Family Magazine

Raising Free Range Kids

By Saltykisses @svprili
free range kids
I came across this article the other day from Outside Magazine, and they had us pegged to a tee. We have ourselves some free range kids. Some people frown on us for the way we raise our kids but it is nice to know that there are other parents out there that have the same parenting “techniques”.
You probably won’t find us at the park with the swings, slides and monkey bars. We prefer beaches, hiking trails and jagged rocks. I’m not too sure who thought up the idea to create parks for kids to play in, it does nothing for their imaginations it just annoys the crap out of the parents. The last thing I want to do is to push my kids on a swing for an hour trying to wear them out. All I do is wear myself out. Kids don’t need to be caged up with overly safe playground equipment, surrounded by recycled tire bark and warning signs - “this equipment is for children 5 years and older”. Lets launch our kids into situations that stimulate their minds and muscles. Let them wear a scraped knee with pride and not smother them with Neosporin and bandaids.
I grew up on acreage in the bush where we climbed trees, went on bush walks and tried to start fires with a magnifying glass – come on who didn’t. Kids will never learn courage and confidence in them selves if they're forever under mothers wing.
Don’t get me wrong we do live on a boat so there’s no hope in them walking to school by themselves or riding their bikes to the neighbors house. We do things a little differently. The girls are expected to get in and out of the dinghy, even in questionable conditions, by themselves, swim alone at the beach (with a noodle and always in sight), they climb rocky cliffs and are forced to make there way back down by themselves and we’re ok with them venturing off into the woods to chase crabs. If I stop them from throwing sand in each others faces then how will they ever know the pain of sand in the eyes? We as parents are here to make sure they don’t cause major bodily harm to themselves or others, our job isn’t to completely shield them from the outside world.
Raising free range kids takes some of the stress of parenting away, I can’t teach them everything. I’ve got to trust them to learn some of life’s lessons on their own. It would be poor parenting on my part if I was to thrust them out into the world with no survival skills of their own.We met a great family the other day off the boat SV Paisley, the father has the gift of the gab and explained to us why they were sailing with their kids. I’m sure this is butchering what he said. >>>> He explained that even though his kids were still young (4,7,9) and may have a tough time remembering living on the boat he hopes to instill the idea of how  easy it is to get out there and live your dream. He hopes that one day if someone says (ie) - “wouldn’t it be great to follow elephants in Africa” or “work on a vineyard in France?” that his children will without a second thought say “ok” and jump on a plane and go.The world is too small and life is too short to sit around wondering of what could have been. Lets build courage in our kids, lets teach them if they want something bad enough there is a way achieve the impossible.So if you see my kids running down a dock somewhere please don’t give me the stink eye, if they fall in the water then they fall in the water, it’s not boiling hot lava and I will (eventually) get them out. This is how kids learn.If you’d like to learn more about free range kids please visit Lenore Skenazy’s blog Free Range Kids.

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