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Old 04-19-2013, 10:05 AM   #1
KsquaredMomma
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How much freedom to grant 10.5yo on ship

My family and I will be on the Magic for 8 days next month and we are ecstatic. This is our first Disney Cruise and our first cruise with our kids. My husband and I have been on 2 cruises thus far and we've always seen groups of kids kind of doing their own thing on the ships. I have a 10.5 year old son and I'm a little bit of a helicopter parent (admitting it is half the battle right? lol) I don't want to make his time miserable and just want to be prepared for the "mom can I go ____ with so and so". How much freedom do you guys give to your pre tween/tween kiddos on board and how do you keep track of them? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:17 AM   #2
scrapbookmomma74
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Have you met any of your fellow cruisers on the DIS? Are you planning for a meet up? That has helped our past few cruises tremendously, as my kids have been able to meet a friend or 2 before we even left our house.
Now, if that hasn't happened, here is my advice:

My dds are 9 & 12. We allowed our 9 year old on our last cruise to have check in and out priviledges, but she had some rules:
1. She was to carry a wave phone at all times, she had a little cross body bag to put her KTTW and wave phone in.
2. If she left the club, she had to go to the room and/or check in with us. We left notes for each other on white boards.
3. She was not to be "wandering" the ship alone, she could hang with a friend.
4. No going into anyone else's room, or letting anyone into our room.
5. If she went somewhere, and we checked, and she wasn't there, then she would lose some of her "freedom".
6. We would attend all dinners as a family.

Our 12 year old had basically the same rules, but obviously Edge does not require the kids to check in and out.

We found that although the girls had plenty of freedom, we often spent time together. My girls also spent a lot of time together, swimming or on the Aquaduck.

The Magic is a smaller ship, and it is easy to learn your way around. Have a great cruise!
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
jetskigrl

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KsquaredMomma View Post
My family and I will be on the Magic for 8 days next month and we are ecstatic. This is our first Disney Cruise and our first cruise with our kids. My husband and I have been on 2 cruises thus far and we've always seen groups of kids kind of doing their own thing on the ships. I have a 10.5 year old son and I'm a little bit of a helicopter parent (admitting it is half the battle right? lol) I don't want to make his time miserable and just want to be prepared for the "mom can I go ____ with so and so". How much freedom do you guys give to your pre tween/tween kiddos on board and how do you keep track of them? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
It is hard to say because it depends on the child. Some are ready for it earlier than others. My DD was in no way ready for that at 10, but my DS may be.

We went on our first cruise when DS was 7 and he was with an adult the whole time.

On our MR cruise last year, he was 8 and was asking to be able to go places on his own. I was not comfortable doing that and going off to do other things but we had some free time so I made a game of it. I would pick a location (example, movie theater) and give him a 2 minute head start then I would go there and meet him. We had a set meeting spot if he got lost and he also knew who to ask for directions, if needed. He did great navigating the ship. I followed closer than he knew (sneaky mom) to make sure he was not running, etc. It gave him a little freedom and also proved to me that he was fine navigating the ship on his own.

This year he will be turning 10 on the cruise. I will give him a little more freedom this time if he is with other kids (either his older sister and her BFF, or the friends that we met on a previous cruise that we are cruising with again). But I'm still not sure I am ready to give him complete freedom yet, meaning I'm not sure about giving him the ability to sign out of the kids club on his own.
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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It honestly depends on the child. How many times have they been on the ship? How responsible are they at home? Are you traveling with others who they would be with?

If you wouldn't trust your child to stay home for a short time while you run to the store at home, then I would tend to say you wouldn't leave them to wander around the ship on their own. IMO the wave phones are a great way to keep in touch with them now. Even though both of our kids can go on their own to the club or hang out with friends now, we still require them to let us know where they will be and if their plans change. DD12 texted me to get permission to go to a movie or to the show matinee. There were times I told her to come to where we were to check in with us in person. DS was 10 the first time he was able to be on his own onboard. Wish we had the wave phones back then!!!
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:36 AM   #5
iivye
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My DD was 9 when we went on our cruise. She was with us or in the club (no check in/out privelages) for the first few days. Our assigned tablemates had a 9 yo and while we were at the pool the two hung out together and would ride the Aquaduck. We were always present when they were swimming. In the evenings (after DD was familiar with the ship) DD was allowed to hang out with the other 9 yo by themselves but no swimming, no entering into anyone's room, always had wave phone and set time to be back to the room. DD was not allowed to be anywhere by herself and the two of them even picked up another 9 yo friend they would run around with. Ours was a gradual freedom once we knew she could find her way around the ship and got to know our tablemates. I would definately recommend a little freedom even if I was a little bummed DD wanted to spend time with her new friends instead of learning how to make towel animals with me!
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:43 AM   #6
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My daughter is only 4, but I can't see letting her roam on her own unless we were travelling with friends or family that had a child around the same age. Meeting folks at dinner is nice and even on a message board meet up, but not sure I would let my child roam with someone we really don't know at 10. Sure, it depends on the maturity of the child, but it also depends on the other several thousand folks on the ship too. I wouldn't be comfortable with it.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:05 AM   #7
teerama
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We will be sailing with Disney for the second time this June. My DD will be 10.5 and my DS will be 8.5. When we were on the Dream 2 years ago, I would not dream (no pun intended) of letting them go off by themselves.

A lot of maturing happens at that age and my plan is to let DD have in/out privileges this time around. Not my DS so much

I had planned on all the same rules that ScrapbookMomma74 wrote down. No deviation and she'll keep her privileges.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
lbgraves
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After reading the posts from those who have DDs, I have to add that while it may be sexist, we let DS go on his own onboard earlier than DD -- and she never really has gone around the ship by herself. He is taller than I am at this point, and has always looked older than he was. I just don't like the idea of a young girl who is still wearing size 12 kid clothes even though she is 12 1/2 walking around on her own. Last month DD was told that she could walk her other friends to their room and then text DS or myself to come pick her up at the last room and we walked her back to our room. He is also more mature than she is and is a senior belt in TKD.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #9
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If you can allow your child to roam the local mall alone, then he should be fine. Some kids are very street wise and some are not.

The ship is like a small city. There can be good and bad aboard. Nobody checks criminal records and/or pedophilia of the passengers, so the "freedom" allowed is not always the child's behavior but how well they could deal with being approached by an untrustworthy adult, too.

I had very strict rules, but no regrets either.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
Mekamax
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As someone without kids one thing I really liked about our Disney cruise was the other passengers seemed to genuinely care about their kids and had them with them. I did not see groups of kids roaming the halls like on CCL and RCL. I really liked this about Disney and hope it does not change.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:04 PM   #11
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My third child will be 11 when we take our Disney cruise this October and I will not allow him to have the freedom rule.

I don't want him wondering around the ship when I drop him off The Edge. Just too young.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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First of all, welcome to Disney Cruising! It's so much fun and the Magic is a beautiful ship!

When we first sailed, our boys were 8 and 9, and we escorted them most places at the beginning of the week, but by the end of the week, they were allowed to go from the cabin to Deck 9 for drinks and food as long as they told us they were going (and bring us back something - LOL). By age 10 and 11, we let them have in and out privileges at the Lab but our rule was that they had to have the CM page us when they left (back before wave phones). Even now as teens, we require them to be in touch by wave phone, particularly if their plans change - usually they tell us they are going to the Vibe or the movie or the show or to get something to eat. They like the youth activities so much that they were generally in those areas if they weren't in the cabin or going to family trivia or other family events.

Anyway, since this is your first time sailing on Disney and your child's first time cruising, I would take a "wait and see" approach for your child to see how comfortable he is in finding his way around.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:39 PM   #13
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We were on the Dream in February for our first ever cruise. After the first day when DD#2 (10, 11 in May) was familiar with the ship, we let her go off on her own a bit. She wanted to do the mystery detective game, so we let her. She was required to carry the wave phone and check in with us every half hour. She absolutely loved having some freedom and she followed our rules so she wouldn't lose it.
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