This article makes a lot of sense to me.

http://gma.yahoo.com/nyc-mom-charging-parents-350-let-kids-play-183149182–abc-news-topstories.html

Of course I wouldn’t recommend paying someone $350 to not watch your kids because you can do it for free.  Your very first and longest lasting task as a parent is to keep your children safe.  It makes sense that you will try to everything in your power to keep them that way.  However, is there a time you should grit your teeth and take a step back?  I am not a crazy outdoorsy person by any stretch of the imagination but as a child, I ran around outside.  The next door neighbor kids had a kick ball game some days, we would play “war” with these crabapple things, we would go try to catch crawdads in the creek and sneak away to ride our bikes to the grocery store.  (No idea on why we’d go to the grocery store – maybe because it was illicit behavior.  Also, I don’t believe we ever caught a crawdad.  I’m not actually sure what a crawdad is or if it is even real but would probably not want to touch one if I saw one.  My mom always told me I could catch one with a hot dog.  That seems weird to me but who knows.)

What freedom do you give your kids?  What ways can you feel confident that they are safe yet let them enjoy the magic of doing nothing outside or hanging with friends?  Unfortunately, there is no way any parent can plan for every eventuality.  I’m not saying send them out at the beginning of the day and tell them to check back in 8 hours.  Be a responsible parent but allowing them some time to just be can be huge part of their development.  Kids learn how to entertain themselves.  It may enhance their creativity.  Kids learn how to build friendships and navigate the muddy waters of relationships.  Kids build resilience because they learn to handle challenges without their parents always being  there.  By letting your kids have some time to go and play, you will be ensuring they have some very useful skills as they get older.  Have faith in your parenting – you are doing a great job – and your kids will reflect that as you allow them room to grow.

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