Friday, July 3, 2009

How Late Should They Stay Out?

It's light until 9:00 or a little later, you live in a safe neighborhood. Your 9, 10, or 11 year old loves roaming freely and staying outside as late as possible. Is that okay?

Multiple concerns and skills come into play here. Here are some things to consider?
  1. Are the kids outside supervised or unsupervised. Being at a friend's house next door with parents home is a bit different then roaming the neighborhood.
  2. Is the age span of the children outside narrow? Beware of a 16 year old boy and a 12 or 13 year old girl. Three 11 year old girls giggling on the front porch is great.
  3. If its after dark, consider the rule being that an adult walks you home or calls to say you are on your way. Talk to your neighbors about a common policy.
  4. As always, L&L would suggest offering choices: "Do you want to come in now or in 15 minutes?" " Do you want to come in now and join the family for ice cream or come in later and head right to the shower before bed."
  5. Some families prefer together time for an hour at the end of the day... a time to wind down together. Do you want family time to be at 8:00 or 8:30?
  6. Some families say, "Be on our property after 8:30 and inside by 9:00 pm. OR, "Feel free to stay up a late as you want as long as you are inside and can get up at 6:30 am to help Mom get the little one's ready for daycare."
  7. If Friday night is a stay up late night for Mom and Dad, plan some fun outside activities in the yard with friends (Oh the thrill of flashlight tag!).
  8. What if they come in late? Be prepared to go "brain dead" if they argue. This cold also be the time for a "delayed consequence" or an "energy drain."

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