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Free Range Parenting is stepping back and allowing your child to experience the world around them,trusting in them to learn from their mistakes and believing they are a capable young humans.As a free range parent you encourage your children to explore their environment and challenge themselves out in the world ,whether they are climbing high up in a tree or doing something for the first time on their own ,you observe them from far,you let their own curiosity guide them with little interference. 

 - Don’t child proof the world - world proof your child -

"The culture now is dominated  by
helicopter parents who cocoon their children
from experiencing real life 
and struggle to make
good decisions independently"

Two Important Free Range Parenting Principles

in your child that
they are a capable young beings.

Let go of the fear and encourage independence

Fear is our first instinct approach when raising children ,we think we can control every negative outcome in our child's life when in reality we as human beings cannot learn if we have not experienced mistakes. Us as parents need to allow our children to grow from their mistake and encourage them  to try new things on their own, even if we know the possibility of something negative may  happen. In reality the reward out ways the potential risks as we teach our kids responsible ways to manage tasks safely and appropriately to maximise a positive outcome. It could be as simple as allowing our child to climb higher in a tree without letting our fear tell them to be careful and hop down while we hold their hands or telling them not to climb to high otherwise they will fall, instead we could try to take a step back and encourage them so they feel confident in their ability to climb while gently reminding them to be careful . Instead we think about all the bad things that could happen, and believe they would happen if we don't intervene when in reality our children are a lot more capable and intelligent of handling themselves that we need to accept.

Free-ranging parenting, like all parenting, takes a lot of hard work
and for the kids, being free-range is a hard-earned privilege

 Establish rules,and discuss the potential risks beforehand with your child

Like every style of parenting Free Range Parents believe highly in  establishing a set of  ground rules with their child usually before allowing the child to do a independent task  ,and they make sure their child follows this rules  . There might be different rules for different tasks such as different safety guidelines you want your child to follow, like if your child wants to ride the bus alone,first you would start  teaching your child how to read bus stop charts, making sure they understand bus fares & they have the money for those fares, you'd make sure they are aware of there bus stop destinations, you might even ride the bus with them until you know they are ready to go it alone, asking them to message or call you when they arrive. It could be even  reminding them to always be alert while using a dangerous tool (pocketknife) & the negative consequence that may happen if their not careful will help make your child more self vigilant .Knowing your child understands the consequences of their actions , and is following  the safety directions you have discussed with them will make the whole "Free Range Parenting" method more comfortable for you as the parent knowing your child is becoming responsible and understands how to cope in risky situations.

Image by Annie Spratt

Children who are free-range have the independence and trust of their parents  to dictate many aspects of their lives without having their parents constantly monitoring them.As a Free range parent you help build your childs confidence and self-sufficiency by encouraging them to learn as they go ,while also giving them the guidance and support when they require. You do not "helicopter"over them as you yourself knows what is feels like to constantly be monitored when trying to figure out your place in this world.The result is counter-intuitive, rather than your child being spoiled and reliant on others for everything they do, successful free-range children learn problem-solving skills ,gain a sense of independence, confidence and creativity skills .They learn first - hand the cost of making mistakes while learning to take  responsibility for their own  actions A child who has been given the freedom to free range learns how to cope and  navigate the challenges of life they learn essential skills that prepare them for adult hood.After all, being an adult is to be independent, solve problems and make responsible decisions.

Free range parents understand that they can’t be around their children at every moment to guide and protect them so they teach their child the skills and tools they might need to help cope with their experiences out in the real world and step back and allow them to put those teachings to work.

Training your child to to be as independent as possible and letting them know that they are capable beings, will make their transition into adulthood smoother.

Free-range parenting isn’t neglectful,-its permissive parenting as a parent you will always be involved  teaching your child  essential life skills, helping guide your child through different challenges that arise and always be their to help inform them about different  safety precautions. But when it comes to practicing these lessons in real life, you  step back and let your child take the wheel. The culture now compared to

 20 years ago is dominated  by helicopter parents who cocoon their children from experiencing real life consequences and struggle to make good decisions independently. "Hovering" over   dismisses your child to  learn to cope with life challenges  while making it harder for your child to grow and thrive out in the real world as young adults.


Over twenty years ago there was a time it was the normal to allow children to roam the neighbour until dark without labelling their parents as careless. Times have surely changed where judgement and fear have empowered our style of parenting.Parents need to “chill out” and refrain from trying to micromanaging their children’s behaviour and activities .That is what Free range parenting is all about.Free Range Parenting has always been around and I'm sure most of our parents and their parents before hand, Had a "free range" style childhood .The Free Range Kids movement started in 2008 when American journalist Lenore Skenazy famously let her 9-year-old son find his way home on the New York City subway system alone she wrote a column about it in the New York Sun and it caused a uproar,  main stream duped her Americas worst parent. Skenanzy is clear that she taught him the necessary tools and made sure he was capable of the task independent beforehand, But of course everyone still has their labels and opinions about her.Yet since then she has uplifted the Free Range Parenting movement she has written  a book and blog , -Free-Range Kids,

as well as Let Grow, - an organisation that promotes children’s independence, and has free resources for schools and parents.

She states that if children don’t fail, they can’t learn that they can get back up, dust themselves off and go on with their lives.” No one wants their child to fall off his or her bike, especially at the risk of a serious injury. But if we want our children to learn how to ride a bike, we can’t hold onto the back of the bike forever.

When kids fall off and they will, they learn two important lessons:

  • its okay to fail, it won't last forever

  • there is joy in learning new things.

Giving children the freedom to fail instils in them the courage to try – and it is only by trying that they will gain the basic skills needed to thrive in the adult world

She also discusses the damaging effect's of mainstream parenting, the school system and organised activities on youth today. Stating Todays mainstream parenting methods are unacceptable we inject our children with  pervasive fear that danger lurks around every corner. Their believe that future success depends on their child being constantly involved in structured activities from a young age. - these parental fears promote unnecessary protection from risk, and they limit the ability of children to mature properly and learn independence.

Image by Nathan Dumlao

Being a responsible free range parent you work with your child to suit their age and capabilities , you will teach them the necessity first before you let them run of in the world -Free Range …

Say if they are going to start to walk to school on their own for the first time, you need to make sure they have the right set of tools first to ensure they can successfully and safely make their way to school without supervision  , you could start first by walking with them there until you know they will remember the way on their own, teach them how to safely cross the roads, discuss stranger danger with them or-maybe they need to sign in before the enter the school grounds-you can show them where they need to sign -and once you understand that your child will be able to successfully complete the task independently and only then  (you will let your child walk to school on their own) you might also  suggest for them to text you once they have arrived letting you know they have made it- this will help you adjust and reassure your fear.- gradually your child will become more confident and may even ask to walk to the park with friends, or if they could go up to the local corner shop. Knowing they are following your ground rules and being self vigilant will help them in the transition of being responsible, independent young adults..Trust and putting fear aside takes time, it will not come over night, so remember for your child to be free ranged it is  hard earned privilege.

Free-Range Parenting Style

voted winner of Australian tv program- Parental Guidance

The Free-range parents, Penny and Daniel, were voted as the best style of parenting on the show parental guidance in 2021 by their cast-mates after ​10 sets of parents with very different parenting styles put their methods to the test on Parental Guidance over a spam of 26 episodes -, to determine who has Australia's best parenting style.To determine the winner, the other parents put forward a vote on whose parenting style is the most effective, whose is the most future-proof, and who they learned the most from.

Hosts of the Channel Nine show Dr Justin Coulson one of Australia's leading parenting experts and host Allison Langdon. The hosts and other families all agreed they liked how Penny and Daniel trusted their children to make good choices, gave them age-appropriate freedoms and made sure there was fun along the way. Their style paid off with the kids regularly displaying resilience, courage and maturity beyond their years. 



Teach age appropriate skills

Allowing your child to tackle age appriopate skills, the natural consequences and achieve the end reward by giving them the necessary tools they will need to tackle the task first and then step back and let your child practise those skills with little interference from you.

example-your 6 year old might want to make scrambled eggs,you show them how to crack a egg,you tell them to add say 6 eggs a little milk,a spoon of butter,ect,then you allow them to complete the task independently ,you will be suprised how accurate your child is with measurements when they know they are in control of how the food tastes. You could turn the stove top on and allow your child to stir in the eggs explaining to them they need to notice the eggs going fluffy,by allowing them to experience a life skill like this-cooking and enjoy the reward-satisfaction-yummy eggs and if any "consequences-a little burn-egg shell. ect You are preparing your child for independence and help build their resilience


Allow children To Experience Consequence

Know and understand that your child may not do a perfect job or task at first,being free range means to resist the urge to fix and criticize your childs faults, allowing your child to experience the consequences of their mistakes will help to teach your child to take responsibility for their actions, help build their problem solving skills and  to future proof "resilience". Simply praise their efforts!

The reward always outweighs the potentially risk,life is not always predictable, so teach your child to handle themselves and to get back up and keep trying!



Incorporate Unstructured Play

Unstructured play gives kids freedom and the opportunity to just be kids,this teaches them unique ways to solve problems,that they cant learn in supervised structured activities, does your child really want to rush of to ballet ,music or soccer practised after school? 

Free range parenting means allowing alot of time for kids to be kids,When children engage in unstructured play, their play is motivated by their own desires and curiosity, and guided by their own mental rules. It is removed from the work of real life, and it’s something that they willingly engage in, deciding for themselves when to start and when to stop. There is a great article on Unstructured play at letgrow



Encourage Lots Of Outside Play

Free range parents encourage lots of outside playtime, amongst nature

Children don’t just play for fun; they play to learn. Research shows that playing in any way ,helps develop core cognitive, social and creative skills, but the benefits of outdoor play for children’s development are infinite.Outside play benefits the childs physical,social,emotional and intellectual development in more ways then we can imagine-also outside play help aids a childs appreciation for the environment. 

Image by Cengizhan Konuş


Create An Environment Of Positive Reinforcement

Children of all ages respond well to praise as they want to please their parents and more often want to be seen as making good choices.  When we praise positive behaviours and choices, we empower our children to repeat them. Catch your child in the act of being ‘good’ and when they are behaving in a way you like, give them some positive feedback.For example, you can tell her “I really like the way you’re keeping all the blocks on the table,” which works better than waiting for the blocks to come crashing down before you take notice and say, “Be careful.”There is a great article about positive reinforcement here at positivepsychology


Believe In Your Child's Capabilities

If you believe in your child, they will believe in themselves. "Confidence builds confidence." Fostering your child's confidence by believing in them and their capabilities will not only help them build their own confidence and self-reliance, but it will help decrease anxiety. Remember to be a free range parent, the biggest lesson to teach yourself is to trust in your child.


Find A Healthy Balance

"Creating a healthy balance between parental authority and children's freedom to grow  self-reliance" is key if you want to give free-range parenting a try. Always remember it is us, as parents, responsibility to protect our child and keep them safe, but it is also our responsibility to help them grow and develop so they can grow into capable young adults"

When it comes to free-range parenting, its important to find a healthy balance between allowing your child to learn from their mistakes and from keeping your child safe.


Bring The Kids Into Some Of The Decision Making

Free-range parents allow their child to be a part of some of the family decision , its a powerful tool in helping children become independent and confident ,asking your child what their thoughts are on a subject,will help keep a close family unit as well as let your child know that you trust them enough  and their opinion matters



Let Them Solve Their Own Problems

For so many parents, allowing your child to make their own mistakes can be really hard. but its really important that children are given the opportunity to be allowed to  resolve problems on their own with little parental overtake - but science  suggests - this helps children by "enabling the child to feel powerful (control over their environment, being heard and listened to) without eroding on parental authority." The reason why this is so important for kids is because "when children learn to solve their own problems without a lot of parental interference it builds grit, which will benefit them all their lives."


Allow Them To Experience Age-Appropriate Independence

Allow your child to experiment with some age-appropriate independence "examples could be by Allowing your child to help cut the veggies for dinner ,"letting them use real tools and appliances maybe "Allow them to go to a friend's house to play, maybe they can run into the corner shop for you and get the hot chips , they could ride there bikes up the end of the road, or walk the dog around the block,

If that seems too extreme for you, start with some smaller tasks in the house - you can try "give them chores and tasks to do without your supervision — or do it with them at first, and then let them do it alone."


When letting your child stay home alone,or walk to school on their own, remember to check your states laws about how young a child should be.Always remember You’re the best judge of when your child is ready to be left at home alone. It’s not just about your child’s age – their maturity level is also important. For example, you might feel confident leaving a 12-year-old who’s very responsible, but quite worried about a 15-year-old who takes a lot of risks.

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You can purchase these by clicking on the picture


Free Range Kids

Published in 2009, this book is considered the original groundbreaker in the free-range parenting movement - written Skenazy's own experience,It's a must-read for everyone, in my opinion. Skenazy is still an outspoken advocate for the movement,


Free Range Kids - updated

It’s here! The book that started a movement has just come out in an updated, expanded SECOND EDITION! It’s got new stories, stats, chapters — including one on childhood (and parental!) anxiety, and a whole section for teachers - written by skenazy !


The Idle Parent

 Tom Hodgkinson presents the view that “responsibly lazy” parenting is the way to go. Do what you need to do to keep the household running smoothly, but parents in general should kick back, relax, and have fun while their children do their own thing nearby.

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