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Old 02-23-2013, 10:38 PM   #1
dastewa
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Age of independence on board?

At what age would you let your kids roam the ship on their own? I have read several post where families reunited for meals after letting the kids be on their own. Is this the norm? I would tend to keep the kids with us, but if there is a lot of independent kids, I know I'll get pressure from mine to do the same.

Last edited by dastewa; 02-23-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:43 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dastewa View Post
At what age would you let your kids roam the ship on their own? I have read several post where families reunited for meals after letting the kids be on their own. Is this the norm? I would tend to keep the kids with us, but if there is a lot of independent kids, I know ll get pressure from mine to do the same.
You know your kids best. I think this is a decision that is best handled by you.

Yes, there are many parents who give up their parenting skills onboard (hey, it's my vacation!), but, IMO, that isn't the right way to handle it.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:47 PM   #3
caribbeandreaming
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This is a great question and I'm wondering the same thing. My DS is 8, and I don't know whether to let him check himself out of Oceaneers... He's very responsible but panics easily.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:56 PM   #4
lbgraves
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I agree that it depends on your child, but disagree that parents who allow their kids freedom onboard "give up their parenting skills onboard".

Our personal experience is that DS was 8 on our 4th cruise on the Magic. He knew his way around the ship. We led him around then told him to take us to certain places. He was responsible at home and listens. He knew the rules. We were on the ship for 15 days that cruise and knew one DIS friend from another cruise, and made two new friends that cruise. DD didn't get the opportunity to have as much freedom until she was almost 11 and we were cruising with three of her friends from a prior cruise. The girls stuck together and the wave phones have made this much easier to keep track of the kids. She may not realize it, but I have checked on where she said she was. When we don't cruise with friends, the kids are to stay together.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lbgraves View Post
I agree that it depends on your child, but disagree that parents who allow their kids freedom onboard "give up their parenting skills onboard".

Our personal experience is that DS was 8 on our 4th cruise on the Magic. He knew his way around the ship. We led him around then told him to take us to certain places. He was responsible at home and listens. He knew the rules. We were on the ship for 15 days that cruise and knew one DIS friend from another cruise, and made two new friends that cruise. DD didn't get the opportunity to have as much freedom until she was almost 11 and we were cruising with three of her friends from a prior cruise. The girls stuck together and the wave phones have made this much easier to keep track of the kids. She may not realize it, but I have checked on where she said she was. When we don't cruise with friends, the kids are to stay together.
Sorry, I didn't mean that all the parents who allow their kids free run on the ship give up their parenting skills, I was only referring to those who allow their kids free run without any rules.

There certainly are kids that can handle themselves well without having parents always at their sides. But there are also kids who need direction. It's really up to the parents to be realistic as to where their kids fall.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:03 PM   #6
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Our youngest was just shy of 14 on our first cruise so we've never done checking in/out of the clubs.

I will say, tho, that at the parks it was a step by step thing for us. We didn't show up on one of our trips and suddenly it was "go for it". It was steps over years. Hubby & I would allow the boys to shop in the same store as us but they couldn't leave. They had to stay together. Then we would sit out 2nd, 3rd, 4th rounds on E:E and let the boys do those alone. We'd allow them to go to the game room at our resort on their own & back to the room. Next we moved to a few hours off from us together in the same park. Then we left them in a park to hit a few more attractions while we headed back to the resort ahead of them. I think it was the trip when we went on our first cruise that we finally allowed them to go places alone at WDW as long as they kept their phones handy & let us know (via text) where they were & what they had planned. At 15 yrs old my oldest son made himself a solo dining reservation with the Yacht Club concierge & treated himself to the clam bake completely solo. Paid his own dinner bill and tipped his server all on his own. That was cool.

So now on the cruises we don't give our boys a curfew. They have to eat dinner with us and keep their Wave phones handy. No going in other staterooms. Nobody comes in our stateroom. Without our prying they will check in with us periodically or randomly join us for shows or other meals. Our youngest (now 15) is a night owl so its not unusual for him to stay out until 2 or later. One thing I do love about the cruises is how it allows our teens to fly solo.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:07 PM   #7
Jareds_mommy
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We are struggling this cruise with this too, Its not the my kids I am worried about, it is the fact that psycho and pedophils
go on cruises too
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:09 PM   #8
ciraulo887
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpee_1993
Our youngest was just shy of 14 on our first cruise so we've never done checking in/out of the clubs.

I will say, tho, that at the parks it was a step by step thing for us. We didn't show up on one of our trips and suddenly it was "go for it". It was steps over years. Hubby & I would allow the boys to shop in the same store as us but they couldn't leave. They had to stay together. Then we would sit out 2nd, 3rd, 4th rounds on E:E and let the boys do those alone. We'd allow them to go to the game room at our resort on their own & back to the room. Next we moved to a few hours off from us together in the same park. Then we left them in a park to hit a few more attractions while we headed back to the resort ahead of them. I think it was the trip when we went on our first cruise that we finally allowed them to go places alone at WDW as long as they kept their phones handy & let us know (via text) where they were & what they had planned. At 15 yrs old my oldest son made himself a solo dining reservation with the Yacht Club concierge & treated himself to the clam bake completely solo. Paid his own dinner bill and tipped his server all on his own. That was cool.

So now on the cruises we don't give our boys a curfew. They have to eat dinner with us and keep their Wave phones handy. No going in other staterooms. Nobody comes in our stateroom. Without our prying they will check in with us periodically or randomly join us for shows or other meals. Our youngest (now 15) is a night owl so its not unusual for him to stay out until 2 or later. One thing I do love about the cruises is how it allows our teens to fly solo.
My youngest is 7 I could not let her have run on the ship. She would get lost for sure. My 16 yo is a different story. The rules are 1. We all ave dinner together. 2. We go to every show together. 3. Not allowed to go in staterooms. Has to check in on the wave phone every hour. I do not give her a curfew.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jareds_mommy View Post
We are struggling this cruise with this too, Its not the my kids I am worried about, it is the fact that psycho and pedophils
go on cruises too
I hear ya on this! Which is very scary, IMHO.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:24 PM   #10
lbgraves
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Originally Posted by Jareds_mommy View Post
We are struggling this cruise with this too, Its not the my kids I am worried about, it is the fact that psycho and pedophils
go on cruises too
That is why the first rule is not to be by yourself if at all possible. DS is taller than me and is a senior belt in TKD, but it is DD who I am more worried about. We have talked to both of them about the psychos and pedophils so they are aware of our concerns, as well as so they know how not to make themselves targets. They know how to politely go the front of the line at GS if they are in trouble or feel someone is following them. Thankfully, DS is fairly protective of DD and when they are together on the ship now I know that he will be keeping an eye on her....not that they would want us to think that they actually like each other or get along IRL.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:38 PM   #11
flateacher
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We are struggling this cruise with this too, Its not the my kids I am worried about, it is the fact that psycho and pedophils
go on cruises too
^ This... is why my daughter who is 11 will not check herself in or out or be able to go about the ship herself. Even with a friend I believe children are targets without adults present. But this is our own families personal beliefs.

So just know if you do not allow it you are not the only one. And if I am the only one so be it. I am ok with that.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:39 PM   #12
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We have three boys that were 7, 9, and 11 on our first cruise. Initially, we did not give them permission to check in and out, but after they learned the ship, we did. HOWEVER, they had to always be together and always have the wave phone. We would not have let them go individually, maybe not even if there were just two of them. We never felt pressure from anyone else, it was just what we felt like they could handle and what we were comfortable with. They did spend most of the cruise hanging with us, though.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:01 AM   #13
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DD was 11 on our first cruise and will be 13 on this one. We would walk her to The Edge the stairs at the bottom of the club and text her (or she could text us) when it was time to go. I did allow her to go watch a movie alone, but I walked her into the theater so I would know where she was sitting. Then, about 30 minutes into the movie, I went and peeked to be sure she was where I had left her. I planned to meet her at the end of the movie, but I timed it wrong. She called me and told me that she had exited out a different door, but stayed in that area until I walked down to get her. I imagine we'll have similar rules on this cruise. She is very trusting and naive, and while I've tried to explain to her how nutty people can be, I don't know if she'd see the warning signs until it was too late.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:21 AM   #14
MikeAndNick
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Our first cruise was when my son was 8 and he could check himself out of the Kids club but the staff would page me when he did so I knew he as leaving. At age 10 was our second cruise and he had full run of the ship but there were only 20 kids on the ship so everyone knew where the kids were. After that and still at 16 he has run of the ship but I know what he is up to 80% of the time. With Disney having phones now that we carry I call or text him to make sure where he is and who he is with.

He has freedom but not unbridled freedom, same as at home.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:54 AM   #15
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I think that really is a question only you can answer and the answer might be different for each of your children at the same ages. I have a cautious child who follows the guidelines if they are explained ahead of time and the consequences are outlined. I have another child who sees a friend in every stranger and tends to get a bit distracted. Different rules for different needs. I am, however, a big fan of children learning independence because I eventually want mine to leave home and have a life of their own. We work toward that daily in different ways for different children. Good luck!
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