You can want your kids to have a Free-Range childhood and then come face to face with the fact that, often, this is simply not “done” in your neighborhood. Most of the other kids are inside on devices or outside, in uniforms. You may worry that someone seeing your kids out and about could summon the cops.
What to do?
Read this. It’s a short, easy list of ideas from a dad of three for getting kids excited about going outside AND getting the neighborhood relaxed about seeing them there. Lots of good, real-world advice from a dad who has successfully transitioned his kids from couch to sidewalk. For instance:
Shadowing practice runs: When we started the kids running errands on their own, I covered the shopping on one side of the street while they did the other. We agreed to meet at our bus stop. I then went to the store they went to after I was done. The workers told me they’d seen the kids. I told them thank you, and I knew, and to expect to see them without me more in the future. Now, it’s no big deal. Now that we’re working on sending them all by themselves, I go along about three blocks behind to serve the same purpose: Talking to folks that want to be reassured that everything’s cool.
If you need more inspiration, watch “Old Enough!” on Netflix. Seeing a 2-year-old go to the grocery, solo, for noodles, curry and flowers is a bracing reminder of how much our culture on this side of the world has hoodwinked us into underestimating our kids’ readiness for the world.