Thursday, February 9, 2012

To Freerange Or Not…

Photo Credit: Karin Calvert

by Nichole

I have just recently subscribed to receive two emails from websites dedicated to childhood. With common threads, the sites discuss a range of childhood issues, and highlight some of the restrictions that parents and society now place on children.

What I remember as a child, walking to school, playing in the street, riding my bike until dark, playing on the monkey bars, investigating the natural environment including creeks and tadpole puddles, and taking risks, is for many children something they have never, and may never experience.

Bubble wrapping kids and sanitizing their childhood experiences is like an epidemic. Fear of what might happen is pushing many parents to restrict their children’s experiences to those they feel they can control, and to inside, sedentary activities.

Without allowing our children a degree of risk taking, natural consequences, problem solving, success and failure, navigating life and learning from their experiences, what skills and messages are we arming our children with to meet the wide world as they grow? How do our children incrementally learn to navigate their way, if we don’t incrementally allow them freedom to try, make mistakes, and learn?

As I write this on the day before school goes back, I wonder, why is the park empty at 3pm, and where are the kids? The answer may well be in front of a large screen TV with an electronic device.

So if you lean more towards being a free range parent, the websites below might speak to you too, or if not they may challenge your way of thinking. And if you have an opinion on the subject, let us know too. How do you feel about your town and how child friendly you would like your community to be?

Free range kids

rethinking childhood

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