Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Free Range Kids
One of my favorite blogs of late is Free Range Kids. It's basically a site dedicated to the freeing of our children and allowing them to be kids rather than being guarded 24/7. I love reading the positive storied of parents whose children are independent and responsible. I am a big fan of my kids being "free range". I think it's very important that they learn how to navigate the world without constant adult direction. We live in a town that could be seen as half and half. Half free range parent, half hover parents. You can see it on the average trip to the playground. There are the parents that sit and talk to one another while their kids play with other kids and there are the parents who are two feet behind their 4 year old on the way to the slide. Some people may be thinking "I'd rather look silly on the slide than have anything happen to my kid." And I can respect that, but that's not my philosophy in life. Kids (just like adults) learn from mistakes. They have to be allowed to do some things wrong, go the wrong way and sometimes, god forbid, hurt themselves (gasp)! Kids fall, my kids fall, your kids fall, all kids fall, but from that fall they learn that if you run too fast before you make the leap you'll be moving too fast when you hit the ground! Slow down next time. A valuable lesson. For example, when it's warm, I go walk in a park near our house. The kids ride their bikes. Bijou (who was three at the time) loves riding her bike down the hills. Yes, I could jog along next to her in case she tips, or find a new route with less hills, but she LOVES the hills. This particular day she was riding down one of the longer hills, squealing in excitement the entire time, and something in her mind said "hey if I wobble the handle bars as I go it'll be EXTRA fun!" I saw the fall coming from the top of the hill. Needless to say, she fell and scraped her elbow pretty good. I don't even think she cried. We washed the blood off at the water fountain and she rode her bike the rest of the way around the park and we went home. The next time we went to the park she rode down the same hills and squealed with the same delight, but she hasn't wobbled the handle bars since! Lesson learned.