Unsupervised Play & Autonomy Reduce Kids' Anxiety

NPR ED: Empowering Kids in an Anxious World

Most kids no longer engage in unsupervised play without screens or parents watching over them at all times. It prevents kids from developing important life skills: resolving disputes, planning time, managing games. Engagement in manageable risks promotes autonomy, which "feeds self-esteem and mental health."  

Excellent points on the benefits of unsupervised play and providing kids' with autonomy in this review of two new books by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, The Good News About Bad Behavior and William Stixrud, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Child More Control over Their Lives.

Bottom line: Unsupervised play, taking manageable risks and providing kids with control over their lives promote the development of life skills and mental health. 

Read entire NPR ED review here.



Letting our Kids Practice Planning, Decision-making

Allowing our kids to practice planning, decision-making and problem-solving sounds much easier than it is. For sure! It requires us parents to let go of our well-meaning intentions to help our kids and provide space for our kids to do the task themselves. It is hard to let go especially in the busy lives we lead. It can be maddening to watch and wait while our child ties her shoelaces or realize that our freshman left his soccer cleats at home, again.

In other words, "being intentionally lazy," as the author of this Washington Post article recommends is not lazy at all. Sitting back and allowing space and time for our kids to sort things out for themselves, requires lots of energy and patience on the part of us parents and caregivers. And my goodness, does it ever require deep breathing! By doing so though, we provide our kids with the opportunity to practice their executive functioning: goal-setting and follow-though, decision-making, regulation of emotions and problem-solving. We help them acquire the skills they need to be successful in life.

The Compelling Case for Being an "Intentionally Lazy' Parent