last weekend he let them all out alone and told the 9 and 7 year old watch the 3 (almost 4) year old.  Obviously I wasn't home.  His argument is that the yard is fenced in.  Well the three year old fell somewhere.  No one knows where cause no one was watching her.  She ended up needing to go to the E.R.  She cut her leg pretty bad.  She didn't need stitches, but did have to get some work done on it. (way to gross for me to explain, but it was bad)  While I was on the phone to my dad (he was an EMT) DH slapped a band aid on her and let her go right back out alone!  WTH!  I'm still yelling at him about it a week later!  But he learned his lesson and now goes out with them.

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