Can we go around again?

For those of you with older children, or those who live in a smaller town or anyone who basically isn’t as overprotective as I am, this post might seem a little ridiculous.

But now that all three of my kids can ride their bikes beautifully with no training wheels, and now that within a week of all of them suddenly developing the desire and ability to ride long distances my stomach grew too large to get on a bike at all, I started to realize I needed a new game plan.

I don’t let my kids play in our front yard unless I am with them. But the almost-9-year-old is getting really responsible. And I figured out they could ride all the way around our extra long block without ever crossing the street.

We talked about it. And I gave them all the rules. “You HAVE to stay together. And you have to come RIGHT back. NO stopping.” But, believe it or not, they weren’t quite sure if they were ready for the freedom yet.

A friend of mine lives on the opposite side of the block from me. Her two kids were born within one week of my two oldest.

“Just to let you know… I’m thinking of letting the boys ride around the block by themselves,” I told her. “So if you see them. Don’t be alarmed.”

She seemed to gasp.


I wasn’t sure what she thought. But Friday evening her two kids showed up at my front door with a delivery for us.

We hadn’t tried the unsupervised ride around the block yet. They actually beat us to it. We asked the kids if all five of them would like to go around a few more times.

Capable Dad stood outside on our end watching them while the other kids’ dad stood outside on their end. I guess they were e-mailing each other from Blackberry to iPhone the progress report.

Then, the other dad e-mailed us this:

Now if only we could set up a video camera outside each house to broadcast the progress when the other family isn’t home.

So, I would love to hear what boundaries you have for your children. Are your kids old enough that you trust them to go to the park or ride their bikes around the neighborhood without a parent? At what age did you start?

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  1. This is the first year I let Hannah and Paige go around the block too. With explicit rules: NO STOPPING, and report to me before you go and immediately after. Isn't it sad that we feel we have to protect our kids like that?Michele

  2. To tell you the truth, them riding their bikes around the block alone never crossed my mind until you mentioned it! There's no turning back now I guess. In another 7 years, they will be weeks away from getting their drivers license! I read an article recently about how kids are statistically safer now than we were as kids. But that as a society, we've gone a little overboard on protecting them because we've heard so many worst-case scenarios. Got me thinking. Bottom line is, I was just too lazy to run the lettuce over myself and thought they might enjoy "going on a mission!" And Tim was home to be an extra set of eyes, so it worked out.Carrie

  3. Hey Emily… we live in a smaller city in a fairly quiet neighborhood so my oldest (8 tomorrow) has been able to ride around the block & over to a friends house for just about a year… when we first started he had to call us when he got there… just to humour mommy I said. Now if he's going somewhere with his friends & they end up somewhere else, he's to let us know. He can tell time too so he knows he has to check in at least every couple of hours… so far he's been pretty good about it. My youngest (5) can't quite do all that yet… it really bugs her too cuz she's never thought she was a little girl & why can't she do exactly what her brother can! It's a learning process for all of us letting those apron strings go… sometimes harder than others! In a week, she'll get to ride the bus to Kindergarten… it'll be a big step for her & for me!Laurel

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