New Netflix Show Begs The Question – Would You Let Your Kids Under 10 Run Errands?


My oldest kid is 12 and he has never run an errand for me. To be fair, we live in a small, rural town where the closest store is five miles away.

But even if we lived close enough to a store for him to ride his bike or walk along a road, I’m not so sure I’d feel ok about him being alone out in public.



Am I being overprotective? Maybe. 

That fear of your child being out there without an adult is the dramatic axel that drives the curiosity around a new Netflix show called Old Enough! 

It is billed as the “most wholesome show that you’ve ever seen,” as it follows kids as young as two (YES, LITERALLY TWO) who are tasked with walking through a busy city, a mile or more, to pick up items at a store for mom and dad.

The show has been airing in Japan for decades but is just now making its way to an American audience where parenting styles are vastly different.

I cannot ever see myself being the kind of parent who could let a toddler cross a busy street to buy flowers and curry.

But that is exactly what happens in the trailer, which you can watch here:

We started to wonder who would allow their kids, under the age of ten years old, to run an errand for them? So we asked. 

Here are a few of the many responses we received over Instagram and via our messages.
Please note that all comments were edited for spelling and grammar.

Some parents said that they *might* but it would depend on circumstances. 

@momcavetv wrote, “I definitely would depending on the situation. It’s a good way to give them a little independence and teach responsibility.”

Screen shot of an Instagram comment.

@tavarezamy wrote, “It would depend on what it was and where he had to go. If it’s the current city I’m in, I don’t even feel safe running errands. Small town, yes.”

Screenshot of an Instagram comment.

And @mandalabunny wrote, “I’d let them go in the store alone while I sat outside in the car but not walk somewhere alone. It’s too busy where I live, maybe if I lived in a different area? It’s hard to say because my kid is 2 so she isn’t going anywhere alone right now, lol.”

Screenshot of an Instagram comment.

For some parents, being under the age of 10 was a non-negotiable.

But, once a little bit older or even walking with friends seemed to change their mind.

I would place myself in this camp, if my tween had friends to walk or bike with, and they had phones on them so I could keep in touch, then I too would be cool with him running an errand. 

@mi_isla_bonita commented, “Not 10, but 11 I would. My oldest was in middle school in NYC so by that age, he had a cell phone and was walking 5 blocks home from school by himself. I’m generally a very protective parent but in the neighborhood we live in, he knows which stores he can go into if he needed help. For example, the baristas at Starbucks would notice him if he walked by and report to me later, friends’ parents would spot him, etc.”
Screenshot of an Instagram comment.
@rustyoldknife commented, “My 10yo, yes, if I could see him on the route, and he kept the phone with GPS location enabled on him, and it wasn’t far, and the errand didn’t involve complex math. My 8yo with severe ADHD and the idea that even the sketchiest of people is just a new friend that will play cars and trains with him if he just asks, that’s a hard no.”
Screenshot of an Instagram comment.
And @jmaug66 explained, “I would let her go with one or two friends into a store alone- but not alone on an errand. I wouldn’t let my girls at that age walk to the park two blocks away at that age either. My kids were more independent at age 12 though.”
Screenshot of an Instagram comment.
Still, for other parents, the answer was hard and fast no. 
@dear_pony_bolony wrote, “Absofuckenlutely not. I’m an adult and even I have lost that sense of safety.”
Screenshot of an Instagram post.
@neetspho wrote, “Not in today’s world. Kids are getting snatched WITH a parent present.” 
Screenshot of an Instagram comment.
And @meginland commented, “Nope. Kidnapping rates are declining and I’m sure it is because parents are more protective of their children than ever before.”

We weren’t the only ones curious about what parents would think about sending young kids off to run an errand.

NPR recently polled their audience as well, and the responses that they shared here appear to fall on the same spectrum as what we found with our audience; that it largely depends on who the parents are. 
However, there were a couple of salient points that we thought were worth mentioning.
For starters, not all families live in safe areas. As one mother told NPR, her son has brown skin and they live in “the ‘hood.” She has safety concerns that go beyond being spooked by the idea of kidnapping.
Not all families get to decide if they will be brave enough to teach their kids something beneficial like running an errand because not all families live the same level of privilege. 
Another parent wrote to NPR to point out that sending kids to run errands isn’t even legal in some areas. Her own neighbor called CPS on her because she let her daughter walk down the sidewalk of their “safe” neighborhood. 
Whether or not you like the idea of sending your child to the store to run an errand, it is wise to make sure you understand the local laws first.
Free-Range Kids has done a great job at collecting laws from all 50 states, so you can quickly look up your own state. 
If you’re curious to watch more of Old Enough! Check out the Netflix show here. 


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