Encouraging independence in kids over the summer 15

My boys are eight and nine and this is our third summer of the Bored Jar and also the third summer that I have given them more freedom over the summer to.

Now I am going to admit that it isn’t always plain sailing and that the boys have pushed boundaries in the past, but we all thrive from trusting each other.

Encouraging independence in kids over the summer

Our rules for a #Freerange summer

Set clear boundaries – The boys have areas that they are not allowed to go to on their own, they also have areas that they can only visit together or in groups.

Set clear expectations and time limits – Both the boys have watches and can tell the time.  If they are not back on time, then they are sanctioned.  The Watch Hut has some fantastic kids watches.

Make it easy for them to get in touch with you – and no I don’t mean give them a mobile phone!  Kids do not need mobile phones. We used walkie talkies when the boys were younger and I make sure I have mobile phone numbers for their friends parents.  I also ensure that the boys know our numbers.

free range summer

As they boys have got older, more and more of their friends and peers have freedom too and it is not unusual to find 12 boys playing in our garden or making loom bands in the conservatory.


Set home rules and make sure they are kept

I have a pretty open door policy and also keep the kids and their friends hydrated with water, squash and icepops.

  • You must close the door behind you (we have a dog)
  • You respect my rules in my house
  • No electronics after six pm
  • You get toys out, you put them away
  • No playing upstairs


15 thoughts on “Encouraging independence in kids over the summer

  • Louisa

    I think it’s a very positive thing to encourage your kids to be more free range. Our kids are allowed to explore and enjoy their surroundings within our guidelines. There is nothing worse than being cooped up inside. We also often have a house full of random children, but at least they are socialising and not stuck on the computer.

  • Cass@frugalfamily

    My two are out all the time lately and they haven’t even broken up from school yet 😉

    I love seeing them all play together and I’m quite laid back about the crowds that seem to congregate – I’d much rather they were at mine than anywhere else.

    Saying that, my shopping budget seems to increase with all the extras that appear for tea and ice pops!

  • Shell Louise

    I’m pleased to say our girls now have friends they can go out and play with (we recently moved and they missed being able to play on the street like they could at our old house). They live on the street behind ours but they don’t need to cross any roads so even though I was a bit nervous letting them of the street at first, I knew I had to let them have some independence. They love being able to play out again because they were getting fed up of just having each other to play with! None of ours have mobile phones yet. The eldest is 14 and I’m thinking of getting him one after the holidays just so I can phone him if he’s late home for school to check he’s ok.

  • Ness (@jibberjabberuk)

    I’m dreading this age a bit. My Nan never let us to play outside as she was picked up as four year old (in 1913!) and taken off by a strange man. Her Mum and Grandmother had to chase down the road to rescue her. I don’t think I was allowed anywhere by myself until I was 18.

  • Adele @ Circus Queen

    It’s great that you’re encouraging independence. Those rules are really useful to bear in mind. My eldest is only three so she’s not exactly going off on her own just yet but I am bit by bit doing more supervising with my ears.

  • Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

    This is pretty much the rules we have. Our boys are 11 and 12 and do not have mobiles but know how to ring us. We have similar house rules although I have to say we are on an upward battle with the putting things away rule!

  • Kara

    My 13 year old has just started going out into town on his own and the 6 year old is now allowed to play out the front of the house (we have a green) but has strict rules on how far he is allowed to go

  • Helen Dickinson

    This is a great post. I think it is important to let children have there independence but also let them know where the boundaries are. I have a while yet until Max will be going anywhere by himself but it does make me fearful.

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