May is always crazy for us. With 3 birthdays (ok maybe 2.5 because we all know mom’s isn’t made a super big deal), baseball, and the general transition into spring (yard clean up, gear switching, etc)
It’s enough to make someone crazy. It’s even crazier because it’s such positive, fun stuff.
Some may say we’re just over scheduled, but it’s not that simple.
If we didn’t celebrate birthdays or let our kids do sports, what the heck would they do?!
From what I’ve seen (and maybe it’s my rural lifestyle coming out again) there doesn’t seem to be the casual sandlot style, pick-up style sports happening anymore.
And at least one of my kids is like a puppy dog—if you don’t run him ragged, he gonna tear up the house.
And then there’s the whole free-ranging thing that seemed to be a “normal” childhood decades ago and now is a “style” parents can choose.
It’s the one I hear boomers talk about when they biked around town for hours and miles, only having to be home when the street lights came on.
Oh, and they didn’t have a phone to check-in!
What the heck happened?
Some might say it’s because the world is a more dangerous place—spoiler alert—it’s not.
I’m not going to take my precious journaling time to insert a bunch of facts here, but the truth is this culture has hyped up crimes against children.
The stat I like best is that I would have to leave my kids unattended outside for 750,000 years for it to be statistically likely they’d be kidnapped.
Sidebar—I know there are other crimes against kids out there. Check out https://letgrow.org/crime-statistics/ for more data, but again, it all points to the same conclusion.
And then I think about all the benefits that 750,000 years of unsupervised, autonomous time would gain them. Learning to assess risk, learning to navigate being lost, learning they are capable of handling things that come up, creativity, leadership, sportsmanship—the list goes on and on.
Let Grow also has tons of stats about the positive benefits of letting kids grow in their independence. Double benefits to parents who don’t have to “schedule” every aspect of their day. Sounds great right?!
Then why am I having such a hard time giving my kids that independent childhood?
Only a small part is my own anxiety.
The rest is a culture that is not designed or puts actual support behind the idea.
There are signs everywhere about kids having to be supervised.
There are empty playgrounds. And what kid is gonna have fun by themselves at a boring playground they’ve mastered years ago.
And if I mention my strategy to others, I get that look as if I have a third eye. Or lip service to the idea but no actual support in letting kids gather.
I think some of it does have to do with kids these days. It’s a viscous cycle where they don’t prove themselves trustworthy to be independent and then we don’t allow them to be and then they don’t learn how to be.
But ain’t nobody got the time to start a revolution.
So, here I am.
Doing the best I can.
Drowning in the deep end of the schedule.
Good luck all you parent soldiers. God speed.
A Therapist who you think knows, but doesn’t