I corresponded with you a couple months ago about my plans to move to Utah from Los Angeles and I just had to get back to you and let you know the dream is alive here in beautiful southern Utah! This place is a wonderland of Free-Range Kids! Let me back up just a bit and give you a picture of what we just came from.
In our old neighborhood in California we didn’t know anybody. I never once saw any kids playing outside and certainly no one ever rang our doorbell. Play dates were arranged by parents and carefully hovered over the entire time. Kids could not even be trusted to go up and down the slide alone! Children’s birthday parties were often attended by more adults than kids because all the parents would stay the whole time and watch over their own kids. I once heard a mom utter the sentence, “Non-organic broccoli is LITERALLY poison so I don’t let my son eat anything I don’t cook for him myself.”
But here in our new home it’s a whole new world! I’ve been posting on my Facebook page going back at least 5 years now advocating for more freedom, independence and responsibility for kids but here there is no advocating necessary. It’s just how people live.
My kindergartener walks or rides his bike to school everyday! There are constantly groups of kids outside running around the neighborhood together without their parents in tow. Neighborhood kids ring our doorbell and invite my kids out to play and they all take off down the street and come home when the streetlights come on.
It’s no wonder Utah was the first state to lead the nation in passing the Free-Range Kids bill because here Free-Range Kids are the norm. My kids are only 3, 5 and 6 but already I’ve seen a huge change in them now that they are allowed to play outside with other kids. My 6-year-old so confident and grown up because he can get to school and back on his own.
None of them ask to watch TV hardly at all anymore, they just ask to go outside all the time! They discovered a little hiking trail near our house and explored it then excitedly took me out to see it and led the way, they built a little playground out of dirt and rocks for ladybugs and rolly-pollys, they built a tent in a neighbor’s front yard and played “camp out,” they invented some kind of game with a ball that involves lots of running and laughing and I’m not really clear on the rules but everyone looks like they are having the time of their lives!
None of these activities were organized or supervised by adults and I’m so proud of their independence and creativity. Best of all I didn’t have to worry for a second I’d be arrested! Moving here was the best decision we ever made, my dream of giving my kids the kind of childhood I enjoyed has come true!