Thursday, July 7, 2011

Free Range Child

This is a new phrase I heard yesterday.  It makes me laugh, but I guess there's some amount of sadness to it.  This phrase was not used in regard to my children, but as I listened to the definition, I realized that one of my children could be defined this way.

As I have mentioned before, I love summer.  I LOVE having my kids home, but everyday at about 2:30pm, I have one child that needs a nap desperately but WILL NOT take one.  I know I can't force that child to sleep.  It's just not humanly possible, so as of yesterday, I started giving him choices.  He can go upstairs for a nap, or he can go outside and play.

#7's asleep during this time, but this child is just too loud inside the house.  Everyone else seems to have some ability to control him/herself and has some quiet time to him/herself each day at this time.  In the past, I've expected that the kids'd get up in the morning and just be part of the group.  We'd go run and do things together and spend the entire day together, but I realized, before summer vacation even started, that we all need to have some down time each day--some time to ourselves.  Thus, everybody gets some time alone everyday.

I kind of liken the situation with this child--my free range child--to having a spotless house.  I could have a perfectly clean house and break my back daily to keep things in order, but if my children enter the house and mess things up (we all know that never happens, right?), I'd become a raving maniac, but I choose peace over a perfectly orderly home.  My house is tidy and liveable (most of the time), but I value my relationship with my children more than being able to eat off the floors.  Similarly, I could control this child and use all the manipulative tactics I know, he's little, he'd fall for them, but I would, again, become a raving maniac and destroy any respect and love this child has for me.  I value his ability to choose for himself, so free range it is.

So, for this summer, starting around 2:30 everyday, my son will be free-range because I know for a fact he's never going to choose the nap option.  **sigh**  So glad to be in a place in life where we have a yard.  There have been other children in our family who didn't have this option at the same age.

Oh, and a friend gave me a great idea....Give him a bucket full of water and a paintbrush and let him "paint the fence" with the water.  Love it!  Going to have a very clean fence today.


Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Never quite had that problem - all of my six children slept in the afternoon just fine. My problem came when they then had to do a return engagement at night. They simply couldn't fall asleep the second time and would lay there . . . for hours. I ended up having to make the 'free range' decision myself. Ugh!

Tonya said...

We talked about this yesterday and I love that your letting him play free range in the backyard. It's simple, good ol' fashioned childhood fun. And who ever told you to let him paint the fence with water is dang awesome:)

Janiece said...

I might have to try that on Miss C...I LOVE IT!
I am thinking a brush and let her work on my kitchen floor :o)

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