Unsupervised play for kids, are you scared of it?
Unsupervised play was once the main way kids played. Now it has become a controversial topic. As a mother of two young kids, I have a hard time with this topic because I understand the value of play to a child’s development yet have grown up with fear being instilled in me by media, people and government. So for those who are like me that know your kids need unsupervised play but are afraid that something will happen to them (my mind goes to getting seriously hurt or kidnapped) keep reading.
Benefits of unsupervised play
- It is believed by some (and supported in some research) that kids who are allowed some time out to explore on their own or with friends are more physically active than kids who were always supervised.
- Unsupervised play builds confidence.
- Allows kids to make decision on their own and learn how to deal with the consequence of that decision.
Forms of unspupervised play other than roaming free
- Not hovering a child while on the playground can allow a child to have some unsupervised play. Grab a seat on a bench; you can stay aware of the general location of your kid but allow him/her to play “unwatched.”
- Allow them to play outside in your yard within window view.
- Don’t plan every activity a child participates in. Teach them how to be flexible and spontaneous by not always having organized fun.
- As they age, allow them to roam further ahead of you.
Unsupervised play for the worried mom
I personally know that most of my best work is done when no one is watching, questioning and suggesting. When I feel free to be flexible, self-paced and creative is when I really conjure up some great ideas and finals pieces of work. So as a mom that can’t help but worry about my kids safety, I make sure that my children have time to explore and create and learn without the pressure of my direction, correction or encouragement. I try to let them be even if I remain an arms length away. Watching from afar without them knowing has been my best method at their age.
I believe allowing unsupervised play takes alot of practice for parents these days. I work hard at trying to consciously incorporate it at age-appropriate levels with both of my kids, because that’s the only way I can keep my sanity and discomfort with the idea under control.
I want my kids to be independent, risk takers who make wise, safe decisions. And I know they can only learn to be that way if given the opportunity.
The BIG question: Is it safe for our kids to play outside alone?
If yes, what do you think is the right age for kids to roam or play freely — and how often do you think they need to check in? Also, do you/would you let your children roam freely by themselves, or do they need to be accompanied by friends?
Is the location important at all (i.e. playground, park, etc.)? Lastly, do you factor in the child’s gender or maturity level? Please weigh in in the comments below!
Most importantly, let’s remember that they are children and their job is to play. So I try to allow it to happen as organically as possible! But whatever your opinion is on play and what you choose to do, remember this: being a mom is tough, fun, heartbreaking, and joyful; You are a good mom who is doing the best she can to raise good kids!
The Genius of Play
Share your opinion on Facebook and Twitter with #GeniusofPlay! And learn about all the benefits of play at http://www.thegeniusofplay.org/.
This is a sponsored post. All content is my personal opinion with no influence from the sponsor, Genius of Play.