I’ve talked about free range parenting before and mentioned the leader of the movement, Lenore Skenazy. I stop in at her blog from time to time. Today I saw that last Saturday she had organized the third annual “Take Our Children to the Park and Leave Them There” day. The event is exactly what it says it is. Get the kids ready, take them to the park, and wave good-bye.
At first glance, I was like- pretty cool. Completely understand the idea and am completely in favor of kids being independent and being able to play without adults hovering nearby at all times. But then, I saw that the age at which Skenazy thought it was appropriate for kids to participate.
7 years old and up.
Wait. Isn’t a seven year old in first grade? Take a first grader to the park and leave them there? I’m not so sure about this one. It’s not that I don’t think a first grader is capable of playing in the park by themselves or even getting to the park by themselves, but are they old enough to be completely unsupervised?
We live two blocks from a park and Gus could easily find his way there and his way back. And he’s pretty good at entertaining himself with his friends while he’s there, but he’s three so we wouldn’t have been able to participate. But just because he can do it doesn’t mean that he should do it. 3 is clearly too young. In my opinion:)
The other part about the event that caused me to raise my eyebrows was that parents were encouraged to use social media to make arrangements with fellow parents. This doesn’t seem like the brightest idea to announce online a gathering where there are going to be lots of kids hanging out without any parents around. I mean, I’m just saying…
I’m super curious. I know I have readers who follow Free Range. Did anyone participate in this event? If you did, what was your experience?
And for those of you who have a 7 year old or a kid who was 7 at one time, would you let your 7 your old be left alone at the park?