Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hey, y'all...

..it's time to play "Ask the Internet"!!

So the Evil Genius is six-and-one-half years old. Is that old enough to play outside on his own...largely unsupervised, while parent/s are indoors?

To make it easier to answer, picture this: Our house is on a cul-de-sac, bordered by houses on either side and woods in the back. It's a large yard, with a play area in back. The street is quiet.

The Evil Genius knows and honors the rules about playing outdoors (although I'm out there with him, and that may be why) - no going into the woods without an adult, no leaving the yard, no getting into cars or walking away with anyone without asking permission from Mom or Dad first. He's generally self-sufficient when it comes to play.

He has never been allowed out on his own for more than a few minutes. Sometimes I let him go out first, then follow in five or ten minutes, but I'm watching out the door or windows. If I'm outside with him, though, I'm not getting housework, writing, or anything else done. I can get a little weeding done, if I'm so inclined, but it's bloody hot and humid out there, and I'm usually not inclined to do more than a little desultory watering and hiding in the shade dodging mosquitoes for as long as I can stand it before herding the Evil Genius back into the A/C. He doesn't notice the heat and is usually disappointed when his play time is cut short because Mommy is hot, needs to cook dinner, or has other things to do.

So...do I let him play outside on his own? When I was his age, I was outdoors alone all the time, wandering the yard or neighborhood, riding my bike everywhere, exploring my world.

What do you say, Internet? Not that I'm really good at following advice...pig-headed and opinionated, I generally am going to do what I think is best or right anyway, but I like seeing things from other perspectives..and maybe this'll be one of the times I listen to someone else for a change.

10 comments:

HermitJim said...

At some point you have to let him explore a bit! I would say, go with your gut feelings on this one...

It's a hard call for someone else's child. We lived outside when we were young, and did ok!

But it was a different world back then!

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

I think you are breaking the waters the right way-- let him out "unsupervised", but watch from the inside.
He'll earn-- or not-- the trust to extend future jaunts...
Like the Hermit said-- and you yourself did-- we all played outside as young-uns and fared well...

One of those personal judgement calls. Let him play, but consistently reiterate the rules.
A little boy... we like to test bounds...

You will KNOW, Lady.

Mom's always do... ha!

Just my $0.02...

Annie Anderson said...

Hmmm . . . a tough question for certain.

I would say - and it's what I do - let him out, set a timer and check on him every 10 minutes. Come out so he can visibly see you, say hi, let him know you're there and checking.

Once he learns a pattern of "hey, mom's gonna check on me every few minutes," he'll be less inclined to get into trouble or go wandering off.

Or, you could set the timer and have him check in with you every ten minutes. Just put the timer in the window or something where he can hear it.

Either way, if he doesn't follow the rules, he doesn't get to be out there without you and he'll learn it. But give it him a little bit a time. If he does well, extend it a few minutes between "check-ins."

Anyway, that's my thoughts. Hope it's useful.

Kit said...

I know the location, and my inclination would be to let him out to play. Check on him pretty frequently, especially until you get a feel for how he'll behave "on his own". But chances are, he will be absolutely fine, and the freedom will be a big confidence-booster for him. Just be sure to give him some focused "mommy time", too- I know how easy it can be to let that slip when they start getting a little more independent.

I've actually been reading a blog that's quite relevant to this question: it's called Free Range Kids. ( http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ ) Very supportive and interesting site.

As you start to offer more freedom, Bird will show you what he's ready for. You can adjust the rules accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Ditto from your Mum.

Anonymous said...

Ditto from your Mum.

Rob Houston said...

Let him explore! Keep an eye on him from time to time, but let the evil genius learn about the world he will soon rule!

Let us know what happens :)

Kyddryn said...

Mister Hermit, sir, it was a different world...but it's not so different I can't let him learn to stretch his wings a bit. He IS nicknamed "Bird", after all!

Cygnus, your two-cents are welcome...and boys WILL test the waters, test the boundaries, and test their mother's will...but we love them anyway.

Annie, welcome - and thanks for the timer idea, it's a good one! I'm thinking about little radios, too...I think we have some around here, somewhere...

Kit, thanks for the input and the link - you are always a font of useful resources!!

Hey, Mum...short, but sweet...thanks for stopping by!

Rob, I swear he IS going to take over the world, someday...

Thanks for weighing in, everyone - it's always good to see things form different perspectives, and y'all gave me some good ideas for giving the Evil Genius a little running room. Cheers!

M said...

I'm pretty much in agreement with everyone else. You have to let a kid out of your site sooner or later. I totally understand the fear of 'What if...' though. Frequent checks (as suggested) would probably help, and if you're really worried, don't they have some kind of wrist band tracking device thing for kids?

M said...

ha ha... is spelled it site. Sheesh, too much time on the internet you think?