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Would you pay someone to take your kid out for "unsupervised" play?

Posted by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM
  • 20 Replies

Abandon Your Kid at the Park for the Low, Low Price of $350!

Posted by Jeanne Sager on September 12, 2012 

playgroundYou remember Lenore Skenazy, don't you? How could you forget the mom who let her 9-year-old ride the subway alone and turned the publicity into an entire parenting movement? Well the guru of free-range parenting is back with another harebrained scheme to make good parents feel bad about themselves. She wants to charge you $350 so your kid can play in the park without supervision.

Oh, Skenazy will be there for her eight-week "playgroup" ... sort of. She'll sit in a coffee shop about a block away with a cellphone in her hand in case of some sort of emergency.

From the sounds of it, the playgroup is not so much a money making venture as Skenazy trying yet again to make a point about how leaving kids unsupervised is good for them. She wants to make parents back off and let their kids have free play arranged by her because it will encourage creativity and actually get them playing.

I'm with her ... to a point. I don't support hovering parents at all. And I do agree that today's kids are being stifled, that they spend too much time indoors and too little time actually acting like kids. In part I blame the schools that heap so much homework on kids' shoulders that there is little time for after-school play. In part I blame a society where there are two working parents who don't have time to take their kids to the park as often as they want to.

But once again Skenazy is deliberating missing the point of supervising our kids when they're playing in a park or a playground. The truth is, kids can play quite freely while their parents are in the general vicinity. Mine does it all the time.

I'm a strong believer that structured play is a problem for kids. So I let her do her own thing. I tend to park my butt on a bench and chat with a mom friend when we hit the playground. Sometimes I bring a book to read. I rarely play with her -- not because I don't like my daughter but because there is other stuff for her to do and kids for her to play with. That's the point of taking her to the park: to encourage her to have free play.

So why am I there? Well, for starters, I'm her ride to town. But I stay because I believe it's my responsibility to provide basic safety ... and I'm not talking about safety from pedophiles.

I'm there because part of free play for kids is learning to take risks. They're supposed to be thinking, "Is that jungle gym too high? I don't know, let me find out!" It's part of being a kid.

It's also rather dangerous.

Fact: little kids can't drive themselves to the hospital if something bad happens and they shouldn't have their own cellphones -- at least not at 8, which is the base age for Skenazy's little program -- to call for help if something happens. This is why it's useful to have an adult around when kids are playing; because we are handy in emergencies. And you never know when an emergency is going to crop up, because, of course, if you did, they wouldn't be emergencies, would they?

I don't need to leave so my kid will learn to have fun, take risks, get creative. She seems to do pretty well at ignoring me on her own ... until she gets a bee sting, and all that stuff in my purse makes me useful again.

What do you think of Skenazy's scheme? Would you pay someone to take your kid out for "unsupervised" play?

by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Pammi86
by Pamela on Sep. 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Um no. I am the mother here and I will do everything with my dd unless my family ask to!

mom2gr8tgirls
by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 6:19 PM
Yeah...no effin way lady. That's just stupid.
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DixieFlower
by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 7:45 PM

I wouldn 't pay for that.  She is offering scholarships and such also. Here's a link to her blog about this.

I won't supervise your kids

cl1998
by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 9:09 PM

 Now that is just silly.......

Knightquester
by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I think anybody willing to pay another person to take their kid to NOT be watched is a moron.

I am that person that up until a certain age did play with my children, even at parks.  I still interact with them on a daily basis in whatever interest they have and I still will swing with them on occasion.  They love to come up to me to talk, or read next to me at the park.  We're still parent and child but we're something more; my children have somebody willing to take the time to interact and get to know their interest and world, not just spectate or ignore them until I feel I'm needed.

I don't view myself as just some emergency contact person either; I view myself a mother and a wife.  I wouldn't send my husband to work in a vehicle I know wouldn't get him there safety no more than I would leave my children in a situation that they're not mentally, physically and emotionally ready for.

LilyBeansMom
by on Sep. 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Good grief.
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Jaybo
by on Sep. 13, 2012 at 4:00 AM

If something bad happens that a child needs to be taken to the hospital, they should be taken in an ambulance, not by a parent who might make whatever injury the child has sustained, even worse.

Your last bit... "I don't need to leave so my kid will learn to have fun, take risks, get creative. She seems to do pretty well at ignoring me on her own.. until she gets a bee sting, and all that stuff in my purse makes me useful againreveals how obsessed you are with never allowing your child to go anywhere on her own. It also reveals your strange insecure feeling of not being a useful parent unless you child needs a bandaid from your purse.

Educate yourself.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Parenting/overprotective-parents-put-children-risk-injury-playground/story?id=16227754

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1940697,00.html

http://www.livescience.com/10663-helicopter-parents-neurotic-kids-study-suggests.html

 

 

Janet
by Ruby Member on Sep. 13, 2012 at 9:10 AM

 You would have to have something wrong with you to do something like this! It's just plain crazy!

goddess99
by Michelle on Sep. 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM

How stupid.

Jean8282
by on Sep. 13, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I take my kids to the park I stand around the bottom of the slides because mine are still young and might fall, so I want to be there to catch them if they fall. I cant wait until they get old enough to me to just sit and watch. 

I really dont see how sitting just down the block and sitting a few feet away makes much of a difference. I think kids need to play on their own without parents breathing down their necks but this lady takes it ro an extreme. Until my kids are at least 8 or 9 they will always be in my sight when we are at public places.

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