My neighborhood growing up consisted of 12 houses in a cul-de-sac, and almost every day my friends and I would spend a couple of hours playing outside after school. My parents and my friends’ parents had the advantage of a few things that made them worry less when letting us play outside:
- we weren’t near a busy street
- we were always within shouting distance when they called our names
- they were close with other families on our street so they could make a phone call and check on us
In a recent survey, we found 64% of parents surveyed reported being very nervous about letting their children play outside on their own.(1) I don’t know if it’s a by-product of faster, more complete news coverage these days, but I’m inclined to agree with them that the world seems more dangerous than it was when I was growing up.
Outside-time was a highlight and a pivotal part of my childhood, but there were other elements at play when we were outside that gave my parents piece of mind back then. So, I’m wondering how it is these days. This brings a few questions to mind I’d like to ask you all:
- Do you let your kids play outside independently?
- How far do you let them go? (ie, the front yard, no further than the stop sign, anywhere in the neighborhood)
- How do you get in touch with them?
(1)Nationally representative online survey of 1,270 U.S. parents of kids aged 6-11 conducted by Republic Wireless; November 2017