The 101 guide to free range parenting and what to know

What is free range parenting and is it safe for the toddler?

The 101 guide to free range parenting and what to know

Free range parenting isn’t a new term; it has been there since but keeps decreasing with time. Mostly those who grew up in 70’s and 80’s experienced this kind lifestyle but in the current era, the need for adult supervision has increased tremendously. Free-range parenting is more of an attitude than an event. So, let’s see what is Free range parenting really stand for?

What is free range parenting?

Free range parenting is an idea at which a child is encouraged to function independently with limited parental supervision, and with sensible recognition of the realistic personal risk that may befall your kid.

This type of parenting is always seen as opposite of helicopter parenting where over-scheduling and overbearing is involved. Free range parenting is based on a notion that you can give your kid the freedom to do all kind of things without worrying. It is also believed that when you give freedom to your kids all kind of stuff happens. Which include self-sufficiency, self-confidence and happiness.

Even Non “hovering” parents won’t really allow such a thing despite of it sounding that great. why? Because in the current era there are a lot of risk as compared to 80’s. Always there will be that voice inside you calling for appropriate measure to be taken before it is too late to undo or prevent those risk.

Statistics of free range parenting in USA

These statistics will be based on why has the free range parenting dropped over recent years. Most of the parents in USA have become safety paranoiac these days mostly due to the following facts.

1. Cable News

The advancement of telecommunication and cable news have brought about these concerns to the parents. As compared to 1970’s where the only news you could get was from local cases, today you will receive worldwide news on daily basis concerning cases like trafficking and abduction of kids. Always there was strange abduction cases, possibly 2 or 3 per million kids under 12 years of age in US which is extremely rare.

Mind is always curious and terrible in statistics plus cable news companies that need to fill 24 hours of their day with these kinds of news, this will hence lead to increase in helicopter parenting.  

2. The insecurity in the economic level

The free range parenting has become less rewarding and adopted due to the fact that most of the US parents like a “college-material” kid. This is due to the fact that collage and other elite degrees have become more valuable that leads to parents being so tight on their kids. Statistics shows that 90% of us parents micromanage their kids with an aim of good reputation during collage application.

3. Lawsuits

The 1970’s US liability revolution has made it clear to all institutions that deal with children the impact of even a small risk to children, this, hoewver, makes schools and other institutions more sensitive towards this matters. Therefore, free-range parenting has little or no part in this kind of society.

These three reasons are just significant reasons as to why other parenting styles are preferred instead of free-range parenting in the USA.

Is free range parenting safe for toddler?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of free-range parenting to a toddler. These advantages and disadvantages will be from parents who have practice free-range parenting on their toddlers. This will help you define whether it is safe or not safe for your toddler.


1. Makes your kid more aware of boundaries:

Take for instance when you have visited a park you should give your kid some boundary and let him/her explore the environment. This will help them understand and make choices beyond just “what do I want right to know” says SKL.

2. Gives kids sense of accomplishment:

This is usually seen when you let your kid help with simple chores at home like; carrying towels and clothes from bathroom to washing machine, sweeping up a spill, cleaning and putting toys away and cut up potatoes including other activities. This will make them lave being responsible for accomplishing that real duty.

3. Develop new skills:

Letting them explore their surrounding by playing around without your hovering around them helps them develop a new set of skills. Let them climb on logs, stumps and trees while you are on your nature walk. Just like Marie says “let him get hurt! Let him see that a scraped knee and a bruised elbow can be survived.” Skills like social skills which are important for his/her confidence.

4. Instill Respect:

Instill Respect: some of the activities in free-range parenting help in instilling respects on your kid, for example, “ignoring your kid positively,” this applies when you are occupied (reading, cooking, having a conversation with other adults). To employ this, you simply ask your kid to entertain himself hence next time he won’t disturb you.


1. Government intervention

This is one of the drawbacks associated with this style of parenting. This is where child protective services come in case of occurrence of a serious issue.

2. The absence of village:

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Meme on free range parenting

There is a difference between today’s society and the society 20years ago, parents allowed their kids to wonder with every parent keeping a passive eye on the kids. In case of any trouble, parents will inform each other and together assist with finding the solution. Today’s most of the parent have their kids indoors playing videogame thus less tuned to what’s happening around them.

a) “I survived free range parenting” meme


b) “Play Dates”

play dates

c) “The 1970’s Kids”

The 1970's kids

d) “How great is free range parenting”

Tell Me Again

e) “parenting”


f) “A thing in UTAH”

Free range parenting

Useful books

If you considering this type of parenting and you are looking for a guide and full understanding of free range parenting, then these books will be of great assistance to you. It will guide you on how, when and how to do a certain activity to your kid. So without further ado let’s take a look at top five Useful books for free range parenting.

1. Free-Range Kids, how to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)

How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children

Lenore Skenazy is a woman that stall the attention of world media, bloggers and parents by allowing her 9-year old to ride alone in one of the NYC subway. In this book Skenazy explains why it important to adopt free ranging parenting by stating its importance.

2. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Last Child in the Woods

This book by Richard Louv explains why children need natural environment experienced. He has done a lot of research with aim of explaining why nature is absolutely crucial to kid’s mental growth. Louv says “nature deficit” affects those kids with limited exposure and thus may result to all sorts physical and mental ailments.

3. How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature.

How to Raise a Wild Child

This books shows that a North American child spend average of 7-hours a day on screen and minutes outsides. Really terrible! In this book Scott tries to insist on the importance of kid-nature connection on their health. He says that the healthier, happier and do better when they get of the damn screen and explore the nature.   

4. Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World

Home Grown

The book is written by Ben Hewitt and its theme is a family that bought a beautiful land in Northern Vermont and went all Swiss. It tries to show why letting your kids pursue their dream and interest may be of help to their kid. This may however seem extremely weird but you should check it out.

5. Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children

Balanced and Barefoot

This book focuses on body movement. Author Angela Hanscom who is a kid’s expert and a pediatric occupational therapist says that body needs to move to be healthy. She explains on why limited movement on kids might result to all sorts of behavioral, cognitive and emotional problems. For full report check out this book hope it will be of great assistance to you.


How we raise our kids matters so much since it has direct effect to our kids. Those effects may not be seen while the kid is young but when they grow up then you will start realizing these defaults. No matter how protective you are always giving your kids some time to decide and play on themselves, let them learn through mistakes they make when they are young. Free range parenting has more and great advantages than disadvantages so try weighing out the style of parenting you need to adopt.

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