MadDad had an idyllic and pretty independent childhood. It was very Enid Blyton, well it would be he lived and grew up on a farm and spent most of the summer holidays returning home only to eat and sleep. I grew up with a pretty similar upbringing. We would venture out on our bikes to the nature reserve, the allotment, park or the beach. I loved it and when I was small we were allowed in certian peoples houses and the back alley.
One of our reasons for returning to our native North East was the fact that we wanted to give our boys a taste of the freedom we grew up with. Now before anyone starts with the kiddie fidlers and all that. I am a firm believer that there were such people when I was growing up and I distinctly remember being flashed at the local park, however, I also believe that there are not more of them nowadays, just that we are more aware of the dangers.
However, that doesn’t mean that I have found it easy to cut the apron strings and allow my boys more freedom, but I have and I and I do within set limts. Mini has been allowed greater freedom at his age than Maxi on the understanding that the two of them stick together and that they let me know where they are going.
We are very lucky in the fact that we live on an estate on the edge of a village with a couple of greens that the local children congregate on and also helped by the fact that the estate is fiilled with children.
I have also taken a few steps to make things safer and also make me feel better.
- Maxi always wears his watch and we have a firm time for coming home. If they are late, they have to come home earlier next time.
- I bought a set of walkie talkies (Binatone ones from Argos) and they take one with them and leave me the other, ewhich means we can be in constant contact, we even have our own call signs. The one they gave me is pink balloon.
- They have to wear their helmets when on their bikes and also preferably when on their scooters too, which is why we bought them cool skate helmets that they don’t mind wearing.
- We have set boundaries on the estate, no going to the bus stop or the woods unless accompanied by an adult.
- They take drinks out with them and come home when they need a drink.
- We have discussed who safe strangers are. They know they are not to speak to adults that they do not know.
- I text one of the mums if her boys are playing in my garden and she does the same for me.
- I have drilled in to them about road safety and I keep on telling them about it. A local child died a couple of weeks ago whilst crossing a road on his scooter. I made sure that I discussed this with the boys, not to frighten them per say, but to try and make them aware that their actions have consequences and ensure they understand the importance of wearing helmets and crossing the road safely.
I think it also helps that a lot of the mums feel the same way as me and a number of both Mini and Maxi’s class mates are given the same freedoms and it is great to hear them come home and tell tales of catching crickets on the field and playing cricket on the green.
What do you do about allowing your children to play outside?
This blog post is sponsored by Giraffe Childcare.