The Parenting Rules For Playing Out

The Parenting Rules For Playing Out

We live on a fairly quiet cul-de-sac and whilst there is the odd car or two now and then, people tend to drive safely as they know full well that kids often play out.

I often see kids riding their bikes, scooters or kicking a ball waving at me as I stand watching J joining in. I often wonder what the other kids parents are doing as their children play freely under my watchful eyes. Are they twitching the curtains, noses practically pressed against the window like I would be if my child were to be outside without me? I think not…

Just how old should J be before I allow him the freedom to play out? J has a close friend whose Grandad lives opposite us. They were at school together until his friend recently moved schools. I have probably mentioned this in a previous post but hey ho, I’ve slept since then.

Anyhow, since his friend has school hopped they obviously see less of each other, so when they do get the chance to play together J is literally bouncing with excitement.

Whilst Paul nor I don’t mind openly admitting to the fact that we are a bit on the geeky nerdy side of the fence, J is at an age where he is just beginning to find himself. Therefore, he is desperate to impress his friend by being ‘Joe J Cool’. Bless his cottons, J is utterly adorable, highly intelligent and just like us, he is amazingly geeky, so even trying to be ‘cool’ is near impossible for J.

It feels as if literally overnight J has shot up four inches and decided that being six is the new sixteen. He has told me that he no longer needs me to watch him while he plays who ever said anything about him needing me? It was actually me needing to watch him all along… Whilst J may believe that he is capable of playing without supervision, I’m not sure I am able to allow him. Something just doesn’t feel right yet, he’s only six!

This afternoon we pulled into the driveway after the school run to find J’s friend waiting for us, football at the ready. J suddenly switched from sulky six-year-old to Tigger mode and couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. It was at this point I put a little trust in my son and told him to only play where I could see him from the window which I had my nosed pressed against moments later.

Somewhere deep inside my heart hurt, as I watched J kicking a ball around and also collecting it from people’s front gardens and driveways time and time again because bless, us nerds ain’t got the best aim. I realised that he wasn’t even the slightest bit bothered that I was inside and had left him to play out. He was simply happy playing with his friend and if J is happy, well so am I.

J just keeps surprising me with all these milestones. His sudden ability to ride a bike unaided worries me, because I’m almost certain that riding around and around the same cul-de-sac, even if it’s with his friends will soon become boring. Sadly for J, it’s going to be a long time before I allow him to go out of sight.

I was fairly lucky this afternoon though, it wasn’t long before the boys got bored with the football and ventured inside to get warm. This allowed me to stop worrying momentarily as they had a quick blast on the Disney Infinity 3 which is almost the first time that it’s been used since Christmas. 

They then ventured back outside to play on their scooters, which surprised me after seeing J’s disgruntled facial expression at the idea of leaving a computer game. Obviously, this friend is worth it, as it takes me far more than just asking to peel J away from technology of any kind. It took me almost fifteen minutes to figure out how to unfold J’s sodding scooter and only minutes later he was back after all that effort, I almost ripped a flipping fingernail off trying to get his sodding scooter sorted, the least they could do is use it longer than it took me to actually open!

J handed me the scooter and asked my permission to go to the park with his friend and his friends Grandad. I was so touched, this is the second time that Jim has taken them out for an hour or two. I didn’t mind at all but after waving goodbye I felt the Mummy guilt.

I’m not used to having other people looking after J, usually I’m the one watching the kids play. I’ve even had neighbours jovially asking me “Is the crèche open?” knowing full well I’m too blinking nice to say “No” leaving me with their kids bouncing on our trampoline till past bedtime on a school night wondering when their parents might fancy popping by to take them home. So why do I feel so guilty when it’s my turn for a break? I say a break, in reality I had E and the chores to keep me from becoming too relaxed.

So, here they are, my many questions :

  1. How old should your child be before you allow them out to play?
  2. Did I do right or wrong by lengthening the so-called leash this afternoon?
  3.  How do you ever stop feeling so blumming guilty about things?!
  4. How is it when you try to do right by your child you somehow end up wondering if you’ve actually done wrong by them?

Please feel free to comment. Please do comment! I’d love some feedback. After inviting feedback, I’d better go and prepare myself for an online bashing I guess. Please be nice 🙂



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