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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nonmember avatar Ellie

I am a nanny and I have worked for parents who subscribe to this thought. I personally have no problem with it either. Children were meant to play and spend time outside, but you cant always be there with them. However, it's all about maturity, your community, and other risks. I wouldnt let a child play outside if they dont understand stranger danger, what is and isnt okay to do, where they can or cant go, or if it's not a safe community.

I was raised free-range and so were all of my friends, no ill effects occurred that we didnt learn from (usually it was things like sitting on a bike after it fell in a fire ant hill is a bad idea, or wearing shoes when you're told to is probably a good idea, or sitting on the edge of a fire pit is a bad idea both in parental nagging and real life).

gr-mom2 gr-mom2

  I wasn't as "LUCKY" as the ones that think their  children are always safe.  When mine snuck out of the Locked screen door when she was 3 1/2 to "catch that kitten"......that was the last time I ever saw her!  The car that was speeding in front of our neighborhood....also never saw her dart out from the parked cars!

I was then 3 months pregnant with our 2nd child, only home for a week after having a ruptured appendix.  I even had my young sister over during the day to help me with my daughter.  She had to go home and my daughter was taking a nap and my husband was only minutes from being home.  It was just that brief, flickering moment in time that I can never get back!  

Don't take your children for granted.  They and we are only briefly here, make the best of it.  It only takes a second for you to have "second thoughts"!

Scorp... ScorpioDee

Stop being so darn paranoid...ever heard of the law of attraction? Just wondering...funny that people let their kids play alone outside in Europe (except the paranoid americans that are living here). And I am sure we have just as many crazies here as in the US.

nonmember avatar Rita

I think it is ok to leave your child in a fenced in backyard. Especially with dogs, I know my dog wouldn't let anyone near my son! As long as you know your yard is safe and there isnt anything they could get injured on and you were close by keeping an eye on the child. I think people need to stop sheltering there children so much. When I was younger we played outside constantly and walked to school by ourselves, independence is important.

nonmember avatar Hecticmomof6

i let my 4 and 5 year old play outside alone if i am in the kitchen ( straight eye site of the only gate to the yard ) and if our three dogs are outside as well. We have three rottweilers so NO ONE is even attempting to come up our side walk. And to some moms who make the comments of '' i love my child too much to do that!'' i love my children very much however why is it fair that they stay inside on a beautiful day (so few in PA) just so i can clean or watch their every movement nothing would get done here

Merri... Merrick2408

I let my son play in our back yard "alone"( all windows and doors open, gate padlocked) with our dog all summer long. They have a BLAST. I would NEVER let my kids play out front by them selves. thats what a back yard is for.

Butte... Butterflysky_24

I live in a safe cul de sac, quiet town. I let my 3 year old wander down to the neighbors house alone. I'd prefer to watch him but it's not always possible, with a baby in the house, and things I need to do. Especially in a fenced in yard, I don't see the big deal

nonmember avatar Ashley

I feel like such a bad mother, i have a fenced in back yard and allow my 3 year old to play outside, I always make sure I can hear and see her out of the windows. I'm 22 years old and I feel like I'm screwing up already. I've given her a lot of independence and I feel like I shouldn't have.

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