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Free Kids are Healthy Kids

June 27th, 2007

It’s not a new theory to readers of this blog, but a big “yea!” to Lucia Corbella for discussing it:

For most school-aged children in Canada, today is that most marvellous of days — the last day of school.

And for those of us older than, say, 35, the last day of school represented much more than just no homework. It also meant little supervision and not many plans. It meant freedom to just kick around unsupervised.

Not any more. Now our kids’ summers aren’t so much about freedom and finding their own fun. Instead they are structured and almost always supervised.

Apparently a new British study, “Natural thinking: Investigating the links Between the Natural Environment and Mental Health” by Dr. William Bird, says not giving children freedom to explore the natural world leads to higher incidence of stress, ADHD, rage, impulsiveness and criminality in children.

Wat’s really shocking is that this news to anyone. Kids need freedom, they need responsibility and they need time to ponder the world, and their world. Constant stimulus is the worst thing for children, and the thing that more and more children are getting.

I have reviewed Silken Lauman’s Child’s Play and talked about Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods before, and won’t rehash. But they both make the clear point that we do a disservice to our kids when we over protect them, and this study is one more argument in for that point.

The Kids are Alright

  1. Richard Evans
    June 28th, 2007 at 19:37 | #1

    I’ve been thinking the same thing while looking at my kids. When I was their age I was roaming at will. Gone for hours on end without Mom knowing where I was and it wasn’t a big deal. I was with the neiborghood kids and their folks didn’t know where they were either…

    Back then the pederasties were locked up and the kids could venture out. Nowadays, the pederasties are the ones roaming free…

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