Where are the kids?

This blog has made me feel quite sad when I compare my children’s heavily supervised lives to the amount of time I spent as a child running wild with my friends. Like most of us who were children in the 70’s and 80’s, I came home when I was hungry or it was getting dark. I wish my children could have that, but I’d worry about them if I didn’t know exactly where they were. How do we give them more freedom?

Homemade Kids

How much freedom do you give your kids? I didn’t give mine enough when they were little according to a smart-thinking dad and geographer, Daniel Raven Ellison, who is deeply concerned about the lack of free range children. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Exploring London with dad and dog isn't the same as playing out in your nearest bit of woodland. Find out more by reading research by Daniel Raven Ellison Exploring London with dad and dog isn’t the same as playing out in your nearest bit of woodland. Find out more by reading research by Daniel Raven Ellison

“Where have all the children gone?” sang Cat Stevens.

Or rather “where are the kids?’ as my husband might say… Mine have come home from school and are making some pasta before homework. They got to school on their own, and back again, but they haven’t done any exploring today.

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6 thoughts on “Where are the kids?

  1. Hi Kirst Writes, thank you for your visit and the reblog. In Daniel Raven Ellison’s research he reckons you can give 5-12yos quite a bit of freedom – they could say approximately where they were going, they could have phones if either you or they needed to contact your urgently. There is safety in numbers (often), and as my own children get older – they are both now teens – I’ve encouraged the oldest (and her school) to attend occasional first aid workshops. Children are in some bizarre way at fault too as they love to be near a wifi signal messaging in a group. Having the opportunity to play out doesn’t have to preclude using a phone loaded with social media too when back at home.

    Maybe your own children will enjoy Geo Cacheing which is a sort of treasure trail that helps the doer explore, but at the same time would mean you as mum had some idea where they were. My own final idea is to get to know people on your street and in your neighbourhood – who will probably look out for your kids & statistically aren’t as likely to abduct or harm them as their own members of their family (or increasingly their peer group if they are unfortunate enough to be in even quite distant association with gangs).

    • Thanks for replying Nicola, and you’re welcome about the reblog, I always enjoy reading your posts. As I’ve just said in my reply to Erin, I’m really torn at times between wanting to give my children more freedom and independence, and the whole knee-jerk seeing an abductor on every corner mindset! Your point about safety in numbers is a really important one – nowadays there are so few other children out playing on the streets that it seems somehow less safe for your own children to be out there. It’s a real challenge, but thank you for giving me some ideas to think about.

  2. What an interesting topic–I’ve spent time thinking about the same thing, remembering the greater freedoms my cousins and I had growing up and comparing them to today’s much more bubble-wrapped childhood. We roamed the neighborhood freely, played with sharp things in the backyard, and swam after crawdads in local creeks.

    It seems like a give-and-take: we risked injuries all the time compared to kids now (and had them. My cousin broke her arm falling out of cherry trees several times, lol). Yet we were bolder while learning limits for ourselves, we didn’t expect the universe to protect us. I’m guessing the sweet spot is somewhere in-between today’s safety concerns and the freer approach a few decades ago… maybe it will be easier to compare results after this generation grows up.

    By the way, I’ve nominated you for the Three Day Three Quote Challenge. Feel free to decline, but if you want to play: http://bubblesandbeebots.com/2016/02/16/3-day-3-quote-challenge-day-2/

    • I’ve looked at this from both sides this week – it’s the school’s half term holidays and 11YO wanted to walk round to her friend’s house by herself… a 15 min walk at best. The day before I saw 2 separate news stories about teenage girls being attacked locally. I insisted she couldn’t walk alone so we ended up taking her by car. I know she needs to build up independence and the risks are minimal… but logic went out the window….

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