A simple project for schools that gives kids a chance to start doing some things on their own.
PROBLEM: Students are showing an increase in anxiety and narcissism, as well as a decline in empathy. These social/emotional issues show up at home and in the classroom. They have been developing over the past generation as childhood has become more structured and supervised, children have become more protected, and the culture has decided to treat all young people as fragile and needy.
While we want our kids to learn to roll with some punches and solve some problems — even spats — without constant adult intervention, they have fewer and fewer opportunities to do so. One way kids acquire the resilience and self-control they need to succeed in school and, eventually, the workplace is by doing some things, even negotiating some risks, on their own. Most of us remember playing outside, walking to school, running errands. These are actually maturity milestones.
But when adults do everything with or for their kids, the kids don’t get that same chance to grow. How can parents feel confident giving their kids some independence?
A SOLUTION: THE LET GROW PROJECT AT SCHOOL
The project is fast and straightforward: Teachers tell the students to go home and ask their parents if they can do one thing they feel ready to do that, for one reason or another, they haven’t done yet: Walk the dog, make dinner, get themselves to school…almost anything their parents did at their age. The kids can do this project alone or with another kid or kids.
This one independent experience has enormous repercussions
- Parents who have not been sure when or how to let go now do, as an entire class or even school is doing the same
- Kids who have been under constant adult supervision discover and develop resourcefulness
- Parents report that afterwards, they feel exhilarated: Their worries have been replaced by pride and joy in their blossoming child
- School counselors report a shift in maturity (and calmer parents)
- Kids are ready to do more things on their own – even homework
Society has convinced us to underestimate children and overestimate danger. As a result, today’s children are often overprotected, which leads to anxiousness and helplessness (and, ironically, MORE overprotection).
This project helps parents regain the perspective our fear-based culture has taken away, and loosen the reins. Children rise to the occasion and mature.
LIST OF LET GROW PROJECTS TO DO ALONE OR WITH A FRIEND
Walk to school
Run an errand
Walk the dog
Wait at the bus stop
Ride your bike to a friend’s house
Make a fort
Explore the woods
Climb a tree
Pick up something from the store
Build something out of junk
Go get ice cream
Go get pizza
Spend some time at the library
Ride a local bus
Organize a visit to a friend’s and get yourself there
Visit a relative
Buy a surprise for your parent
Build a surprise for your parent
Play in the park
Do something with your brother or sister outside
Organize a game outside with your friends
Take the subway
Go to a museum
Mow a neighbor’s lawn
Get to an afterschool activity on your own
Pick up your sibling from an activity
Get yourself ready for school and out the door
Get the ingredients for a cake and make it
Play night tag
Bake something delicious
Make your lunch for tomorrow
Camp out in the backyard
Trick or treat
Go to a friend’s and then go together to find another friend
Add your own ideas here!
Let Grow would like to help you implement this project at your school. For more information, contact us at info@LetGrow.com.