Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Kids at the playground unsupervised - yes or no?
Posted by: Brigitte RozarioBy SHAMALA VELU
Children love playing outdoors and it is one good way for them to release energy. As most kids like to take risks when they play, there is bound to be some minor bruises and falls.
However, what most parents really worry about is strangers lurking around the playground. Many kids these days venture out on their own, riding bicycles around their housing area and making new friends at the playground. Though some parents may give them the nod, there are those who are more cautious.
Do parents always need to follow and supervise their children at the nearby playground? Two parents share their opinion:
Avie Hainee Abas
Avie Hainee Abas, (accounts and administration executive) is mother to Dania Qarmila Ezzati, 9, and two boys, Harish Hazziq Iman, 6, and Hazzim Razziq Iman, 3:
"I don't allow my children to go to the playground on their own. I will always follow them when they go fortnightly.
Although we think that our neighbourhood is safe, nowadays it is really unpredictable. It may just be the opposite. To be independent doesn't meant we can allow and encourage our children to go to the playground on their own.
I worry about strangers and unfamiliar faces at the playground. In my opinion, children above 12 years of age should be able to play around their neighbourhood on their own as they can understand better and are more aware of their surroundings. I think nowadays children of 12 or 13 are more independent and want to go out on their own.
There are a few parents who do allow their young kids to roam freely in the housing area without proper supervision. However, I believe it is the parents' responsibility to ensure their children's safety. My daughter who is nine is able to cross the road, but my two young boys cannot do that on their own yet."
Noridayu Adzhar, (insurance agent) mother to boys Harith Sulaiman, 6, and Aaron Mikail, 9, months:
"My son Harith doesn't go to the playground unless his friends are there. However, he seldom goes to the playground. If none of his friends are playing there, he has to come home. I sometimes walk or drive there (although it is very near) to check on him. If everything is fine, I go back home and let him play. We live in a neighbourhood that is safe and so far, there have been no problems. I grew up in the neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail where most people are elderly.
My son is becoming more friendly and is more responsible now compared to some children who just stay indoors. I think it's important for children to have their own space. However, as parents we must ensure their safety as well. It does not mean that we have to supervise them while they are playing. Monitoring them is the keyword.
Harith is able to cross the road himself after giving him some training so we are confident when he goes out to play. In my opinion, children should be able to play outdoors on their own at age six or seven. I always tell him to talk nicely to friends and parents but to be careful with strangers or unfamiliar faces. I remind him to avoid fights and to take care of his personal belongings such as bicycle, toys, etc.
I always keep tabs on who his friends are and ask him about new ones - their names and so on.
Sometimes, I go to the playground to meet up with his new friends. However, I tell him to watch out for teenagers who are a bad influence.
I always monitor my son's whereabouts. Sometimes, children feel uncomfortable if we are around them while they are playing. As parents, we still need to monitor them. I don't want him to think I'm spying, so I watch him from a distance."