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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LuvsM... LuvsMimi4ever

i have a fenced in yard. i DO NOT let my 4 year old out alone. she usally goes with her older sister whos 7. they go out and play with the dogs and i keep and eye/ear out for them

justa... justanotherjen

My 3yo is allowed in our fenced in back yard alone if she wants.  There's nothing to do out there but play in the sandbox so she hardly goes out.

And, yes, I trust my older kids to keep an eye on her in the front yard.  In fact they are all outside right now.  They are 8, 7, 6 and 3.  They spend most of the day outside together.  The 3yo isn't allowed in the front without at least 1 (preferably 2) siblings to watch her.

We live in the city (Chicago) and I grew up in this neighborhood.  It isn't any more dangerous then when I was a kid and when I was younger there were kids of all ages running all over the place.

Reds1974 Reds1974

Mine are 8,7,4. They're old enough to go into the yard alone and play without direct eyes on them. I can hear them arguing from the kitchen/sitting area anyway. I get up to break up the fights and disagreements. The only time that I don't let them out there w/out supervision is when we set up our pool. That's a no-no. I have to be out there even with the 8 year old. No drownings, y' know. When I was 8 I was all over the neighborhood with my group of friends and I had to be back when the street lights came on-how times have changed. I also live on a road that's like the Indy 500!

yvonn... yvonne518

I live in the country and have a large level and clear fenced in backyard. NEVER would I leave my toddlers outside unattended.

There was a little 3 year old boy in my area several years ago who found a way out of his fenced yard and was found hours later in a pond. I am amazed how his mother managed to not get charged with a single thing.


twinc... twinclubmom

I have two and a half year old twins and a fenced in back yard. I will leave them in the back for a minute to run and get the mail or run in the house to grab a snack for them/use the bathroom but that's it. I don't think I'll be comfortable leaving them for longer than that until they're at least 4 or 5 and even then I don't think I'd be comfortable with them out there alone for too long.

Lumin... LuminousMom

Not the front yard.. NEVER. even though its fenced.. unless I am standing RIGHT there... because bad things can happen.

BUT- our back yard has 6 foot fences, and you cant get in/out without going through the house (there is a side gate but it has a padlock and lock on it) so.. yes, I let them play out there while Im folding laundry in the laundry room (I can see them) or in the kitchen which is right off the laundry room. I wouldnt let them be out there unattended if Iw asnt in one of the rooms which has a window into the back yard.. but I dont feel the need to be RIGHT THERE all up in their business if I can see them and know they arent choking eachother or something. After all, our backyard is FOR them. Their playground, grass.. what else is it for if not to let them have free range of it

dreyamom dreyamom

You know kids getting snatched up is pretty rare.  But the fact is, that it does happen to some kids.  I just don't want it to be mine, I watch them every min.

RanaA... RanaAurora

I'm actually shocked at how many people seem to say they wouldn't even let their child be in a completely fenced-in BACK yard with 6' high wooden fences and no access to the front yard.  Really?  Seriously?

mamaj... mamajody0507

yes I do, and my daughter loves it.

phyll phyll

My little ones NEVER EVER play in the front yard alone.  I do let them go out there without me or their daddy when my stepkids are here.... they are 14 and 10.  But even then I check on them a lot just to make sure (sometimes out the window).  They have proven to be very responsible with the younger ones.

Now, the backyard is fenced in.  I will let them go swing and play while I'm in the kitchen and dining room (i can see out the windows and french doors from there).  I'm fine with that, it gives them time away from me so they can play and explore on their own, which I think is healthy.  However, when they go to the side-yard next to the house I run out there and reprimand them.  They hardly ever do that but I don't like them being where I can't see them.

And on the dog-note:  Our dog is sweet and wonderful with our kids but FIERCE when it comes to strangers.... well, even neighbors that she sees every day.  That does make me feel a little more at ease but I still don't let them go to the side of the yard where I can't see them.

I always have to stop myself from being TOO protective but I always keep in mind that it is better safe than sorry.

I'm sure it is different for some people because they might live in certain areas that seem safer but bad people come in all shapes and sizes.

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