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More Childhood Independence and Free Play

Anxious Generation Book Cover

Jonathan Haidt co-founded Let Grow in 2017 to fight the drastic change in childhood that began decades ago, when free time and free play got replaced by near constant adult supervision. As kids’ independence waned, their anxiety and depression grew. In The Anxious Generation, Haidt’s final call to action is simple: Give young people back independence, responsibility, and free play.

“If parents don’t replace screentime with real-world experiences involving friends and opportunities for independent activity, then banning devices will feel like pure deprivation, not like a world of opportunities opening up.” – J.H.

Jon’s chapters for parents and schools are all about Let Grow. If you are looking for simple, free, immediate steps to take with your own children, in your neighborhood or school, you are in the right place!


Let Grow is the "How" for the Fourth Reform

More independence, free play, and responsibility in the real world is what kids need!

Parent Resources and Actions

Let Grow knows that letting go is an act of bravery for parents. Even when we agree our kids should have more independence, free time, and old-fashioned play, it takes a nudge to break the cycle of today’s overparenting norms. Get our free Independence Kit to start your kids on the path to independence. Or start a neighborhood Play Club! Find research, statistics, and more. Click the button below for all our free resources for parents.

School Programs for Students and Families

The Let Grow Experience is the “homework” Jon recommends schools assign. It helps parents step back so kids can step up. Students and their families build confidence with our free, ready-to-use curriculum for both K-8th and 8th-12th grades. Counselors love it, too, as an all-student Tier 1 program for mental health. Click below to also find our free guide to the before-or-after-school Play Club described in Jon’s book, and other great resources.

Independence Therapy for Anxiety

The Let Grow Experience has been studied as a potential clinical treatment for childhod anxiety, and as a Tier 2 or 3 intervention in schools. In a pilot study,  Dr. Camilo Ortiz treated anxious kids with a “mega dose” of independence, encouraging them to do many new things, of their choosing, on their own. This worked faster than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Ortiz’ research study and  free Independence Therapy Manual are available upon request.

Free Play Fridays

Every Friday from 4pm-6pm, open the door, open the garage, and let the kids go out and play!

Let Grow is making it easy, normal, and legal to give kids the independence they need to become capable, confident, and happy adults. 

Want a quick way to help your kids and your neighborhood, too!  You can join us by participating in Free Play Fridays! Send your kids outside  (no phones or devices) to play from 4pm-6pm every Friday.  It’s an easy collective action that can start on your street and spread through the neighborhood! Don’t supervise, direct, or intervene in the kids’ play, but if you’re afraid to go inside, leave your phone in the house, too, and chat with your neighbors in real life.