“Take Our Children to the Park…& Leave Them There Day” Are You In?

Hi Readers — May 22, a week from this Saturday, is the very first “Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day.” The idea behind it is simple: Most of us want our children to play outside and have fun, but this is impossible because there aren’t any OTHER kids outside for our kids to play with. It’s a  problem folks often cite as the reason they won’t be participating in the holiday. But that’s precisely the reason TO join in!

Clearly we are in the middle of a vicious cycle — there are no kids outside so I won’t let MY kids outside, so there are no kids outside, so you don’t let YOUR kids outside, so I don’t let MY kids outside, etc. , etc., etc –which is why the holiday (or whatever it is) is even necessary. It is a day to break the cycle. A day to get kids outside to meet each other and re-learn the lost art of playing! As opposed to PlayStationing.

And once again, let me reiterate that this is not a day to leave our 2-year-olds in the park. It is meant for kids age 7 or 8 and up. And it needn’t be more than an hour or even a half hour. And you can just take a walk around the block, if that’s all you or your child are ready for.  And you can give them cell phones! I just want to get kids out of the house so they can frolick and maybe even plan to do this strange thing where they ask a friend to “come out and play”  again. And it’s a great time for parents to meet each other, too! The way to really make any community safe requires reviving just that — community! Connect with your neighbors and everyone watches out for everyone else.

To that end, I’m going to suggest 10 a.m. as a good time to make it to the park, if you can. Of course, any time is fine (well, maybe not 10 p.m.), but if we have an official “starting” time, there’s more of a chance that several kids will be at the park at the same time.

So — that’s the current plan.  Here in New York City there is some media interest in the day. Yay! So if there’s one particular playground in Central Park that you are heading for, let us know and maybe a bunch of us can head over there together. (I know there’s some big rock my son and his friend love to climb around 64th Street.)

That’s it. Let us be in touch! — Lenore

Wouldn't it be nice?

124 Responses

  1. This idea is very interesting. I have an 8 year old and he hangs out in the park with his friends on a regular basis without parents hovering over them. The 2nd and 3rd graders in my neighborhood ride their bikes around and climb trees like the “old days.” We live in Central Austin, Texas. No one in our neighborhood needs a special day to send their kids out of the house and into the park, we call those days…weekends.

  2. We were all set to join in and then the kids got invited to a birthday party….but I will be leaving them there, so maybe that counts…….?

    BTW, I love the picture. I miss seesaws.

  3. I hope it all goes well and that people participate. My daughter is only 1, so we won’t be leaving her anywhere🙂. But we might go by a park just to get outside. We were visiting my family a couple weekends ago and I took my little brothers to the park and let them roam a bit without hovering. They’re only four, so that was my way of bringing a little free range to a very not free range neighborhood. Can’t wait to see what happpens with this ‘holiday’!

  4. Great idea, and I’m with Hillary. Those days in my parts are also known just as “weekends.”

    Still, looking forward to it.

  5. As long as the weather is nice my older kids will be heading out. They are 7, 8 and 9. Last week I let them ride around the park on their bikes for almost an hour while I sat in the sun in our backyard reading and listening to my 4yo prattle on about ants. They weren’t allowed in the playground only because they don’t have locks for their bikes and they tend to go missing in our neighborhood (a lot faster and more often then kids go missing).

  6. My daughter is seven and will be going to the park with some friends and playing there without an adult and walking home together. Count us in!

  7. This is every weekend for my older kids. I wouldn’t consider it with the 5 year old, particularly since he managed to crash his bike and break his collorbone clean in two while I was right there on Saturday.:/

  8. Ive been reading your blog and have to agree with many of the responses..why dont you call the mother of the 9 year old that was raped today in the library in New York City. I’m sure she would agree with you on your feelings about leaving children for a few minutes in safe public environments.

    Here’s the link.

    The link and video of the possible assailant can be found at wabctv.com. It’s The New york City news.

  9. Well, I’m with you in spirit, but if the kids don’t want to go to the playground two blocks away by hemselves (as they normally do) that day or we have other plans, I’m not going to do it on this particular day just to make a point that isn’t really an issue in my community.🙂 If they want to go of course I’ll let them.

  10. I have organized a group of kiddos to meet up at my house with their moms. The kids will walk to the playground around the corner while the moms and I stay back and chat. It took some convincing, but they are in! 🙂
    I am loving your book by the way…I picked it up the other day.

  11. UL, I’m sure you mean well…

    No, let me start over. I’m sure you do NOT mean well, that you intend only to shame and scare rather than to educate or learn, but I’m going to act like you mean well anyway.

    Stranger molestation does happen. It does. Nobody here has ever claimed otherwise.

    It happens very *rarely*, though. The vast majority of child molesters – hell, the vast majority of ALL rapists! – target people they know. For children, that’s almost always blood relatives.

    One nine year old getting raped in a library is sad and unfortunate, but it should not affect your behavior unless, perhaps, there’s been a string of these incidents in your own community.

    Likewise, many many children die in car accidents every year, far more than get raped by strangers (and in fact car accidents are THE leading cause of death for Americans 15 and under), but this simple fact will probably not cause you to stop driving your kid around. (Heck, it doesn’t even convince people to use safer carseats!) Why? Because that would be silly.

    When I was a kid I saw a kid get her shoelaces sucked into an escalator and my dad had to help cut her loose. My mother once saw a child fall and get her HAIR stuck in an escalator, which was very nearly tragic. Elevator accidents are more common than most people realize, but plenty of people still use elevators and allow their children to do so. Why? Because you can’t live your life scared of things that occasionally happen to some people.

    When your child goes to the park with you, NOTHING is stopping them from being struck by lightning out of the clear blue sky (somewhere around 700 people are struck by lightning in the US yearly) or stung to death by a surprise attack of killer bees (moving northward) or randomly hit by an off-kilter bus. Your presence does not make your child safe. But you go ahead and send your child out in the world anyway, right? Because your kid can’t stay home all the time.

    Heck, I bet you even send your child to school with other kids. And why not? That’s what most people do, right? Teachers are far, far, FAR more likely to molest their students than strangers are (although they still come in well under “parents”). Why is sending your child to school without you “safe” when sending your child to the park or the library is “unsafe”?

    Because one is something you’re used to doing and seeing, and another is something you’re no longer used to doing and seeing. That’s all.

    I don’t mean for you to start seeing the world as the terribly unsafe place it really is, of course. But you have GOT to put these things in perspective. I’m very upset for that poor girl, of course, but I don’t see how an isolated event should make me change my behavior and keep me from doing something that is, in fact, relatively safe.

  12. Yes, PERSPECTIVE is the key issue here. This is exactly why I’m a foot soldier in Lenore’s Army. It’s easy to filter the airwaves to find rare examples of tragedy from around the world, but there’s no mechanism to “filter the positive” (with the sole exception of Geri Corbley’s Good News Network http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ )

    My kids, 13 and 16, are not only ‘Free Range’, they have a cadre of similarly minded friends who literally own our local parks and neighborhoods here in metro DC. They look out for threats and help take care of the little kids and generally act responsibly. Kids ARE capable of stepping up and taking ownership over their environment… my god, they are more networked than the CIA with their phones and social media. I think we should be afraid of them😉

  13. Uly… amen. GREAT response. Thank you, thank you.

  14. I’m probably going to sit in the far end of the very large field under a tree in the fenced school playground/field near our house while my kids play there. I have a 6 yo I don’t quite trust to hold his own just yet. Not that he needs me, rather he is firmly convinced that he doesn’t need me and often the only thing that keeps him from tilting over the edge is his much more sensible 8 year old sister threatening to tell mom that he is about to embark on craziness. If he’s having a good day, I might head to the coffee shop down the street and let them have 20-30 minutes on their own while I read a book. I haven’t tried to find anyone to join us so this year at least it’ll just be us.

  15. Hey UpstateLibrarian, thanks for sending me to the wabctv site…there was also an interesting story about a man who was struck by lightning. We’d better not go outside anymore!

  16. If you live in Montgomery County, MD, especially anywhere near Garrett Park, I hope you will consider letting your kids join my daughter and her friends on May 22 in the park surrounding Garrett Park elementary school.

    I started a Facebook event for “Leave your children at the park” day. Please feel free to RSVP and perhaps meet a few like-minded parents:

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=103543269690232

  17. Mine are still too young, but they will be at the park in Geneva, Switzerland and I will watch them as minimally as possible in solidarity.

    The only library rape I could find was in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1999.

    Upstate Librarian is a troll. Do not feed the trolls.

  18. Marcy, the 9 year old was “sexually assaulted” in a lower east side library. I don’t know anything about New York, so I don’t know what that really means, but I do feel as though there is a difference between “raped” and “sexually assaulted”. Not that I would want my daughter to be sexually assaulted either, but the words carry slightly less blaring sirens.

    And the man who was killed by lightning was in the “No. Suburbs and Conn” section. And by the way, three other men who were struck recovered in hospital. So technically 4 men were struck by lightning causing one casualty, and sexual assault made headlines in three days. It would be quite interesting if one had time to follow all of the news headlines and make some sort of graph of events that get reported on.

    I’m shocked every time I realise that there are still people who still buy into the Media to this extent. No one is arguing that nothing bad happens, only that our perspective has been drastically skewed. Let the kids play!

  19. Sorry, that should say … “4 ment were struck by lightning causing one casualty, and one sexual assault case made headlines in three days”

  20. Everyday is Take Our Children To The Park and Leave Them There Day for us! In fact, it’s more like take-yourself-to-the-park-and-stay-as-long-as-you-want-but-be-home-by-6:30-for-dinner day! But I will put it on the calendar and talk to the children about it, emphasizing how wonderful it is that they are so self-sufficient, and independent, and sensible–and how FUN that can be!

  21. Merchandise?? Promotion?? Commemorative T-shirts?? Yeah, I know – I find the whole commercialization thing rather ICK also, but the fact is, nothing in America is really considered to have risen to the level of a socially-legitimized event unless it has a T-shirt printed for it. That’s the mistake that young feminist made with her recent Boobquake initiative (google it) – she didn’t get her T-shirts produced far enough in advance of her event date, and I think that muted its overall impact, despite the national media coverage that it received. It was hard to conclusively identify a tangible (rather than merely electronic) representation of Boobquake as a result.

  22. I’m in! In fact last week the kids walked themselves to the park and played for an hour. Thank you for your book and retuning a correct perspective on parenting!

  23. I can’t say “I’m in” in a literal sense as DS is only 3, but we will certainly go to the park and generally out and about (into our local “wilds,” which aren’t so wild but we do what we can with what’s nearby) on that day, as we do on most, and I’ll certainly continue to promote his playing independently and “wandering off” — at this age, I don’t allow that to include out-of-my-sight unless I know exactly what’s around the corner he’s heading around, but I’m certainly encouraging him (and will on 5/22) to wander away from me and not worry that I’m not right by his side even if *I* am still keeping an eye on *him* .

  24. @ UpstateLibrarian:
    I was a free-range kid (I’m 46 now) and did in fact come across several unsavory people who might very well have molested me, had I given them a chance.
    But, my parents gave me the tools to avoid this fate.
    I was taught to be aware of my surroundings, and to trust my instincts. If someone was overly friendly, or menacing, or got into my personal space I knew how to react. I wasn’t afraid to scream, yell, kick or fight.
    These skills have served me well throughout my lifetime, and I’m still amazed at the adults I know who will enter a dangerous parking lot stairwell or covered walkway, etc. without realizing how much danger they are in.
    I am so glad my parents trusted me enough to give me the opportunity to learn how to handle myself in the real world!

  25. I wish all participating in this, a safe, fun, and educational experience. And hopefully, it will help to open the eyes and minds of the fearful and paranoid. There’s a whole (not so dangerous) world out there to experience. 🙂

  26. On May 22, if my kids feel like going to the park, they will go. There’s a park just around the block from us, so taking them there will not even be necessary. As I’ve mentioned before, this is normal behavior in my neighborhood – but for the other areas where this is not the norm, I certainly hope it is a sucess.

    A quick note about the girl who was raped: tragic, of course, but not a good reason to treat our children like prison inmates. Think about it – 16 year old girls get raped sometimes – I would imagine far more often than 9 year olds. In fact, women my age sometimes get raped. Again, I don’t know the stats, but I’m sure it happens every day somewhere in the United States. Just because I’m 39 instead of 9 does not mean I could stand up against a rapist. But I still manage to leave the house every day, usually alone, without being crippled with fear. Librarian, if you are female, you also take that risk every time you leave the house, but I assume you still do.

  27. It’s not clear what happened to this nine year old girl. Assaulted *might* mean raped. Or it might mean she met with a flasher. They might be reluctant to state it so clearly in order to help preserve her privacy. I don’t know.

    As for troll-feeding, I know, I know. But sometimes you just can’t HELP it, can you?

    Karen, I think the stats are somewhere around 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 women will be raped over their lifetime. Typically by people they know – boyfriends, husbands, and (for those molested in childhood) the occasional blood relation.

    Rapists, as a rule, do not lurk in bushes or dark alleyways at 3am.

    Funnily enough, the same advice to “keep woman safe” from being raped (helpful or not) often has the same effect, if taken, as this advice for “protecting the children” – it keeps the “vulnerable people” inside and scared instead of doing anything to actually stop the problem.

  28. Sounds great!

  29. When our boys were small I used to take them to the park and chat with other parents while the kids played. Since we live in a city, I was always wondering where the perverts or “characters” were. No, I didn’t expect them to walk up and say, “Hi, I’m your friendly neighborhood molester,” but the fact is I don’t remember seeing individuals siting around making me wonder if they could be trusted.

    Reality just didn’t match the fears instilled by the media.

    But there was one time, when I was rather concerned when an older man was playing basketball with our boys and some other kids. The kids by this time were old enough to take care of themselves. I later learned the man ran away with their basketball. He turned out to be a harmless mentally deficient “big kid.” (poor guy) But the kids had played with him and accepted him and in fact enjoyed their game.

    Sure tragedies happen ocassionally. But during all those years when our kids were growing up, I lived in our city with a nagging fear that was unfounded, because most people are not criminals. Most strangers really are friends you haven’t met.

  30. […] Skenazy has dubbed Saturday, May 22, as Take Your Child To The Park and Leave Them There Day. It’s not nearly as crazy as it […]

  31. My son is too young, but my wife just did drop him off at a new preschool to try out. Where, who knows, he may get raped.

  32. WOW! I want some of the rainbows and sunshine you are peddling cause this is NUTS! I am all for taking back our communities and fighting childhood obesity with activity but until we get stronger laws that protect children and lock up perverts (FOREVER)- strangers to the victim or not -i’ll pass on this social experiment!

    It is not just kidnapping, murder or molestation. What if he hits his head or gets lost or becomes ill. How is this being a good steward of the blessing God has given you?

    To each is own and I am not trying to perpetuate fear but please use common sense. How could you send your child somewhere alone and still feel like a responsible parent?

  33. […] Check out more info on the day and what others are saying about it on Lenore Skenazy’s blog, Free Range Kids. […]

  34. Actually, the social experiment is NOT letting kids out of our sight, as kids were going off on their own to play for generations before the least one or so. I know I went off to parks, to the school playground, wandered around in the woods for hours at a time, and had loads of fun by 7 or 8. As did every other child in our neighborhood.

    And what is the outcome of our social experiment of never letting kids out of our sight? ADHD, video game and tv-addicted couch potatoes, childhood obesity, etc. I recommend the book Last Child in the Woods, as well as Lenore’s book.

  35. […] Lenore Skenazy talks about this concept on her blog, Free Range Kids. She says: “The idea behind it is simple: Most of us want our children to play outside and […]

  36. My kids will be out and about! Not sure what park though. Wish we could join you in NYC! Maybe we should organize a West Coast Park Day.
    julie

  37. @Monarch21 do you really not send your kids anywhere alone? Will you ever, and if so, how old will they need to be before you do? Not trying to be provocative, just asking.

    @UpstateLibrarian … the others make good points. At my first job (at a university) one of the students I worked with was raped when a local criminal broke into her apartment and attacked her as she was sleeping. We still sent my stepdaughter (and stepson) to college.

  38. WOW! I want some of the rainbows and sunshine you are peddling cause this is NUTS! I am all for taking back our communities and fighting childhood obesity with activity but until we get stronger laws that protect children and lock up perverts (FOREVER)- strangers to the victim or not -i’ll pass on this social experiment!

    Raising children in the way they have been raised world-wide for centuries (and still are being raised in many places today) is hardly a social “experiment”😛

    Seriously, though, I’m not sure pedophiles are such an UNLIKELY risk for your child. I’m not sure, honestly, why everybody is so fixated on them. (And if your child IS molested, 90% of the time it’s going to be by somebody you trusted to watch them. Well, duh, that’s how this happens.)

    It is not just kidnapping, murder or molestation

    In fact, those are so unlikely that you might have said “It’s not just bee attacks and lightning strikes”.

    What if he hits his head or gets lost or becomes ill.

    What if YOU do when you’re out and about? Then somebody will call 911, or you’ll ask for help, or you’ll go throw up somewhere and then call home and ask somebody to fetch you because you’re too weak to move. If you can figure this out, truly, your second or third grade child can figure it out too. And if not, if he’s really that dumb about this sort of thing (some kids are), you can tell him explicitly. Write his phone number on a piece of paper and stick it in his pocket.

    How is this being a good steward of the blessing God has given you?

    How is not teaching him what to do if he becomes lost being responsible for his welfare in the long term? None of us is in the business of raising children. We’re raising future adults, and at some point – preferably before they’re big enough to get into REAL trouble all on their own – they’re going to have to be able to act like it.

    To each is own and I am not trying to perpetuate fear

    Actually, you totally are with your fears about things that are incredibly unlikely to happen, please don’t lie

    but please use common sense.

    That’s what we’re doing. We’re using common sense about how we were raised combined with actual statistics and facts about risks that might happen in the real world. We’re not using unsubstantiated feelings.

    How could you send your child somewhere alone and still feel like a responsible parent?

    Very easily, thank you!

  39. In my first paragraph I started to write ONE thing, and then wrote another. That should run “Seriously, though, as pedophiles are such an UNLIKELY risk for your child….” and then go from there.

  40. Entirely incidental.

    In New South Wales, Australia (I am less sure of other Australian states) sexual assault is “rape” and indecent assault is the “bad touching”.

    So, state by state is *may* have different meanings.

    From memory the word “rape” is not mentioned in the NSW Crimes Act.

  41. This particular piece hit the right cord with me because it coincided with a piece I have just had published http://www.N21.net and my recent blog about how we are inclined to overprotect and subsequently surpress the development of our children. I am grateful to one of my readers for introducing me to this site and I am now wondering if this particular scheme would work in my London suburb!!

  42. So is May 22nd going to be National Pedophile Day?

    The naivety of some folks. I honestly pray that nothing happens to your children if you do this.

  43. http://www.familywatchdog.us/

    Find your area and then lets talk about leaving our kids by themselves at a park.

  44. @Jeremy
    I was going to put my address in there for kicks- but what makes you think you can trust them? How do I know it’s not a criminal front, and once I get them some data about me, they’ll use it to figure out the best time to break into my home? You actually type your address into random sites on the internet and trust them? Don’t you know how dangerous the internet is?

    Seriously, there’s some rather unsavory stuff on that site- like “Uncover personal photos, video, and secrets…GUARANTEED” Frankly I wouldn’t go near them with a 10 foot pole.

  45. @Monarch21…. if your child does not know what to do if he gets ill, hits his head, or gets lost, then he is not ready to be on his own, and you need to teach him what to do in those circumstances, because like it or don’t, you can’t be there all the time. You CAN’T.

    And speaking of which, I hit my head a god’s plenty when my mom wasn’t around, both at home and on the playground. Somehow I managed, even though in one case, I tried to make it through a first grade lesson involving consonant-vowel-consonant, and realizing that I couldn’t see straight.

    Your kids are in far worse danger if they can’t sort things out for themselves and handle crises… in fact they are in greater danger, because a child who panics in a crisis often makes things exponentially worse.

  46. I’m sure my kids will be at the park on May 22nd because they go to the park without me every day. My oldest is 21 and my youngest is four and I have let them play outside, ride their bikes, ride the bus, ride the train, etc. as soon as they were old enough to manage on their own. They are very independent, responsible, capable people. The only threat my children have ever experienced has been from social workers. They are a much more serious threat than perverts, lightning or killer bees. However, although we have been threatened in terrifying ways by supposedly well-meaning social workers, we still haven’t changed our ways. My seven and nine-year olds still go to the park by themselves every day and when my thirteen-year-old gets home from school, he takes the four-year-old to the park.

  47. Rich, you don’t need to put in your whole address, just type in your zip code.

  48. Jeremy, the NYPD released interactive crime maps about a year ago. Half a year? Something like that.

    I found them a lot of fun. Among other things, I found out that the “dangerous street” in my area – Jersey Street – where the projects are, has had only TWO murders in the past ten years, both of which were family affairs.

    And the way some people talk, you’d think people were dropping like flies there! Even as a kid I’d get flak for taking the bus through that street, or walking on an adjoining street in broad daylight, like I’d randomly get murdered.

    So yes, please everybody – check the map. I bet odds are you’ll find out that your local “dangerous neighborhood” is a lot safer than folks like Jeremy want you to think.

  49. *clicks link*

    Oh. Sex offenders. Yeah, those lists are so bloated with non-risks and dubious “dangers” that even if there IS valuable information in there it’s impossible to find. OMG, there’s a zillion sex offenders in my neighborhood!

    Except some of them have moved and are listed twice (yes, this happens – I’ve heard this as explained “so you don’t let your guard down”), and some of them were convicted of peeing in public or of statuatory rape of their three-years-younger gf/bf. Even the ones who actually did heinous things probably aren’t a risk to my young nieces – they went after teens, or they went after their own kids, or BOTH.

    Trim the list down to people who are actually a risk to strangers in the park, allow me to search for people specifically based on whether they targeted young kids, preteens, teens, or adults, and then I’ll take it seriously.

    Until then, it’s worse than useless.

  50. On the 22, a guy I know is performing a set at a tavern in a nearby city. So we might take the kids to a tavern rather than a park that day. LOL.

  51. Of course I’m in…but I won’t take my kid to the park. He’s 12, it’s only just over a mile, and he can walk by himself. Why do I need to go? He will cross two somewhat busy streets(with crosswalks), and walk alongside another even busier street. Part of that walk is without sidewalks.

    If he gets hot, he can duck into the hardware store or the convenience store, where everyone knows him, or cross that busier street (with a concrete median) and go into the library.

    He’s been doing it since he was 10, he knows the way, and would frankly be insulted if I drove him! And, accompanied by the gasps of many, he will often cross that busier street and play in the park when I go to the library….

    It’s all the younger moms who freak out; the grandparents just smile.

  52. Maybe this is because I live near urban areas, but this idea sounds absolutely horrible. It could work in smaller, close-knit communities, and towns where there are no cities nearby — most definitely. But if there’s a city nearby, you can count on something going wrong if this was tried in such an area.

  53. Except, Rich, that people in cities worldwide have done this ever since there have BEEN cities. Well, unless they had no parks. Then their kids just played in the streets.

    Cities aren’t that unsafe.

  54. […] Skenazy of Free Range Kids is asking parents to do this coming Saturday, May 22 at the first ‘take our children to the park and leave them there’ day. The fact that Skenazy has declared a specific day in which to do this says a lot. It tells […]

  55. Dont you mean send you’re kids to the park and tell them to stay there?

  56. LOL, “Cities aren’t that unsafe.”

    Apparently you haven’t been to a real city where the crime rate is worrisome and child abductions actually occur.

    I’m sorry, but I would never want to run the risk, as little as one may think it to be, of having my kids abducted. 0% risk is better than 1% or 2% risk.

    When it comes to my children, I won’t put their lives in danger.

  57. […] of children at least 7 years old: This Saturday, May 22, has been designated in some circles as “Take Our Children to the Park…& Leave Them There Day.” It’s the idea of Lenore Skenazy, founder of Free-Range Kids, a makes-ya-think […]

  58. “When it comes to my children, I won’t put their lives in danger.”

    Cue the choir:

    “I’m sure you would never take them anywhere in a car then.”

    (I’m really getting tired of typing that)

    You can’t eliminate all risk. You have to asses the risk, and the bad outcome, and balance it with the benefit. Your kids can get abducted any time, even while you’re watching them.

    In fact MORE KIDS WILL COME TO HARM BEING DRIVEN TO LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT THE PARK DAY THAN WILL COME TO HARM ACTUALLY AT THE PARK!

    p.s. You have nothing to apologize for. Disagreeing with someone isn’t reason to apologize.

  59. OK, let’s use the car analogy.

    I don’t agree with it, because there aren’t any alternatives that are more feasible than using a car. And I have a degree of control over whether my kids are harmed; the safer I drive, the less likely it is they will be harmed. (Of course, I can’t control other drivers.)

    Also, do you have links to statistics regarding probability of child abduction vs. death in car accidents? If you do, I would genuinely like to see them and read for myself. Otherwise, it’s just hearsay and assumption (I’m assuming, anyway).😉

    I’d also like to know if parents that do this leave a cell phone with their child. Otherwise, what if the child is left alone after the last kid leaves? Will he/she be left alone? At that point, I am very sure the cops would come along and ask where his/her parents are, etc., etc.

    I totally understand this being OK in a small town or even a small city, but I live near one of the largest cities in Massachusetts, and nobody I know would ever think about doing this… even the more “sensible” parents I know.

  60. Here’s another one I found just googeling:
    http://thetyee.ca/Life/2007/01/09/StrangerDanger/
    It’s Canadian, but references US stats as well.

    As for leaving a cell phone- what about the kids walk home, or take a bus? Or you pick them up at an arranged time? Nothing wrong with a cell phone, but they don’t HAVE to have a cell phone to be safe.

    And there’s nothing wrong with being worried. Lenore is a self professed Jewish Mom. If it’s too big a step for you, then perhaps take them to the park, and give them more distance. Go sit on a bench 100 yards away. Or 200 yards. Whatever you can stand🙂

  61. […] when I read that Free Range Kids are having “Take Your Children To The Park And Leave Them There Day” on May 22nd, I think: Awesome. Now I can’t go to the playground on Saturday. Because I already […]

  62. I live in Tokyo, where fortunately we don’t need a special day for this.

    I have three kids, the youngest is 8 — and he goes to and from school by himself, and plays at the park by himself, too.

    We used to live in San Francisco, and I miss it greatly, but I don’t miss having to worry about the cops paying us a visit whenever I left my kids home unattended.

  63. I think this is terribly irresponsible.

    there are A LOT of circumstances where leaving children unnattended is dangerous, beyond the obvious rapists, kidnappers, pedophiles.

    I’m not saying shelter your 16 year olds, hell, I think by 5th grade and around 11, it is safe for children to be somewhat “free range” but a 7 year old just DOES NOT have the maturity and mental capacity.

    I’m in my 20’s and maybe I’ve just had a lot of unfortuntate experiences, but I have run into a lot of unsavory people and experiences. I would never put my child through that.

  64. I think it would be ideal for all of our kids to get on their shinny red shwinn bicycles and ride down the clean street to the safe, clean, Suburban Park to play baseball with all the other well-mannered children in the pedophile-free town of “Neverwas”. However, this is a naive idealistic thought. I grew up riding my back when I wanted unsupervised, and playing street ball with a few friends. This sounds nice until I give you the details that my parents never knew. I was riding my bike down one of the most dangerous streets in Albuquerque, Central. There was alot of traffic, homeless people passed out at the bus stop, and hookers walking down the street. And street ball (baseball with a tennis ball), we almost got hit by cars numerous times and broke a few windows without getting caught. I was a preacher’s son but still did these things because I lived in a bad neighborhood and my parents were too busy to keep track of me and what I was really doing. This isn’t “Leave It To Beaver”; this is the real world where you can’t trust your next-door neighbor even if you have waved at him while he was mowing the lawn. He may still have a thing for your little 10-year-old girl, or boy. How about organizing a special day to take your kids to help clean up the less fortunate neighborhoods.

  65. David, I hate to point this out, but unless ghosts can now add comments to blogs, you seem to have survived. Do you like yourself? Do you think you’re a pretty good person? Do you think if your parents had supervised you at all times you would have turned out the same? Or do you think you would have possibly been better off?

  66. And what is so wrong about watching your kids while they play? They won’t turn out any better if you leave them at the park and go do something else; in fact, there’s a higher risk of something happening to them, simply because you weren’t there, just in case.

    I’m not saying you have to smother them and hover over their shoulder, shadowing their every move… but what’s the big deal about staying at the park, at a distance, glancing at them once in a while to ensure they’re doing ok?

    It comes off as quite lazy to me to leave your kids at a park and then go do something else. Whatever happened to spending some time supervising your kids?

  67. I’m there! Or more accurately, my kids (4 and 6) will be there, I will not. I may split the difference and let them take a walkie-talkie.

  68. This is really not funny. About 10 years ago a pedophile tried to assault my son at the Ancient Playground in Central Park. The police came and took the man away in a patrol car. I had not called them. I can only assume that the man had tried to assault someone else who did call the police, or the police saw him at the playground and knew from prior experience that he did not belong anywhere near children. Do not leave your children alone anywhere. Pedophiles only need a moment unobserved with your child and do not listen to children when they say no.

  69. Oh, and if you’re going to do this harebrained leave-your-little-kids-alone-in-the-park thing, you should let the police know so that they can keep the predatory types away while you go do your thing.

  70. Being happy about media interest is idiotic you may as well call registered sex offenders and pedophiles and tell them where you are leaving your unattended children. There’s nothing wrong with letting kids of an appropriate age to play as long as you are confident they know their way home and are street smart. They way this sounds to others is that you randomly leave your kid somewhere and don’t tell them that you left, which i don’t think is really what you intend.

  71. I think the media attention may be the whole point of this. Very clever, Ms. Skenazy. But clever doesn’t mean smart. I bet leave-your-kid-alone-at-the playground-day fizzles out early Saturday morning as the misty romanticism of carefree childhood starts to seem a bit overbaked and real common sense kicks in and you realize that what you’re actually doing is leaving your seven-year-old’s supervision to the responsible adults that happen to be at the playground that day.

  72. […] Take Our Children to the Park. . . And Leave Them There […]

  73. Kids need to be kids, but they also need to be armed with knowledge and awareness. They will need these for the rest of their lives, but they still need to be kids at some point. I’d rather see them play in the park (unattended) than on a playstation (unattended) all day.

  74. Are you people certifiably insane? Where have you been living, Mars?? You can’t be living on the same planet Earth the rest of us are living on, because here we have these horrible predators called CHILD MOLESTERS, and they will be out in force when they hear there are a bunch of really dumb “moms” who are leaving their children unattended in parks!

    I cannot, cannot, fathom why even one woman would think this is a good idea. Come on Mothers, read the newspapers! Children are molested, go missing, are abducted, from grocery stores, parks, even their own homes! And you want to leave them in a park? And tell everyone you are doing so? What’s the matter, don’t you LIKE the kid you have??

    This is insanity, and you won’t feel like you are back with Wally and Beav when your child goes missing, God forbid. By all means, take them to the park, but for the love of God, DON’T LEAVE THEM THERE.

    If you care about children in general, please don’t promote this naive and just plain dumb idea. Go to the park on that day, and be a good Scout, and keep an eye on the children who are so unfortuante as to have mothers who would leave their offspring unattended.

    A public park is NOT your neighborhood.
    If you value your children, NEVER leave them vulnerable to the many predators out there who are just hoping for the chance to get your child alone. My God, you may never see them again.

  75. I’ve read a few of these posts. I’m sickened by some of you who let your young children go to the park or ride bikes by themselves, etc. Or let “older” ones take the babies to the park.

    You know what? You are unfit mothers. You ought to get off your lazy you know what, and be what you have signed up to be, a MOTHER. You just don’t really care if that kid goes missing, and that is a disgrace to motherhood.

    REAL mothers don’t let their children out unsupervised. REAL mothers care more about their child’s wellbeing than chatting on the phone, texting, watching tv, or any one of the million other things lazy a*& “mothers” are doing while their children roam around with no one to protect them from the very, very real dangers in the world. Then you blubber like imbeciles on tv when the worst happens, and your poor child is a victim to some predator.

    You just don’t love your children ENOUGH. That’s it plain and obvious. I was a mother at 19, and I’ll tell you what, I was as careful as could be, and it STILL happened to my child. Never, never would I have left my 13 year old in a park, let alone what you nut jobs are proposing!

    Anyone who would do this, is unworthy to be a mother, the most important job/vocation in the world. Children are precious, unique, wonderful and special little people. They deserve so much better than this.

    Children will learn independence if you teach them how to handle it. It is learned a little at a time, and not by abandonment, however “temporary”.

    It is astounding that so many women have written to this site claiming it’s a “wonderful idea”. It’s a damn rotten idea you chowderheads! Don’t you dare leave your babies just because some nitwit thinks it’s a good idea. God help the children. Protect them from their own dumb mothers!

  76. Ok your posts are horrific. Hey lady, you, the one who is leaving your FOUR and SIX year old? You are an idiot. A certifiable idiot.

    Why don’t you fools, do your kids a favor and give them up for adoption.

    I know cats that are better mothers than you. I’ve never been so angry. Children suffer and DIE from predators, and you worthless pieces of ^%$ are intentionally leaving your babies and children to their own defenses. I am sickened.

    Hey, lady, you, who came up with this nonsense. You are also responsible, for encouraging women who obviously don’t have two connected brain cells to leave their children with sex molesters in parks. Whatever happens, you had a part in it.

    It’s not the freedom for children I am nostalgic for. It’s for women who cared enough about their children to do what it took to raise them well. Guess what ladies, if you do it right, it’s WORK. It’s the best payoff ever, a regular, grown up, responsible and mature adult, but it’s WORK.
    You took it on. You brought them into the world, now do your duty and raise them right! Dropping them off at a park is neglect, and I hope socal workers harass you unmercifully if you leave your child or children with no one to take care of them. You OUGHT to lose your parental rights, if the world had any common sense.

    If you must go and have some fun, find a responsible person to watch your child. Ladies, don’t do this foolish, foolish, thing. There are sick people out there who would love to get their hands on your child. All it takes is a moment, a trusting child.

  77. […] just consider this quote from an anonymous parent criticizing Lenore Skenazy's "Take Your Kids to the Park and Leave them There Day" scheduled for 10am tomorrow. "I would relinquish all of my possessions and give my life […]

  78. Kathleen, this isn’t about anyone being lazy or being bad parents. If you think it’s a bad idea, fine. But at least understand the motivation.

    NOBODY ON HERE IS LAZY AND EVERYBODY ON HERE LOVES THEIR KIDS!

    We just have different opinions as to what’s best for them. I work at a University, and if my kid is as helpless-without-mom-and-dad as some of the students I see, then I will have failed. Miserably.

    In fact, I honestly think it’s easier to just hover over your child 24×7. Allowing them age appropriate freedom and responsibility takes work.

    (I swore I wouldn’t respond to anyone who YELLS, but my tongue is getting bloody)

  79. I believe the key to success for this project is to educate your young children about the hazards in the world that lay in wait fror them, before hand. Pedephiles are nothing new, they’ve been around for centuries. I’m 57 yo now, but when I was about a year away from starting school my parents had a talk with me about being out and about by myself. They told me to never take candy from strangers, never get in a car with them. They never got into any details as to why, only saying that there were bad people in the world that would do BAD things to children if they get a chance. That was enough info for me at the time.

    The other thing is to scout the park you plan to take your children to. Are there gangbangers hanging around allot? Drunks and derralics? Other unsavory charactors? Are the grounds/playgound equipment in disrepair? Such a park might not be a good place to drop off your youngins.

    If your local parks allow the carry of handguns by law abiding citizens there’s pretty good odds that your children will be safe from any preditors. You see, the bad guys don’t looling for prey in areas that are occupied by armed citizens. It’s hazardous to their health. And incase your child gets inquisative and ask the person carry that gun on his hip about it, he/she might get an education about the US Constitution. Now wouldn’t that be a bonus?

    I grew up as a “free range kid” and today I’m a free range adult. So much so that I don’t depend on anyone else for my safety against the criminal element of our society. I carry a handgun every day, for defense of self and others.

  80. […] Range Kids Park Day Apparently, today is “Take your Kids to the Park – and Leave them There” Day. The idea is that kids should be able to play at the park, safely, alone, by the age of […]

  81. […] Lenore Skenazy, author of a book and blog called Free-Range Kids, has declared today a kind of kid independence day. Her suggestion: […]

  82. I was molested by a child predator. He was the janitor in our high school. Used to come up behind me and grope me. I was using the school’s computer after hours. Folksies, IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL. Annoying, yes, bur I learned to keep away from him. He only groped me twice, and ‘happened’ to come clean the bathroom while I was in it.

    On the level of hazards, he was about as bad as stepping in dog doo. I hate stepping in dog doo, and I hated getting molested.But in the long run, there are worse things, like getting sMothered by a Kathleen.

  83. WOW. Absolutely unbelievable. So because it was “not a big deal” for you to be groped from behind, means it’s OK if other children are molested, even raped?

    Do you even know what being molested means? It doesn’t mean some creepy guy touches you once or twice and you (1) let him get away scot-free, and (2) just shrug it off and laugh about it years later.

    You have a seriously warped perception of the world if that’s all you think could happen to these children if they are left unsupervised at a public park.

    Get a clue, seriously.

  84. […] has been dubbed by Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids, Take Your Children to the Park and Leave them There day. I generally don’t go to the park near my house because it’s not really…near […]

  85. I am certainly in on the idea, but, since I’m fortunate enough to live in a place where my kids get plenty of free-range outdoor play,daily, I don’t need to take them to a park and leave them there. Our neighborhood is their park. As was mine when I was growing up in Vermont. I’m lucky, I guess. Very lucky.

  86. Are you people out of your minds? Read the newpaper!

  87. Al, are you out of _your_ mind? Look up the statistics!

  88. I love how people are leaving the safety and lives of their children up to statistics.

    Good luck with this idea. I hope no children get abducted and/or murdered, but you guys apparently have all the facts and not a care in the world for the predators out there, who are VERY real and VERY much want to do unspeakable things to your… yes, YOUR, children.

    We’ll see what happens when this event occurs. If nobody gets hurt, don’t take that as proof that this is an OK idea. Any sane parent would never leave their 7 or 8 year old child unsupervised in a public park.

  89. […] I took them to a nearby park and dropped them off for a few hours. (Just kidding, I would never do such a thing—there’s some nice middle ground between […]

  90. […] honor of Free-Range Kids creator Lenore Skenazy’s “Take Your Kid to the Park & Leave Them There Day “on Saturday, I decided to hang back as much as possible this weekend, as my sons played at the […]

  91. […] honor of Free-Range Kids creator Lenore Skenazy’s “Take Your Kid to the Park & Leave Them There Day” on Saturday, I decided to hang back as much as possible this weekend, as my sons played at the […]

  92. Lenore, have you ever watched the news? Ask John Walsh what he thinks of your ridiculous idea. Or have you actually found a real life town of Mayberry?

    I just hope some foolish person doesn’t take your suggestion seriously.

  93. Oh, but Carol, the statistics! You know, how your kid being abducted is less likely than a handful of random events.

    You know, it doesn’t matter HOW likely it is your kid(s) will be abducted, the fact that it is POSSIBLE should be enough to not participate in this reckless and stupid event.

  94. “Any sane parent would never leave their 7 or 8 year old child unsupervised in a public park.”

    A generation ago, kids DID play in parks without adult supervision. So were our parents insane? Or did something change? I’m sure we had child molesters then too. That’s nothing new.

    Personally, I do think kids today are less capable because we infantilize them so much. I actually worry that most 7 and 8 year olds can’t handle being on their own for an hour.

    So I ask the detractors, at what age do YOU think children are ok at the park on their own? And in a generation, do you think that will change?

    Because the age at which we think children can handle being un-supervised at a park for an hour HAD gotten older in a generation. When will it stop?

  95. “You know, it doesn’t matter HOW likely it is your kid(s) will be abducted, the fact that it is POSSIBLE should be enough to not participate in this reckless and stupid event.”

    Since (I assume) you expose your kid(s) to the risk of driving in a vehicle, I assume that some horrible possibilities are ‘ok’ given the beneficial outcome. Where I think we differ is how beneficial playing at the park without adults is. Some of us think this is a very important part of growing up, some of you think it’s of no value.

    That is, I think we agree on the ‘bad’ side of the equation, it’s the ‘good’ side that we disagree on, or perhaps you are ignoring.

    The bad can never ever trump the good, or we’ll be wearing helmets to bed.

  96. You guys really gotta stop using the car scenario as an example.

    Yes, driving is risky, but there are ways to reduce the risk of injury or death: seat belts, careful driving, etc. Sure, it’s fun for a teenager to go 20 miles over the speed limit; barring the fact that it’s illegal, it’s also very reckless and dangerous. But it’s all about the kids, right?

    Leaving a 7 or 8 year old at a park alone is very similar. You can reduce the risk of injury or death (by predators) by watching them. I’m not saying you shadow their every move, but stand off to the side and just watch them.

    You guys constantly ignore the fact that predators are out there, and they exist.

    I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree… but mark my words, if this becomes a widespread thing, somebody’s child will be abducted eventually. It’s inevitable.

  97. “but mark my words, if this becomes a widespread thing, somebody’s child will be abducted eventually. It’s inevitable” – TerranRich

    The problem is that it doesn’t matter if it’s a widespread thing, or if it’s never done at all. Somebody’s child will be abducted eventually – no matter what. Maybe a 16 year old at a gas station while he/she is responsibly filling up the tank of the car they drive responsibly. Or maybe an 8 year old who’s mother or father left the living room for one minute to go to the washroom (I’m certain parents of 8 year olds still have to go pee).

    The world is not safe. But like you say, there are precautions we can take to make things safer. I agree with your driving precautions, but I differ on what precautions you think will help when it comes to protecting children at a park. It is much better to teach children what to do when they are alone and something bad happens or someone suspicious is around than it is to expect that you will be able to be present for all or even most of the crazy things that happen during their first 20 years of life.

    Please remember that we really have been duped when it comes to the safety of the world. There are countries in Africa where it really is as dangerous as the media would have us believe it is here. And yet little girls (despite the probability that they will be raped along their way) are required to go get water for their families. They just don’t have the choice. The difference here is that we’ve decided that independence is not necessity and that we can control our environments. We can’t, and we never will.

    Let us embrace the freedom that we do have, instead of constantly enslaving ourselves to fear.

  98. Wow. Do you people not even understand that by leaving your kids alone at a park with no adult supervision, you are INCREASING the risk by which they may be abducted. Sure, there’s a risk to everything, but you are ADDING to that risk. Do you not see that?

    And I realize that we were talking about children as passengers in cars, but that’s the same thing. Are you going to not require your children to wear seat belts, because it may be restrictive to their personal freedom? Hell no. You make them wear their seat belt, because if an accident does occur, their chances of surviving will be increased dramatically.

    It’s comparable to leaving your kids at a park. If you’re there watching them, you dramatically reduce the risk of something happening to them. Sure, something could still happen, but the risk is LOWER.

    Don’t play games with your children’s safety, just because you want them to experience some fleeting moment of personal freedom. It’s just not worth it.

  99. I think it is really important to remember that children are most in danger of being harmed by their friends and relatives. Stranger abductions do happen but they are not as prevalent as the media make it seem. So, to all these people who are afraid to let their children out of the house I’d like to remind them to carefully screen their babysitters. Oh yeah, and your friends and relatives too, and don’t forget your pastors and scout leaders.

  100. Yet another person sidestepping the issue. Yes, there are dangers everywhere, but there are ways to reduce those risks. Leaving your children ALONE at a park with no supervision goes WAY beyond “letting them out of the house” and increases the risk.

    I still stand by my seat belt analogy. You can say it’s restrictive and uncomfortable, but it’s for their own safety. That’s not something you take lightly.

  101. Well, my boy’s three, bit young to be left in a playground (although I do very much stand back and let him get on with his own thing – I usually take a book, it’s fab!)

    But on reading through this, I had a few thoughts.

    Firstly, I’m guessing most of the commenters are USian – there was one talking about a playground that was supervised by armed guards! Well, I know you in the US have a different view to us in the UK on firearms but I have to be honest, I’d be a hell of a lot more scared of something going wrong and one of the kids getting caught in the firing line than of some ZOMGPAEDOMOLESTER.

    I mean, really? Is this what it’s come to in the US? You have armed guards around playgrounds?! Thank heavens, in parks and playgrounds in nice areas we tend to have one or two nice (and non-armed!) park wardens whose powers are limited to saying, “oi, kids! Stop that!” and making sure dog owners use a pooperscooper. I’m not about to start a big Britain vs US argument on gun ownership and your all powerful first or second ammendment or whatever it is, you’ve all made up your minds on that score, but I am curious as to how on earth gun protected playgrounds can be considered in the slightest bit “free range”?

    I ask because all your commenters are happy to (rightly, imo) invalidate the arguments of the ZOMGPAEDOMOLESTER trolls, but someone comes along and talks about armed guards protecting a playground and no one says anything, because presumably this is all totally “free range”?

    Another thing I have always wondered about “free range parenting”, and in the main I’m a fan, is just how many of its proponents live in anything approaching what here are termed “sink estates”, areas where there is a high proportion of crime and deprivation?

    I ask, because I grew up in such an area and the thought of going to my local playground – although I was technically allowed by my parents (it was the eighties!) – scared the crap out of me; kids who did dare to venture there often ended up getting mugged or beaten up by the older kids, and there were even a few kniving incidents. Although I was allowed to roam around as I liked, I tried to avoid leaving the house as did quite a few kids in my area, after I experienced some bloody awful stuff (and again, from older kids), one incident involving a lot of pain and a call to the police without having to go into too many details.

    Sometimes reading this site and some of the comments here I get the feeling few of you grew up in areas like this, and that there is a certain element of what I suppose one might term “class privilege” in letting your children have a wholly free range upbringing. Maybe I’m missing the blog posts where this has been addressed, so do feel free to point me in their direction.

    I don’t live in such an area now (although it’s far from a posh or middle class suburb) but I think I’d still want to apply a bit of caution were I to leave my child in a playground (and some of it’s been suggested here, in fairness; a mobile telephone is not a bad idea if I could afford to buy one for my child, a better idea for me would be to send him with a neighbour’s kids; safety in numbers, perhaps?)

    I’ve waffled terribly, but I wanted to get my two pence in. Totally agree, however, with the commenters who point out there’s a far greater risk from driving. This is why I’m glad I can’t afford a car.🙂

  102. It’s a sad world we live in when we as adults feel the need to protect our children to the point of fostering unhealthy fear and paranoia around them. Parks are empty of children playing by themselves or with others their own age, and are full of parents supervising them in case something should happen. Kids are driven to schools even though the distance from their homes is a mere 5-15 minute walk. It’s better for the extra-curricular activities to be organized, again with adult supervision instead of allowing them the freedom to just play in the out-of-doors without surveillance. Some parents are becoming imprisoned themselves when they are too timid to obtain baby-sitters for their toddlers because of teenage drugs. Numerous neighbourhoods are becoming silent of the laughter of the young ones playing in the fresh air. The anxiety and distress that we are putting on ourselves is detrimental to the growth of our children, leaving them timid and apprehensive when they become young adults hoping to venture out on their own. If they have not been taught to live in this world in their formative years, how can we expect confidence and self-reliance in them later?

    What prompted me to write this is the CBC radio interview with Lenore Skenazy who wrote “Free Range Kids”. She headed up a ‘Leave Kids at the Park Day’ this past weekend. I applaud her! But apparently her decision to do this didn’t come without controversy. In my opinion, some of us have become fearful neurotic adults who cannot leave our children alone for one minute. Is this the way we wish to raise them, let alone how we want to live our own lives?

    We allow ourselves to be drawn into the full-blown media coverage each time a child is hurt or missing, fueling terrors onto our kids. It’s also becoming old hat when parents today state ‘it’s different today’. I am not debating this fact; it is different. But in the 60’s times were different, in the 40’s, and so on. In each generation, the effects were the same and relevant to that time. I grew up in the 60’s. Sure I played outside with the other kids on my street but my parents taught me what I needed to know to have no supervision. We weren’t without having the odd car slow down beside us to entice us in. In high school, I was in the middle of the drug revolution. Sure there were the soft drugs like marijuana when I could get high on just the smell of it at the Saturday night dances in the school washrooms. But then there was LSD, Acid, Speed, Cocaine and the list goes on. My high school reportedly had the highest incidence of drugs in the city. Narks were familiar at our dances. Did it effect me personally? No. Was I taught how to protect myself? Yes. That certainly didn’t mean that bad things didn’t happen. My best friend was unknowingly slipped acid into a drink at a party when she was 16. My other friend dropped out of high school at age 15 when she became messed up with LSD which led to harder drugs.

    If we are so protective now in not letting our children out of our sight even for a minute, what does the next generation of parents face, and the next, when they have different dilemmas to deal with. We always needed to protect our children – this hasn’t changed, but not to the extreme degree that they eventually cannot function as adults. Shouldn’t we be teaching them the survival skills to live in this world so they can become self-reliant and responsible? If our fears didn’t control us, maybe the near empty playgrounds, parks, and neighbourhoods which have now attracted the danger we dreaded because they are empty, would soon hear the much-needed laughter making them safer just by the sheer numbers of our children playing again.

  103. @Rosemary Cottage

    I think he was actually talking about armed civilians, not armed officials. I was tempted to make a comment about the pedophiles being armed as well, but, I’ve learned to leave that argument well enough alone. It doesn’t really have anything to do with FRK. There are adults who fondly remember learning to shoot as being part of their FR childhood. Not everyone in the US is so enamored with guns, hence the debate which can get very out of hand.

  104. It sounds very much like the supporters of this method live in a very safe, very secure neighborhood where the crime rate is low enough to not be worried too much about predators.

    And using the “hilarious” word “ZOMGPAEDOMOLESTERS” does not negate the fact that they exist and are out there. There are many cases near where I live, where kids are abducted, so I don’t take this stuff lightly.

    I really don’t see what’s so “sad” about supervising your kids at the park. Again, it’s not like you’re shadowing their every move, running around frantically with every step they take. That’s not necessary.

    My kids are 2 and 3 and I stand off on the sidelines and glance at them every now and again. And you damn well better believe that when they’re 7 and 8 I won’t just drop them off at the park and leave them there.

    If I ever did that, my ex-wife would call social services on me and I’d never see them again. You know why? Because it’s a highly stupid thing to do. And because she said she would after I told her about that hypothetical scenario.🙂

    I know this kind of argument isn’t looked upon very highly, but I was supervised by my parents in most outdoor activities until I was around 12 or so. Then I was pretty much allowed to ride my bike within a reasonable radius (usually 10 miles or so). And I turned out just fine.

    It’s my belief that children aren’t “ready” to be left on their own until they’re teenagers. As it is, we have enough problems with “free range” teenagers at our malls.😛

  105. […] original, blunt and eminently quotable. When I heard about her efforts to establish May 22 as “Take Our Children to the Park and Leave Them There Day,”, I called her for another interview, and I had a ton of fun writing the […]

  106. […] and an avalanche of blogs for about a week now – ever since I declared last Saturday “Take our children to the park … and leave them there” […]

  107. “You just don’t love your children ENOUGH. That’s it plain and obvious. I was a mother at 19, and I’ll tell you what, I was as careful as could be, and it STILL happened to my child. Never, never would I have left my 13 year old in a park, let alone what you nut jobs are proposing!”

    Well, I guess that proves that your child would have been just as safe without your “careful” parenting.

  108. […] I am talking about this is because recently Skenazy called for a take our kids to the park and leave em there day. The idea being that for most kids starting at age 7 and up some free play without a […]

  109. […] yet, many parents today reacted with horror to Lenore Skenazy’s suggestion that we allow our kids to play alone in the park. Skenazy writes a blog, Free Range Kids, that promotes the idea that worrying less about safety […]

  110. […] you know May 22 was “Take Our Children to the Park … & Leave Them There Day“? Yep. It was meant to get kids back into the outdoors, playing freely, without moms and dads […]

  111. […] you know May 22 was “Take Our Children to the Park … & Leave Them There Day“? Yep. It was meant to get kids back into the outdoors, playing freely, without moms and dads […]

  112. […] press, or heard her getting interviewed on major television networks. She was responsible for the ‘Take Our Children to the Park… & Leave Them There Day’ campaign in May of this […]

  113. I believe the person who wrote & proposed this ludacris idea of leaving a small child at a park alone, is a criminal & pedophile trying to coax people to leave children unattended and ripe for the taking!!!!! I can’t possibly concieve of any other rational reason, anyone in this day & age, would make such a radical, unsafe & risky public mass suggestion!!! CraZy!!! Not my child!! Don’t care what your reasonings are! Don’t care if I DID wander parks alone as a child!! And it doesn’t matter what you teach your children or if they move in packs!! Criminals & pedophiles have thought this through! And generally, there’s no amount of self defense a child can display that will successfully fend off a grown adult!!! Are there REALLY people out there who are subscribing to this horrific idea?!?!?! REALLY!! What kind of parents would?? I’m besides myself just reading this garbage!!

  114. And let me add: I love my children w/ every inch of my being!!! I choose to have them so it is my duty to protect them w/ everything I got!! Call me a “hovering parent”, “overbearing”, “overprotective”??? Call me what you will, I’ve been called far worse but what you can never EVER call me is a parent who cares so little that I would drop my child off in a public park to play unattended!!! NONSENSE!!! Yes, I want my children to live freely and w/out fear but unfortunately, this is the real world and there are so many bad people out there, that is a FACT!! A scary scary fact!!! I say play children!! Play and jump & run and climb trees…. I’ll be right over here watching!! Watching very close and ready to pounce at a moments notice!!! I will watch my child play & EVERY other child in that park as if they were my own!! THAT is what us adults and parents should be doing for our children, for ALL children!! This is an irresponsible, ludacris, risky & utterly craZy idea!!! Leave your children at the park day????? How about “let your 5 month old swim unattended day”???? I’m repulsed!!!

  115. […] post regarding The Bubble Wrap Generation, I found it strangely appropriate that I learned about “Take Our Children to the Park…& Leave Them There Day” this morning on the […]

  116. Simple math can be applied here. 9 out of 10 child molestations are by people the child knows. Assuming the child knows 300 adults, and 3,000,000 other adults are in the city, NINETY PERCENT of molestations will be from the 300 combined, and ten percent from the 3,000,000 combined. Break this down and you find out that a random person the kid knows is one hundred thousand times more likely to molest the kid than a given random stranger is. I ran the figures every way possible and saw that. Thus a case can be made (sarcasm): You should not trust the child around an adult he/she knows unless 99,999 strangers are there to protect him/her from that person.

  117. […] press, or heard her getting interviewed on major television networks. She was responsible for the ‘Take Our Children to the Park… & Leave Them There Day’ campaign in May of […]

  118. […] And this month she coined the very first ‘Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day.’ […]

  119. […] Lenore Skenazy is a public speaker and author of the book and blog, “Free-Range Kids.” She has declared this Saturday, May 22, “Take Our Children to the Park … And Leave Them There Day.”    […]

  120. Cheers! Great to hear this common sense approach, being from Australia, we love the outdoors, but so many kids miss out on free-range time. I live opposite a park and I see the helicopter parents stifling their kids imagination, as well as the kids left to roam the streets till 10pm. My 8 yr old has learning disabilities so it was hard FOR ME to let go but reading this debate helped me feel better about giving him more independance. Thank you

  121. Bad idea, too many sexual predators in the park, if there is a pond or river, dangeorus too.

  122. […] walk to friends’ houses, I don’t leave them at the playground (have you heard of Take Our Children to the Park…& Leave Them There Day?), I barely let them near the oven, and in general, I feel like an over-protective […]

  123. […] your kids to the park and leave them” day a few years ago! The second year it fell on Saturday May 22nd! Last year it fell on Saturday May 21st! And this year it will be on Saturday May 19th! Thats right […]

  124. […] walk to friends’ houses, I don’t leave them at the playground (have you heard of Take Our Children to the Park…& Leave Them There Day?), I barely let them near the oven, and in general, I feel like an over-protective […]

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