“Isn’t It Irresponsible to Send Kids on Errands Without a Parent?”

Let Grow President Lenore Skenazy was on The Today Show this morning to discuss the new Netflix hit, “Old Enough.” On the show, imported from Japan, kids as young as 2 and 3 go on real-world errands, like picking up mom’s watch from the watchmaker, or bringing home the tempura (yum!) for dinner.

Unsurprisingly, the talk show frames the charming show as controversial: What if American parents think their kids can run errands? What if they dare to trust their kids or their neighborhood even if they don’t live in Japan?

The notion is greeted with lots of grins and grimaces as the hosts imagine young children given any kind of independence.

And of course, no one — not even Let Grow — is suggesting 2-year-olds go on grocery runs without an adult.

But we’re grateful the show interviewed Lenore, who said, “It’s a little nerve-wracking to let your kids go, but when you do, they will just impress you.”

Japanese Kids are More Independent

The show dug up a great stat, showing the gigantic gulf between parents in Japan and America: How many still chaperone their 10 and 11-year-olds? It’s 15% in Japan — 65% here.

(As surprising as Americans find “Old Enough!” Japanese parents might be shocked to find out how very little we let our kids do alone.)

Japan v. America: A majority of Americans won’t let their kids walk alone at 10 or 11.

In response to the correspondent pointing out that, “There are people who are critical of [the show]. They say this is irresponsible. We have more crime in America, our neighborhoods are not laid out in the same way — what do you say to that?” Lenore responded:

“If you’re telling kids that…they’re incompetent, they’re in danger, watch out!, that they need us all the time — that might explain why kids are so anxious and depressed.”

Indeed. If you are interested in having your kids go on THEIR first errand — at an age you think makes sense — you might want to download our Let Grow Independence Kit — a free little boost helping parents to let go and Let Grow!

Kids on their own? That’s crazy!