The title of Lenore Skenazy's book, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Kids (Without Going Nuts with Worry) peaked my interest because we have free-range chickens - and because I worry that children do not play outside enough today. Skenazy's book is about how children can thrive, and survive, if we give them more freedom - the freedoms we enjoyed as children..
Skenazy is a journalist who wrote a column in the New York Sun about allowing her 9-year-old son to take a subway ride home alone in New York City in 2008. Television shows were asking her to be their guest and she innocently went to be interviewed and was deemed as "America's Worst Mom." But she and her husband had made a very well thought-out decision, due to her son's persistence and capabilities, that he should be allowed to ride the subway alone. Skenazy's defends her decision in this well-documented book. It is full of statistics, but also humor. I laughed out loud many times at my own helicopter parenting.
When I asked Lenore what parents are told to be fearful of today, her answer was: "creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers, Ivy League rejection letters and/or the perils of a non-organic grape."
Skenazy reminds us of the media, lawyers and "child safety" enthusiasts who bombard us with "the worse-case scenario...And the result is a lot of people so busy preparing for the hideous and unpredictable future that they think nothing of trampling the safe and happy present."
|Can you give your chicks a little more freedom?|
"Forty years ago, the majority of U.S. children walked or biked to school. Today, about 10 percent do. Meantime, 70 percent of today's moms say they played outside as kids. But only 31 percent of their kids do." Lenore's answer is that there are risks if you give your child more freedom, but there are risks if you don't. If you let your child play outside, there is a very small risk that he will be abducted or hit by a meteor. But if you bring him inside all the time, there is a large risk that he will stare at flat screens for long periods which can cause obesity and an undeveloped mind. Your child won't have the opportunities to reach their full potential in the following areas:
- social skills for coping, negotiating, communicating
- problem-solving skills
- exploration and discovery
- sense of community
- and to just have fun being a kid
You can visit and comment on Lenore's interesting and entertaining blog Free Range Kids. If you click on her book below you can view Lenore's wonderful book trailer and have a glimpse into her book.
You might enjoy my post Back to the Basics: Play Outside or my books Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents and currently no. 2 in Motherhood on Amazon: The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn, co-written with Mommy with Selective Memory and full of playful ideas.