The tension between protecting - or over-protecting - our children (and our neighbours, I suppose!) on the one hand (which by-laws and child protection agencies encourage) and, on the other, providing them with a healthy lifestyle and some element of independence and responsibility for self (advocated by child psychologists) continues.
Some things to consider if your children do play on the street:
- are your children safe?
- how heavy is traffic? is it a through street? are there particular times when traffic is heavier (rush hour or garbage pick-up for example)
- are you supervising your children? how much supervision is adequate?
- do your children know what to do when a car comes?
- are there parked cars or anything else that can be damaged?
- do your children have a boundary safely away from the corner of the street?
- are your children polite to neighbours and pedestrians?
- do your children play nicely with other neighbourhood children?
- how loud are your children and how long are they playing outside (we all have our tolerance limits after all!)
- are they playing outside a house with very young children who may be sleeping?