I have recently read on circle of moms.com that mothers are actually letting their 8 year old watch their 3 and 5 year olds alone outside. Their excuse is that they don’t have the time to be outside with their children and don’t want to “rob” them of playing outside during the summer. This seems so unrealistic to me. Not wanting to rob them of playing outside? How about robbing them of their lives? Just because a child has been alone outside before and nothing “bad” has happened, doesn’t mean that it never will. Having a completely fenced in back yard and visually seeing the child from the window can still be dangerous. Letting a child outside unsupervised is setting the child up for disaster. The 8 year old is not mature enough to watch the 5 year old. They’re not going to be able to stop a grown man from taking off with them, and could be taken easily with no one watching. Think about how many times a day a child has to be told stop doing this or stop doing that. Now unsupervised, they can get away with anything and no one would even know.
Having a teenager who is responsible, isn’t going to ignore the children playing, and will keep them out of the road, or pick them up and bring them in the house if they feel the situation is unsafe is a better situation. Being a mother there is never enough time in the day. Barley having time to get in the shower everyday yourself or remembering to eat while dishing out breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and making sure they have their baths are more important. The child’s safety is more important and not an excuse for not having a clean house. Emma loves to go outside and play. She knows that after her nap time and snack time, it’s time to go outside and play. She will pick out the pair of shoes she wants to wear and it’s not always the same pair. She also knows where to put her shoes when she comes in. She is only two. I would never let an 8 year old watch her. She plays with all the kids in the neighborhood. There is a 9 year old, 8 year old, 7 year old, and two 5 year olds. Even with that many kids I would never let her play without adult supervision at all times. Now sometimes if I need to get something inside ill ask her aunt who is almost 14 to play with her while I get this or that done. Emma enjoys playing with her aunt. But even her aunt being 14 and as responsible as she is, it’s never for extended periods of time.
The other children in the neighborhood run freely all day long. We are kind of on a dead end road and we know all of our neighbors, but that doesn’t make it OK. We’ve gotten numerous letters from our landlords about the kids staying in their own yards and leaving other peoples toys alone. Children can’t be expected to follow the rules all the time. They are just that, children. They are still learning their boundaries and sometimes they know better but still do as they please. If you don’t want out of control children then don’t let them run around the neighborhood out of control.
Along with having a child (not teenager) unsupervised outside to play, is a very dangerous safety hazard (and I’m not sure is even legal) it is also not going to help them listen any better. If they know they are being watched and misbehaving isn’t going to be aloud, they will less likely need to be spoken to about their behavior. Everyone has their own views and opinions about this. These are mine.