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Sat Apr 30, 2022, 03:17 PM

Do you let your kids run errands alone? Walk or ride bikes to school? Why or why not?

There's a Japanese show on Netflix called "Old Enough" that's causing a lot of buzz. It shows little kids running errands for their parents. It seems that in this country kids are barely allowed to breathe by themselves, while in other countries they're not only allowed, but expected to do many things on their own without adult supervision.

What do you let your kids do by themselves, and how old is old enough?

Here's an article for reference:
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/04/30/1094677166/we-asked-you-answered-have-you-taught-your-children-to-run-errands-on-their-own

17 replies, 509 views

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 03:31 PM

1. I'm old now but kids in Costa Rica do everything.

They all have smart phones. Play in the parks. Ride bikes where it’s level.

Kids also help with yard work, drive the four wheeler full of debris to the dump site.

There is no ultra mothering here.

They also go to school year round in uniforms.

They all are healthy with great teeth due to universal TOTAL Health care.

Many know at least one second language.

So, US how ya doing?

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:07 PM

2. One of my best memories of Costa Rica is walking around a town square in a small town and seeing....

......three happy kids, none older that four, running and giggling in one direction and three happy dogs, all of indeterminate lineage and small stature, running in the other direction. No supervision in sight for either group.

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Response to RussellCattle (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:13 PM

5. It's just the best. Every town has a square.

The dogs own the roads. Dogs are like the kids. They all get along. No one scared of any dog here.
No leash laws. Dogs can be found laying around in restaurants. Go in grocery stores.

When we had to get our fingerprints for residency, there were street dogs laying i ha the hall and lobby. People just step over them if they’re asleep.

Same thing at the beach. Kids and dogs everywhere.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:27 PM

7. You're so right about dogs. They are rather prosperous looking and easy going. The town....

.....squares are always worth spending time in, especially in the early evening. The one I mentioned was in La Fortuna and was beautifully landscaped with tropical plants and flowers.

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Response to RussellCattle (Reply #7)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:45 PM

8. I was there yesterday. A girl road trip.

We live on the exact opposite end of Lake Arenal.
Pura Vida.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 08:53 PM

11. Very nice. Color me envious. Me and Mrs. Cattle hope to return soon.

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Response to RussellCattle (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 08:57 PM

12. Let us know. We welcome you.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #12)

Sun May 1, 2022, 04:13 AM

13. Thank you. I'm sure that it would be great fun.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:07 PM

3. One of my favorite things as a kid was ...

Walking downtown to pay the electric bill.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:08 PM

4. I had watched a couple episodes

and my anxiety level was off the charts, couldn't watch any more!

ETA: the kids I saw were like 3! Running an errand to the store (not just next door, but like half a mile away!)

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Response to intrepidity (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:53 PM

9. Kids in Japan

are expected to be independent. They ride the train to school at age 6, FFS! Everyone looks out for kids there. In Europe, kids routinely walk, bike, or ride public transportation to school and run errands in the neighborhood.

By contrast, look at the US. In NYC, Lenore Skenazy caught six different kinds of hell for teaching her 9 year old to ride the subway by himself. In Silver Spring, MD, just a few years ago, a couple was reported to CPS for letting their 6 and 9 year old kids walk a half mile to a park together to play; the parents were actually investigated and issued a citation for neglect, IIRC. Our country has gone off the rails. Kids can't even walk to school where there are sidewalks; it makes national news if some neighborhood has a "walking school bus" where parents take turns shepherding a gaggle of kids three or four blocks to school. Our country has truly gone off the rails.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 04:15 PM

6. I don't have kids. I have a lot of younger relatives, as well as lot of

memories of when American kids usually had more freedom. I think decisions about what kids can do depend both on the individual child and the neighborhood.

As a kid, I would ride my bike wherever I wanted to go, until I was supposed to be home for a meal. (This was in suburbs and small towns.) If we lived in the country or were visiting relatives in the country, I'd spend a lot of time away from the house without adult supervision -- riding horses, climbing trees, fishing, swimming. There was quicksand to watch out for in one stream. Rattlesnakes and copperheads. We kids would climb down and across a crumbling rock cliff over a bend in a stream with jagged rocks twenty feet below, and we'd use tree roots to hold onto at times. (I have to admit that when I looked at that cliff as an adult, I thought I'd never let my younger relatives do that.) We were expected to show up for meals, and before dark, usually (after dark we'd usually stay fairly close to the house, though getting away from the lights while telling ghost stories was fun). I think the adults in the family figured that if we were out with other kids close to our age, someone could go for help if someone else got in trouble. But we'd often split up.

And of course, in town, I could run errands to nearby stores, or walk or bike to school on my own, even in first grade. But again, this was in suburbs of cities, or small towns. I never lived in an urban area as a kid.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sat Apr 30, 2022, 08:44 PM

10. My sister and I were able to growing up. Today, no way would I send my kids out by themselves

(most places). A LOT has changed, even in smaller towns or the "burbs."

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2022, 05:50 AM

14. From the age of about four

Our daughters would go visit playmates in the neighborhood if it didn't involve crossing streets. When they started school at age 7, they could walk to school if they didn't go alone, since it was very close, and only involved crossing one street. At age 12, they graduated to another school, and took the bus there and back by themselves. We watched out for them as long as we thought it necessary, but had a very intact group of families who all had (still have) the keys to each other's houses/apartments, and gave our children--as soon as we thought we could--a sense of security that they could handle themselves (within reason). Most of them, now approaching 40, never lost that sense of self-confidence, and have built solid lives for themselves.

I should add that by the time we had our children, we had sought out, and settled in (to the extent that anyone with my job can be considered to be "settled" ), a small German town outside Düsseldorf with a very intact infrastructure. We attended a class for pre-natal couples, and most of the friendships we made then are couples who constitute our best friends here in the same town yet today. Obviously, this is not an option for everyone by a long shot.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2022, 06:05 AM

15. It all comes down to location, location, location.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2022, 10:49 AM

16. When my kids were growing up

we lived in a house with a fenced yard front and back. They played outside 3 seasons of the year from the time they could walk. Once they were about 3 I didn't feel like I had to supervise them every minute. We lived on a quiet one-block street with basically no traffic, so from the age of 4 or so they could run up and down with playmates even though there were no sidewalks. They knew not to go into anyone's house without asking me for permission first, and whose houses were off limits (adults with no kids). They also knew not to go off the block.

They couldn't walk to their elementary school because it was over a mile away and through a questionable neighborhood (it wasn't that it was a housing project, it was a few of the people who lived on that street) and past the high school, also two very busy intersections. I also didn't let my son walk to the high school. Other son went to high school across town. And unfortunately there were no grocery stores nearby.

When we moved they were teenagers. We bought a house in a more or less self-contained subdivision that had just a couple of entry points off a busy highway. In retrospect I would not do that again, but there we are. Nobody could walk anywhere. Son was driving, so he drove to school. Daughter rode a van and was picked up at a point nearby; I dropped her off. Other son was dropped off by his dad. But there was a convenience store just up the highway and I let the kids walk up there. Now my daughter lives in that house and the neighborhood has changed. There are more kids, and some play outside the way mine did growing up. There's a Dollar General Store at the bottom of the subdivision (ugh) and some kids are sent down there walking or on their bikes to pick up stuff for mom, or they go to get cold sodas and snacks for themselves. It's a little more like a neighborhood than it was.

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Response to Jilly_in_VA (Original post)

Sun May 1, 2022, 06:32 PM

17. Off topic but some were reminiscing about their childhoods.

I grew up in the burbs in a 20 house block with tons of kids running around. I remember my mom giving me dollar bill and telling me to go to the market and pick up a pack of Salems for her and Winston's for dad. I was probably 7 or 8.

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