Kids playing outside frees their parents to live and boosts the children's health and confidence all at once

Before I had children of my own,my niece, feeling a bit outdone by her sister whose kids often looked cleaner,neater and a lot more organised, described her own children as free range, albeit in an ugly sense of the word.
Now that I have my own, I’ll be  honest with you, I like them the way my mom reared her chickens; free range. And since I am flying solo as a parent most of  the time, except for a few  days when the older one visits his dad in Maun during school holidays, I am grateful that my children, like my nieces,’ enjoy being reared free range style.
They just love to be  left to their own devices as evidenced by my older son’s defiant declaration, which he made while climbing up a tall tree  when he was hardly three years old. He  said, “No  one is going to stop me. Daddy is not going to stop me and you mummy, you are not going to spank me.”

Since then I have learnt to work the free range style as I grew to  appreciate the way the children were slowly liberating me and helping me to defy that small voice that keeps telling me that I should watch them 24/7, or oth- erwise they would be in danger.
I have come to accept  that I am not God, and neither is any mother out there for it is only He who is said to not slumber in His watchman role.
On  weekends, when I am a full time mom, I bath them as soon as they are up, which is around 6am, feed them and let them loose outside the yard (We live in a flat in an apartment complex so  we don’t have much of a yard) for them to expend their immense energy.

They run, they climb the neighbour’s fence and they roll in the dirt, getting extremely dirty most of  the time, while I chill with a good book or enjoy a good TV  show. From time to time they come into the house to ask for “juice mixed with water” as they call diluted drinks  like Mazoe and Oros, which I often ask the five- year- old to mix, much to the boy’s delight but to the annoyance of   their aunt, who just hates the mess they make whenever they are in charge of anything in the kitchen.

Recently I took my three year old to the shops to replace his broken  push scooter because he enjoyed it so much that he spent a lot of  time riding on it and exploring the neighbourhood, while I relaxed and did other stuff around the house, shocking some of  my visiting moms who feel that a three -year -old child shouldn’t be  let out of  their mom’s watchful eye for that long.  Instead of a scooter, the boy demanded a bicycle,
which I bought reluctantly  only for it to turn out to be  the best present I have given to him in a long time. The new ac- quisition caused so  much attention  and excitement that the boy, whom I always struggle to put to bed, was out cold that evening by a record 7 p.m.
And now with his confidence for au- tonomy boosted by a recent trip he made alone to Maun, the five- year- old has requested that he be   allowed to ride the bike to school.

Am still battling whether to take that bold step and allow him to push the limits of his autonomy even further,  but then there’s that  voice again, that  says  be- cause he’ll be out of  my sight, something bad could happen.
We  shall see  in  a couple of  weeks when schools start.  In  the  meantime send com- ments and observations about what  age should a child be allowed to walk or cycle to school or even cross  the road on  his  own to emangb@thevoicebw.com