*This is a collaborative post
There will come a time when your children want more freedom. This is good. This is normal. It is them exploring the world around them and wanting to try things for themselves – this might be a solo bike ride, walking to the local shops, or going out with friends to the cinema with no parents in tow.
While it’s good for children to want these things, parents might feel uncomfortable with the idea. After all, for the last ten, 11, 12, or so years, you’ve done everything for your child and been with them at all times (or most of the time, barring school and play dates at other kids’ houses). So what now? You know giving them freedom is important, but it’s a big, scary step. Don’t worry; every parent feels the same, and if you read on, you’ll get some useful tips on how to make the step much less daunting.
Think Of The Future
If you’re having a lot of trouble letting go (which is only natural), one way to get past this is to think of the future. There’s no way you want your child to get to their student accommodation at university and not know how to navigate anywhere by themselves or how to buy things in a shop.
When you think of the future, you can work out what freedoms are going to be most useful and at what age. Keeping all this in mind will alleviate some of the worry and help you understand what is needed for your kids to live a happy, healthy, easy (as far as possible) life.
What Can They Already Do?
One way to start is to look at what your children can already do and build up an idea around that. So if they already help you out in the kitchen, perhaps they can have a little more freedom to make their own meals from scratch. Or if they walk with you to school or the local shop, perhaps walk half the way with them and watch them finish the last part of the journey (you’ll need to work out the best route and position to do this, of course). As time goes on, you can extend these freedoms once you and they are comfortable with them.
Give Your Child The Skills They Need
A big part of giving your child more freedom is teaching them the skills they need to stay as safe as possible. As your child gets older, you need to teach them the skills and knowledge they’ll need to get around in the world. You should teach them how to stay safe when crossing the street, how to swim, and how to judge the level of risk in a situation.
Different kids are at different stages of development, so teaching them certain skills won’t always be enough. They must also be intelligent and able to follow the rules that have been set for them. Only you will be able to judge this and know for sure what your child is capable of and how well they can manage.