You may have heard about Lenore Skenazy’s (Author of Free Range Kids) latest Free Range Parenting Ploy: Pay Me to Ignore Your Kids. And a lot of people are calling her crazy. But before we get into that, let me share exactly what her program will offer as a benefit to your kids.
The Benefits of Lenore Skenazy’s Child Care Program: Pay Me to Ignore Your Kids
By participating in Lenore Skenazy’s program your kids will develop many skills and reach many developmental milestones. For example, independence, self-reliance, conflict management, social skills, self-regulation, leadership, self-control, creativity, communication skills as well as develop muscle, motor fitness, physical agility, and improve their cardiovascular health. This program will reduce ADHD type behaviours, increase feelings of self-worth and self-confidence as well as reduce the chance of developing childhood depression.
Wow. That sounds pretty damn stinking good, doesn’t it? I mean, sign my kids up for that!
How much does it cost?
$350. Sure. Why not, right? It’s New York and look at what your kids get for an hour and half of play every Wednesday. I mean, programming. To quote Lenore: “Pay for a class, enhance your child’s life.” (It’s what parents are used to.) In other words, we don’t put value on something unless we pay for it these days when it comes to our kids, their education, their development, and their well-being.
Why Lenore Skenazy is NOT Crazy
Lenore’s program plain and simple: bring your kids to the park (Wednesdays 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. in Central Park (85th and 5th)) and leave them there with Lenore. Then go away. She stays, but ignores the kids and lets them play as a huge group. The next Wednesday she meets up with everyone, then goes to the coffees hop and drinks coffee while the kids play in a big group.
Why Lenore’s “Pay Me to Ignore Your Kids” is not a crazy idea:
1. Lenore is making a point about our kids NEEDING to play outdoors, with a variety of different kids (ages, backgrounds, etc.) without adults interfering and solving every little issue. (See my list of benefits for her program above–those are the benefits of kids playing actively and independently outside, on their own, with other kids. I.e Free Play.)
2. Crime rates are LOWER now than when we were kids. I.e. the park is safer now than when we were kids and hanging out there without our parents. The world isn’t different–our thinking is. (Stupid TV shows–the only time they show a kid is when something bad is going to happen to them. How can we not be messed up when it comes to our perception of dangers to our children?)
3. Your child has a five-hundred thousand times greater chance of becoming OBESE due to a lack of active, outdoor play than of being abducted. In other words, in the long run they are going to be safer in the park than at home on the couch.
4. She is going to set kids loose in a SAFE place. A high traffic, safe neighbourhood. (Unless of course you watch CSI: New York and Law & Order.) As well it is in a playground–a place designed by experts, specifically for kids.
5. She’s going to be there for the first time. So if there are genuine issues, she is there.
6. After that she will be down the block. WHERE KIDS KNOW WHERE TO FIND HER.
7. Kids have cell phones these days. Do you think they can’t figure out how to get help if they need it?
8. There will be enough helicoptering moms of the really young kids hanging around just waiting to use their stash of Band-Aids and wipes. These kids will be well-covered should they need it. There biggest risk will be the Ohmigodyoucan’tdothatwhereisyourmother types.
9. She is not saying to leave toddlers there alone. This is for kids aged 8 and up. At age 12 kids can babysit. That means they can be responsible and most likely play in the park for awhile with other kids.
10. She is trying to put the CHILD back into CHILDhood. And that, my dear friends, is commendable.
Right now Lenore needs support. She needs people to show up (even if the idea of leaving your kid in the park freaks you out) and she also needs someone to go on TV with her. (God, how I wish I was in New York. I would so be there in a heart beat.)
So if you want what is best for your kids. Really, and truly what is best for your kids, help the gal out. It’s in the name of play and in the name of play is ALWAYS what is best for our kids.
Are you in New York? Will you be helping Lenore out?
What are your thoughts? Share ’em below.
P.S. If you want to read more on Lenore’s other reinstate play ideas, check out this post on reseeding our playgrounds with kids.
Spread the word:
— Jean Oram (@KidsPlay) September 12, 2012