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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mamal... mamalinzie

If I had a fenced in yard, you can be sure I would let me 3 year old play out there by herself. In fact, when we visit my sister, they do have a fenced in yard, and the kids play out there by themselves all the time. Its a wonderful way to let kids expand their social skills, their creativity, their imaginiations, and get in touch with  nature.

Butte... Butterfly872

I would never do this.  There are way too many crazy people in this world -- child molesters, kidnappers, murderers -- and they could take your child in a second.  It's happened before; why take the chance?  Is it really too much trouble to watch your child?  Now I understand that the safety of a neighborhood depends on where you live, but bad things happen everywhere, even in a fenced-in yard in small-town USA.  (Just check the news.) So no, I couldn't (and wouldn't) take this chance.

mamab... mamabear8869

I completely agreed with Butterfly872, I would NEVER let my children play outside by themselves. I am always out there with them and if I have to go to the bathroom, everyone comes in. (kinda of like potty break time) I take our cordless phone out with us in case that rings, and I have fun with my kids...

Lanasmom Lanasmom

I would if there was an older brother sister out there with them--but never alone.

Ann7227 Ann7227

Just crazy to let you toddlers play outside by themselves. I would never I love my kids to much to let them be left unattended.

JPsMo... JPsMommy605

I let my almost 4 year-old son play outside without me there with him.  I started when he was 3 letting him play with our neighbor, who was 6, so long as they followed the rules of where they could play.  We live in a small apartment complex with large open grassy areas and small "wooded" areas the kids call "the forest".  We were in the back, set away from the streets, so no danger of some "crazy" person driving up and snatching him (and the odds of that are what??).  I could always hear him or see him from where I was inside the apartment, and if I couldn't, I would check on them.  Now that he's 4 (and technically not a toddler anymore) and our neighbor is gone, I still allow him to play outside, but he has proven himself mature enough to follow any rules I set him, such as limitations on where he can go.  However, we are moving this month to a new house without the yard, so he will be losing most of his unsupervised outside playtime.  We have a large porch, which he will be allowed to play on, but that's it.  From there, it's all street, so no unsupervised time after we move.  Ahhh...I guess I'm pretty free-range...

Charb... Charbear76

Never! That's just plain stupid! The only way I would ever let my kids play outside alone is in a backyard with a very tall privacy fence. There was some weirdo driving all over the suburbs here last year trying to get kids into his car. He never got caught so he's still out there! I don't care where you live, kids get kidnapped in the boonies also. In case no one has been watching the news, most abductions happen in small towns.

DStep... DStephens7

I would let my son play in the backyard with a fence and I would be able to see if out the window.  I wouldn't let them go in the front yard because I wouldn't want him to be kidnapped or for a toy to go in the street and him want to go and get it.  I do believe that it is good for them to play outside and use their imagination but I will be close by to supervise.  It would be better for them to be alone if there were older children out there.  I don't think that we should be calling everyone stupid and bashing.  We are all raised differently and some places are safer than others.  However, I feel like you should watch the movie Changeling and it will make you stop and think!

Cilla... CillaTexas

I havn't experienced this yet, but have always said that once I had a fenced in back yard, the kids would have a great space to run. The front yard is just asking for it.

Glowi... Glowing4Caleb

I personally wouldn't, but if I lived out in the country or something, when he got a little older I would. It doesn't work well when you live in a busy subdivision in Atlanta!! I just wouldn't personally be able to do that!

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