Would You Take Your 7-Year-Old to The Park — And Leave Her There?

Interesting post, over on The Grass Stain Guru, about “Take Your Child To The Park… And Leave Them There Day” on Saturday, May 22.

No, this isn’t “abandon your kid day” or “leave your toddler at the park day.” But this “day” is meant for kids as young and 7 and 8.

Author Lenore Skenazy talks about this concept on her blog, Free Range Kids. She says: “The idea behind it is simple: Most of us want our children to play outside and have fun, but this is impossible because there aren’t any OTHER kids outside for our kids to play with. It’s a  problem folks often cite as the reason they won’t be participating in the holiday. But that’s precisely the reason TO join in!”

What do you think? Would you take your second grader to your local park to meet friends and drop him off, saying “I’ll be back in two hours, honey!” Even with a cell phone at your child’s disposal, would you be comfortable doing this? Why? Or Why not?

Are we overprotecting our kids and keeping them from enjoying some of the freedoms we had as gradeschoolers? Or are we being wise and careful parents be keeping a tighter watch on our them?

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5 Responses to “Would You Take Your 7-Year-Old to The Park — And Leave Her There?”

  1. James says:

    It depends on the kid’s mental age. There are some nine-year-olds I’d leave unsupervised for a shorter time period than some seven-year-olds I know. If you get busted for child endangerment, take it to a jury and make sure the jurors have kids at least a little older so they’ve been through it.

  2. Joy says:

    I couldn’t do it. If I did, I’d be across the street and my kid would be wearing a wireless webcam on their clothing

  3. Heather says:

    I spent a good deal of my childhood running around my San Francisco neighborhood completely unsupervised. And I definitely had the most over protective mom in the nabe. I also spent days wandering in the redwood forest, and in the Sierras, without adults dogging my every step. Those were some of the most formative experiences of my childhood. We need to let out kids out more, without us. Frankly, I think seven is a little young to leave a kid at a park alone. But is it too young to let them play on their own block unsupervised? No. I’ve got a nine year-old who is allowed to play outside, in Brooklyn, without me, as long as she doesn’t cross the street or leave our block. She loves that freedom, and it creeps out some of her friends’ parents. We all need to lighten up. Kid need a little independence. Read “Last Child in the Woods” if you don’t believe me. And please, don’t attach a webcam to your kid’s shirt.

  4. I think unsupervised outdoor play is immensely important. It fosters creativity, collaborative problem solving and just plain fun. I remember growing up in Queens, NY, where my mother would send me out the door in all weather and tell me to “be home when the street lights come on.” My friends and I created forts, made boats to float in the street gutters, and explored the neighborhood.

    I want my kids to have similar experiences. I’ve been letting my kids play outside in our yard or on our block without me since they were 5 or 6.

    That said, I wouldn’t leave them in a park unsupervised until they were older. (Perhaps my daughter was 7 or 8, but my 12-year-old son was with her.)

  5. Kathy says:

    What a great discussion! I had a lot of freedom in my neighborhood when I was in grade school. (But I was never dropped off at a public park. We played near our houses.) But I was always with a gang of kids, some older, and we all hung out together. I don’t remember being worried about child predators back then, although I’m sure it crossed my parents’ minds. We felt safe.