Children playing out – what is the right age to let them?

Today, I am wondering what is right when it comes to children playing out?

As a child, I was out and about climbing trees and playing with other local children. I tended to play with boys more than girls so there was a lot of cowboys but I could always come up with a female character to convince them to let me join in.

I remember the building site at the back of our house where I once wrapped myself in yellow insulation material pretending I was at a posh ball. Delusions of grandeur from a very young age!

As a parent, I have being a vigilant one trying to prevent my children getting hurt in any way. My first son was nearly ten when I let him go to the corner shop. I did this on instinct that I could not explain. It just felt right one day. Both he and his Dad were stunned I was allowing this sudden freedom.

My daughter turned 10 at the start of the month and pointed out that her brother was allowed out when nine years of age so why wasn’t I allowing her out? Well, it’s different with a girl, isn’t it? I hate that in myself but we know what threats there are out there to women and girls and she is my precious babe. How could I let her out and about?

Eventually I agreed that she could go with her brother to the fish and chip shop next door.

Having moved to a cul-de-sac, we were out the front when she walked up to a girl and made friends immediately. Lots of children including incredibly young ones play out here so I could hardly say no. My eight year old son saw this and expected the same treatment.

Surrounded by boxes and black bin liners after the move, I have not really had time to reflect as usual but have just decided to go with it. They are clearly enjoying themselves and becoming part of the community. They are getting fresh air and thankfully leaving their various gaming devices alone.

It’s a good thing and yet I hate not having them in my sight all the time. It’s so scary but I guess you have to let them go.

Tune in a few years when I have the door locked on a permanent basis so that they can’t leave home.

Not easy this parenting gig, is it?

Do you let your children play out and from what age?

What safety precautions do you put in place?

Children Playing Out - What Is The Right Age To Let Them?

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • Glenys

    It doesn’t get any easier. I remember the worry when my under age (16) son was out with his older college friends in London after they’d been to an awards ceremony, the film he was in had been nominated. I couldn’t sleep in the B&B till he was back in. It was even worse when he went off in his car on his own at 17 after having passed his test. It is still bad. I worry when my youngest 30 something daughter is driving at distance with grandchild. Will it ever be OK? Even my mum who has bad dementia gets worried about all sorts of crazy stuff about me, both real & made up. Such is being a mother, I think.

  • Mummy Bear

    Oh my goodness, I like to think that it’s many years down the line until our little bear goes out to play. Yet I know the time will fly by! When the time comes, I suppose that a lot will depend on our gut (as it did with you) and also on her up-bringing and having some common sense instilled in her… For now, I will smugly be grateful that is still years down the line. If you blog about it in 10 years’ time though… it will be whole different kettle of fish!!

  • Sarah MumofThree World

    We lived in a cul-de-sac and I think I let my kids play out there together from when they were 6, 4 and 2. My eldest started going round the village on his own from year 4, but strangely I’m less inclined to let my younger son, who is now an old year 5, go round the village on his own!

  • Candace

    Only since we moved to Wales did my pair get freedom. We used to live in a cul-de-sac before we moved but I had personal reasons relating to a certain person knowing where we lived. They don’t know where we live now and I’m therefore more comfortable letting them out and about on their own.

    As for me, my parents were so strict it was unbelievable and I was never allowed out. Not exaggerating this one little bit.

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