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We all want it for our kids don’t we?
Not arrogance. Or brashness. Or dodgy bravado.
Heck. There’s enough of that going round already!
Just the confidence to let go and stride out – more and more – on their own.
The confidence, basically, to grow up.
It’s the natural order of things, isn’t it? For all creatures.
So WHY has it become so hard?
Why are so many kids – and young adults – overwhelmed by anxiety?
And why do we – as parents – lack the confidence to let go ourselves?
WELL something did change!
And I know, it’s always easy to think, “Oh, things used to be different in the old days” …
BUT actually, they did.
Today’s children – right up to 11 AND beyond – spend almost NO time out of sight of an adult.
Except when babysat by a screen!
This is a MASSIVE change in the last 20 years.
And the impact is ENORMOUS for our children.
But also for us.
We are ALL missing out on key developmental milestones.
The Missing Developmental Milestones
Because the simple SECRET to building kids confidence is giving them increasing independence.
It doesn’t work the other way round!
Children need the experience of big chunky periods of unobserved play every week.
AND they need the chance to deal with bigger and bigger risks on their own.
Managing their own time and space and solving problems with other kids – without an adult anywhere in sight to jump in! – is what gives them the confidence to do more of it.
AND gives US the confidence to leave them to it. And STOP interfering.
But How Do I Do That?
BUT – you shout – “How do I do that practically?”
In today’s world?
Where the roads aren’t safe?
And people don’t know neighbours in the same way?
And there are nasty people out there?
AND I am with you on this! It’s hard.
For as much as I love all the thinking behind the free range kids movement.
Putting it in practice in our family life IS tricky. Really tricky.
SO to change things up – and try and get us into a virtuous circle of freedom and confidence – I came up with 10 super practical ways to give my 7 year old more freedom AND responsibility.
So she gets the opportunity to build her confidence in herself.
AND I strengthen my confidence in letting go.
They are not – mostly – over night changes.
Just simple steps we are taking week-by-week, month-by-month, year-by-year …
10 Simple Ways To Build Kids Confidence
- At least an hour of free play everyday – NO crafts, NO organised activities, NO clubs, NO supervision, NO screentime, NO hovering!
- Play out of sight in the garden – shut the door
- Go into a shop on their own with a friend to buy something
- Go down the street to a friend’s house to ask them to play
- Walk to the post box on their own to post a letter (or any bit can do without crossing roads)
- Play out of sight at the park or in the woods
- Ride around the park on bikes
- Run an errand to a local shop with a friend or sibling (initially without roads to cross)
- Walk part of the way to school on own (a little further each time)
- Take a bus without an adult – this sounds enormous to me right now, BUT I did it when I was 7!
If you want to build your kids confidence do give these a go – and let me know how you get on.
And for more ideas on giving children the freedom to build their confidence check out …
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