Do not miss this seminal piece by Let Grow co-founder Dr. Peter Gray on the Psychology Today blog analyzing the fears preventing parents from letting their kids play. He writes:
Children are designed, by nature, to spend hours per day playing with other children, independently of adults. In such play they practice all sorts of physical and mental skills; discover and pursue their passions; and learn how to create their own activities, solve their own problems, get along with peers, and control their emotions and impulses. Depriving children of independent play inflicts serious harm on them. For documentation of such harm, see: The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders; As Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity; Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges; and How We Deprive Children of the Physical Activity They Need.
Last month, in a blog post (here), I asked readers to supply, in the comments section, their ideas about how to restore children’s independent outdoor play in today’s world. I focused on outdoor play because that is the kind of play that, traditionally, is most likely to involve vigorous physical activity, exciting adventures, and, most important, escape from adult interference. It is also the kind of play of which children today are most severely deprived.
Peter goes on to describe the three biggest misgiving and hurdles. They are:
The Fear that Children Will Fall Behind if Not More or Less Constantly in Adult-Directed Activities
The Fear that Children Who Are Not Supervised Are in Physical Danger
The Fear of Being Accused of Neglect if the Child is Allowed Some Freedom
His piece discusses them all, but we'd like to hear from you, too. Have you overcome any of these fears? If so -- how?