Let Our Children Move
I know we are all trying to do our best and I am in no way calling anyone out or trying to criticize any one person's parenting, but we are a collective whole and as a whole we really need to reconsider the choices we are making. In specific, the movement we are, and more often than not, aren't making. I hope you had the time to read the above article, if not, I hope you'll find the time at some point. This information gets me down, I have to be honest, but rather than dwell on the negatives, let's talk about how we can work on this.
Incorporate movement into your daily routine. Carve out time to take your kids to the park, for a walk around the neighbourhood or if they are old enough, allow them the freedom of exploring on their own. I agree that safety is important and I know first hand of the reasons why parents are holding tight to their children, but we need to find a balance. If you're not comfortable letting your kids go alone then choose to accompany them, find a neighbour that is older that would go with them, take turns with other parents accompanying all of the kids to the park. And it doesn't even need to be a park! Have a dirt field near your house? A grassy hill? An empty parking lot? Kids don't require much to have a good time and further the unstructured play is even better for them! You don't have to hold their hands the whole time, seize the chance to have some 'you' time outside while the kids all play. Bring a book for you to read, meditate, soak in the weather - being outside is just as important for you as it is for our kids!
Be neighbourly! Some of the above mentioned ideas will involve you taking the time to get to know your neighbours - and maybe you already do - which is awesome. More and more we are finding that people no longer know their neighbours! This is such an absurd happening! We humans have always lived in communities, we thrive in communities, let's not let go of that too. Take the time to go and say hello to your neighbours, park on your driveway or on the street rather than inside your garage, allowing for more opportunities to run into a neighbour. This isn't only about meeting neighbours so you can take turns taking the kids to the park - this is so much more. We need each other and it's okay to admit that! Days can be long, nights can be long, we need to expand our support circles to include those in close proximity so that we feel comfortable asking for help, offering help or simply hanging out!
Talk to your kids about strangers or potential dangers. I know this is a valid concern. I know we can't pretend that bad things don't happen. Ignorance will get us no where, but education will empower us all. Talk to your kids about the dangers they face outside, let them know these possibilities exist so that they can make informed decisions when choosing where to go or who to go with. Obviously you know your child, you know when to trust them with this responsibility and I am not suggesting any specific blanket age - you will know when your child is ready. But when they are ready talk to them! Equip them with what they need to keep themselves as safe as possible.
I'm not perfect. I consciously work on these things, and more, everyday. But maybe if we all took the time to add these things into our lives we could make a change for our kids. Let's let our children move, let's be great neighbours and let's inform our children to increase their independence. Let's make changes to allow our children longer, healthier lives.