As parents, we all want our children to be close to us, but this is where we’ve got to remember that if we hold them too close, this can be to the detriment of their development.
A very good example is when they’re a newborn baby as it’s much easier in so many ways because they are the bundle of joy that we were meant to protect, but when it comes to letting our children out by themselves as soon as they’re an appropriate age, what are the things that we need to bear in mind?
Make Sure You Trust the “Environment”
As parents, we must develop trust in our children and the environment. This is why we need to start thinking about where our children go, and what the potential risks are.
We can trust our children’s abilities, but if they sustained a burn injury because of another party, this can be enough to put us off ever letting them outside the house again!
We must learn to trust the environment they are going into, which, at the very outset, is about providing healthy boundaries for them.
For example, the local park can be a very good place to begin as you can let them into an environment that you know and they are familiar with. When we trust the environment, we can feel more relaxed.
Take Baby Steps
Letting them play in the park is a fantastic place to begin because it provides that all-important familiarity for them and us. To ensure they feel safe and that we feel reassured that they are going to be ok is about taking it step-by-step.
You need to find environments where you can have slight control over the setting. This is why a park is a great place to begin, but you need to lengthen that invisible cord between you and your child over time.
When your child is old enough to go to a birthday party alone, this is the perfect time for you to leave them to their own devices. Of course, when you drop them off at a birthday party, you have got to make sure they are old enough to navigate the environment, but this is why it’s important that you give them the skills to fend for themselves.
When we drop a child off at a birthday party, they are the responsibility of the responsible adult in charge. And the reality is that you may not be very trusting of that responsible adult!
This is why it’s important that you give your children the skills to navigate this environment. Some skills include being assertive, ensuring that they feel they can speak to the adult in charge, and knowing what to do in an emergency.
In this situation, you may ponder giving them a mobile phone. Of course, doing this means that they will potentially use the mobile phone for several reasons rather than letting you know they are safe and sound!
To ensure that they are safe in a different environment, constantly expose them to it so they get used to it, but it also makes sure you get used to it.
Look at Your Insecurities Too!
Letting our children out by themselves could be a long battle. We might feel that we relent to pressures because they are telling us they are ready, but this is why we’ve got to address if we are the problem. It is so easy to be overprotective, so we must learn to relax our insecurities.
Because if you have the traits of a helicopter parent, this will be detrimental to your child in the long run. Helicopter parents will never let their children do things alone, which is why, when a child turns 8 or 9 years old, they demand more freedom.
And once your child has shown you they are trustworthy; your insecurities will slowly disappear. This is why it is so important for us to be ready.
If you see other parents letting their children out, this will result in a lot of pressure from your child, but this is why you need to be ready, and you know your child best. Because if they still have not mastered crossing a street or being honest, you’ve got to work harder at ensuring that they get those skills right first.
You have to trust your child that they will make good choices by themselves, but as parents, it can be hard to trust the world around you. Many parents may trust their children but are still frightened about what could happen when they are out of the house.
And this is where you could benefit from understanding the environment, taking baby steps, and ensuring that your anxieties are unfounded. This is why looking at things like your local crime statistics is a good idea. If you can see if crime is decreasing, this might give you a bit more peace of mind.
The toughest thing about letting your child out alone for the first time is that you have many things to work through. They may be telling you they are ready, but you’ve got to trust your instincts.
If they still haven’t mastered the basics or earned your trust, you may want to hold off for a bit longer. But it’s also important to recognize if you are holding them back. This is why these three areas are so important.
Get the balance between them, and you will feel far more inclined to let your child out. The reality is that it’s all about taking it slow and steady.
When our children attempt to twist your arm to let them out so they can be with their friends, you may feel like you need to relent, and this could be a big test for them, but we must look at everything in the round!