An article about to be published in the the Journal of Pediatrics is titled, “Decline in Independent Activity as a Cause of Decline in Children’s Mental Wellbeing: Summary of the Evidence.” If that sounds like what we’ve been saying here forever — it is. But AT LAST is it being said in a PRESTIGIOUS JOURNAL read by […]
FLACO THE FIRST FREE-RANGE KIDS MASCOT: Escaped Owl Flies in the Face of Overprotection
Just one month ago, Flaco the owl was sprung from New York’s Central Park Zoo. Until then the Eurasian Eagle Owl had lived a very safe, sleepy life in, basically, a cozy 1BR apt w/ park vu. He had a tree to perch in, some rocks to, I don’t know, scratch? Bang his bored head […]
NJ Dad Arrested After Letting His Child Walk Outside — And a Happy Ending!
This fall, just as Keith Kaplan was finishing up his first term as a Teaneck, NJ, Town Councilman, he proposed a Reasonable Childhood Independence bill. It states that when parents allow kids to perform age-old independent activities, like walking or playing outside, they are not guilty of “neglect” unless the kids are in obvious, serious […]
Library Sign: “Police May Be Called if a Child Under 15 Is Not Accompanied by an Adult”
A reader in Corpus Christi sent us this sign from her local library. It’s kind of hard to read, thanks to the glare (and I’m glaring myself!). But after warning that no children can be there during school hours — I guess homeschoolers should avoid the place? — it says that at all OTHER times: […]
Overprotected Kids Die Younger?
A very long study of about 1000 adults born in the ’50s and ’60s looked at how they were raised, and whether that upbringing had an impact on their longevity. The researchers found that folks who’d grown up overprotected were more likely to die before age 80 than, I guess, Free-Range Kids (now Free-Range Geezers). […]
OFF MESSAGE: My Spongy Valentine
Readers: What moves me other than trying to give some trust back to a country consumed by catastrophizing, especially when it comes to our kids? Light verse. Yes, had I not become “America’s Worst Mom,” my other pursuit may have won out. After all, I got my job at The New York Daily News by […]
Who Decides When Kids are Old Enough to Walk to Dunkin’ Donuts?
A mom in Killingly, Conn., wrote to us a few months ago to tell us the story of Super Bowl Sunday, 2019: The day she and her husband let their kids, 7 and 9, walk to the local Dunkin Donuts about a mile from the house. The kids hadn’t gotten more than two or three […]
A Full-Throttled Defense of Sleepovers!
Erika Christakis, early childhood expert and author of The Importance of Being Little, NAILS IT in her Atlantic essay on sleepovers. Noting that sleepovers have gone from age-old activity to yet another thing to fret about when it comes to kids, she says she’s sympathetic to the no-sleepover arguments. (Some of which have gone viral.) […]
50 Things Even Digital Kids Might Love to Do Outside
Yes — we’ve got for you a simple, straightforward, LONG LIST of activities that don’t require a screen and can actually captivate normally pixilated kids. It’s over at Let Grow, where, frankly, we reprinted it from a website for teachers. Click here for the ideas and funny commentary by author Terry Heick, even as you’re […]
Thank You, Mom, For Letting Us Play, Roam — and Fight
At Let Grow, the nonprofit that grew out of Free-Range Kids and is working to make childhood independence easy, normal and legal, we got a beautiful letter from three siblings whose mom recently passed. Here it is: Dear Let Grow, When my mom passed away last month, my brother, sister, and I spent a lot […]