This is obviously a question we get a lot: Parents asking where and how to start Letting Grow.
We’re always working on new initiatives to help parents kickstart some independence for their children. But in the meantime, we have a few suggestions and resources that can help get your kids outside. The challenge, of course, is finding other parents and kids who are looking to do the same. Hopefully, these resources will help you get you on your way!
The Let Grow website features a friend finder where you can enter your ZIP or postal code and find other parents in your area. You then can post a public or private message to get their attention. Check it out here. (You’ll be asked to register for Let Grow -- it’s free.)
In addition to our official Facebook Page, we also have a dedicated Facebook group with over 2,000 parents. This is a great resource where members share stories and ask for advice on a range of topics, including outside play. You may also be able to find local parents there also. Just ask!
Some of our supporters have started their own Let Grow meetups in their community. We even made a short video that helps you plan one. At a meetup like this, parents can chat and have fun while their kids go a little ways off to play. It’s an excellent way for them to meet new friends (you, too!) and get used to having a bit of independence.
Here are a couple of articles we’ve recently shared with our community on how to create a more kids-outside neighborhood:
Lastly, when your kids head back to class, we have some initiatives schools that you might be interested in showing their teachers.
The first is The Let Grow Project, where students get a different kind of homework. Their assignment is to go home and do something on their own without a parent! Typical activities the kids start with include walking the dog, making dinner, running an errand, etc. This gets both the adults and the kids comfortable with a little time apart.
The second initiative is the Let Grow Play Club, where schools stay open for unstructured, device-free, mixed-age, “loose parts” free play before or after regular school hours. The adults on-premises do not organize or intervene. They simply function more like lifeguards, so kids learn to make their own fun and solve their own problems. When a class, or even whole school, does either of these initiatives, the kids and parents get used to more independence and appreciate it! The result is more kids playing, riding bikes, and doing other activities on their own and with friends.
Now, readers, please suggest other initiatives you'd like to see us do -- what else would help you give your kids some more independence?