free range kids

On “Free-Range Kids”


I’ve decided I really like this “free-range kids” concept. I discovered it recently and it really speaks to me, especially as it relates to my current favorite book (“It’s OK Not to Share”) and her philosophy of: unless it’s hurting people (or animals of any kind) or property, it’s OK. 

This is basically the rule I live by with my parenting now and working to have “free-range kids” works with it so well.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’ll be several years still before I’d let Henry walk down to the grocery store alone (keeping in mind, the shopping center is accessible from our house without leaving the neighborhood, and only takes about 4 minutes to walk to). But I already love proudly claiming that I am NOT a “helicopter” parent

In fact, I can see the eyes of others around me frequently wondering (sometimes judging) why I allow my child to wander so far away from me. In the grocery store, he frequently likes to sprint down an aisle and, assuming he’s not getting in someone’s way, I don’t worry about stopping him. It wears him out and he has such fun. Why do I need to force him to sit in the cart and be still when he can enjoy himself? Again, who is he harming? I also know that he’s well-disciplined and that, if asked to stop or come back, he will obey (even if not always happily). I certainly couldn’t be comfortable with his little runs if I didn’t know that I had the ability to stop him with my voice. 

kids-playing-outsideSometimes, on these little sprints, he passes a few other people along the way and one or more patrons will turn, looking for a parent. I’m never so far out of sight that they don’t see me quickly, but there has been a time or two when a question is obviously poised on someone’s lips to say to Henry, “where is your mom?” I find it amusing. 

The mall. The park. Really, anywhere. Would I allow him free rein to run through a parking lot? Absolutely not. His ability to judge the proper time to cross the street and watch for cars isn’t there yet… but it will be one day. 

I let my child play in the backyard alone. (gasp!) I peek out to check on him through the door or window every few minutes. Usually, I’m busying myself in the kitchen so I have an easy view of the backyard. And our yard is fenced and gated and he isn’t big enough (yet) to unlatch the gates so I know he’s not going anywhere (I doubt he’d want to wander off anyway…) 

 Now, before anyone goes all crazy on me talking about how unsafe the world is and claiming that my child is going to be kidnapped if I leave him in the backyard alone longer than 3.7 seconds, please read this great article from the “Free Range Kids” blog.




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Hi, I'm Lauren. Mommy to two, nanny to two, wife, teacher, homemaker, Catholic, artist, writer, friend, sister, daughter. Here you'll find everything from updates about our family, info and advice about parenting and homemaking, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing. Welcome!