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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