When I think of my summer holidays as a child, they were filled with sun, sand, bikes, scraped knees, dens and playing out with my mates, only coming home when I was hungry or thirsty. This is the type of summer I want my children to have. A somewhat retro summer and certainly a free range one.
I am not saying that I am going to leave my seven and eight year old boys to fend for themselves all day or go on days out with them or even forgo every planned activity. What I am saying though is that I am going to limt screen time and expect them to take out their cricket bat and ball and enjoy some outside time.
I want them to get board and to try and find ways to fill that time with something other than a mindless electronic game. If all else fails then they can resort to the bored jar and face the chance of getting a chore instead of an activity!
Who is with me?
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What is Free Range?
Free range could be lots of different things depending on your childs age and your circumstances. For some parents it will be going to the park and allowing your children to play freely without intervention whereas for others it will be street play or taking them to the beach for a couple of hours and reading whilst they play in the sand.
For me it is about allowing the boys to ride their bikes round the block without me. They have boundaries about where they can and can not go, but I do not follow them.
I do not want this to be strictly defined. You need to find something that you are comfortable with and age of child and location will be a big impact on what you allow them to do.
My tips for going free range
- Get a set of walkie talkies, these are great for keeping in touch with your children.
- Set firm boundaries about how far they can go and when they need to be back (ie they must come back when you call them on the walkie talkie)
- Get the a watch. Both my boys can tell the time now, so I give them a set time to come home
- Be prepared that all the children will come to your house with your children, I have squash and ice pops on hand through the summer
- Give them access to outdoor toys and activities – My boys have access to their bikes, scooters, balls and bats and we have more than one set as to encourage communal play.
- My garden has an open gate policy – I let other children in to my garden as long as their parents know they are allowed.
- Start slowly – take them to the park and instead of getting involved stay on the sidelines
- Make sure they have your phone number
Each week over the summer I plan to do a free range summer post. It might be ideas that your children can use for street games or things to look for at the beach. I would love for YOU to join in. Write about how you are letting your children have more freedom over the summer or your plans. Posts about what they have done would be great too. Just leave me a comment on my most recently Free Range Summer post and I will add your post in my Free Range Summer weekly round up.