Many children would spend hours playing outside and find it boring to return to the house when they want to play. At what age can we let them play alone outside?
Playing outside is very he althy for a child. He meets the neighbors' children, breathes fresh air, exercises and develops his imagination.
In recent years, many child specialists have been complaining about the fact that children and adolescents are increasingly sedentary. It is therefore desirable to encourage them to go out. But we don't want to jeopardize their safety either. At what age can we safely send them outside?
Not too soon
Between two and three years old, some parents let their children play on a safe balcony for a few minutes while peeking out the window or patio door, but at this age there are many risks. For the few minutes he can spend alone outside, the danger is too great, especially in summer when a swimming pool is accessible.
Around four years old, children can spend some time alone outside if they are not exposed in summer to plants that could betoxic, if the terrace and the yard are not covered with small objects that they could put in their mouths or that could hurt them if they fall, and if the place to which they have access is fenced. At this age, you still have to look outside often and ask them what they do regularly.
The age of reason
It is only between the age of 6 and puberty that a child reaches what is called the age of reason. During this time, he will learn to make sensible choices and develop a sense of caution. You will find that your child is gradually gaining wisdom, no longer tending to cross the street without looking or looking for ways to get away from home to prank you or play spy. He won't be independent, of course, but he will be able to play a sport outside and possibly walk home from school with a friend.
From then on, as long as he stays within the determined radius and he takes your safety rules into account, you will be more reassured when he goes outside to meet his friends.
In the meantime, you will go through several steps together towards autonomy and a sense of responsibility that will allow him to stay outside on his own, but you will still have to supervise his outings from near or far.
- You never leave a child alone in a yard where there is a swimming pool or body of water.
- We avoid leaving a young child alone with an animal.
- You have to determineadvance the distance that the child can travel alone, regardless of age.
- It is important to anticipate problems and determine appropriate emergency solutions.
- Some neighborhoods and villages are safer than others. Ask your neighbors who have children a little older than yours.
The risks vary greatly depending on your environment. The steps you take to protect your children will vary accordingly. The younger your child, the greater the dangers. This is due to his lack of experience, of course, but also to uncertainties. For example, it would be very unfortunate for a young child to be stung by a wasp in your absence if he is allergic. It is for all the unknown variables that caution is essential at a young age.
From eight or nine years old, when they want to explore the surroundings, you can give them recommendations. For example, if they are going through an alley to go to a friend's house, they must watch out for cars even if there is not much traffic and return before dark because the alleys are generally poorly lit..
Get walkie-talkies and give one to the child when he goes outside to play on his own, even if it's on your property or at the little neighbor's house. You can talk to them regularly to find out where they are. There are really affordable models and you will use them foryears. When the child moves away from home, you will have already developed this habit of staying in touch and you will be more comfortable giving him some autonomy without being afraid of not knowing what he is doing. The devices will even become a game between you and the child, especially if you invent a code and personal replicas!