NOTE: DUE TO RAIN WE ARE CHANGING OUR LET GROW MEET UP IN WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK TO SUNDAY, DEC 9, from 2:30 to 4!
Wish your kids could find some other kids nearby so they could all play outside, like the "olden days"?
You can make it happen. Sure, it sounds ironic to organize an "unstructured" playdate. But think about wildflowers. Where they've disappeared, we have to plant wildflower seeds to bring them back.
The same goes for childhood. Kids used to make their own fun. Now we need to plant "independence seeds" again.
1 - Choose a date, time and place to meet. For instance, Let Grow co-founders Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan "Coddling of the American Mind" Haidt are hosting one this coming NOW Sunday, Dec. 9, 2:30 - 4 in Washington Square Park, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. See below!
2 - Decide if there is an age limit (is it for kids over 6? 7? 8 and up?), and/or a guest limit.
3 - Spread the word -- through Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, a ListServe from your school, church, synagogue, wherever. Us? We're using MeetUp.com.
4 - Designate a child of some maturity to be the "Let Grow Ambassador" who will lead the kids away from the parents and over to a nearby place to play. This kid is not a babysitter or ringleader -- just someone who understands that the idea is for kids to make their own fun, separate from the adults.
5 - Send a reminder as the day nears.
6 - If you'd like, bring some chalk, balls, jump ropes -- or cardboard boxes.
And for us --
7 - Please take pictures! If you're game, post them with the hashtag #LetGrowMoment. You and your family will inspire others.
Then, with any luck, a bunch of the kids will want to meet up again tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow -- without you. And you will feel more ready to let them!
It is almost impossible to be the sole parent sending your kid out to the park, if only because often there's no one for them to play with. But when a group of parents re-normalizes childhood freedom and the kids are out there playing, other parents will loosen the reins, and other kids will race out to have fun.
Let Grow's goal is to make it easy and normal to give kids back their freedom. Starting Sunday!