Playing Outside Without Me? Are They Safe?

In this day and age, allowing kids to play outside alone can be scary.

This Winter Break was monumental for my little family. I became “comfortable” with my two girls, ages 6 and 8, playing outside without me.

Ages six and eight… Old enough to be outside alone?

I’ve always wanted them to be more active and this Winter Break… WHOA… They have been VERY active. They are outside on their scooters, on the playground, playing hide-and-seek with the neighborhood kids.

But I gotta tell you, I’m a nervous wreck.

We live on a pretty secluded street, and I have threatened my daughters’ lives if they go into the street, but there are so many drivers who just don’t pay attention.

Additionally, my older daughter has an eye condition called aniridia, which renders her legally blind.

So, this Winter Break has been a struggle for me allowing them to have independence and freedom.

I remember my own upbringing… At 6 years old I was hopping on my bike and traveling several streets over to my friend’s house… And my mom wouldn’t see me for hours.

So, why am I so freaked out about allowing my daughters to be out on the driveway and sidewalk by themselves?

children playing outside

Am I just nuts?

Too overprotective?

Or am I being smart… Especially in this day and age of texting while driving and human trafficking?

Yes, I know I’m being a little overdramatic, but it happens.

And already my girls are pushing their boundaries.

“Mommy, why can the kids across the street PLAY in the street and we have to stay on the driveway?”

“Mommy, if I’m really careful, can I please ride my scooter to the playground?”

“Mommy, if we stay on the sidewalk, can we go all the way around the block?

My answer… Has been to drink massive amounts of wine and explain the concept of “baby steps”.

You know what’s also difficult… I would almost trust my younger daughter to be a little more independent. Maybe ride her scooter around the block and such… But I just don’t really have the trust in my older daughter. Yes, her eye issues play a part in it, but have you ever just had a flighty child?

Audrey is the little girl who would help a stranger find his “lost dog”, she would absolutely be tempted by someone offering her candy and she would chase a butterfly right in front of a moving vehicle.

But I can’t exactly allow my younger child more freedom than my older one.

So, for now, I think allowing them to play outside on the driveway and sidewalk for hours is a very large leap for this Mommy…

So, I will continue to “sip” my wine, spy on them from the second-story window and appreciate that they are outside, being active and making friends.

Laura likes to run. She uses it as an excuse to escape her 12, 7 and 5-year-old kids. Cameron, Audrey, and Lexi are amazing but exhausting. Fortunately, Laura’s partner in crime, Craig is pretty amazing himself. They’ve been married too many years to count and moved to Riverview when it was still cows in pastures. Laura worked for 18 years in television news, most recently as Executive Producer of Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay, before taking the leap to the Hillsborough County School District where she works in Communications. Laura’s pet peeves include the use of “lol” and people who wear Crocs.