Please Stop Punishing Parents for Letting Kids Play Outside

Kids at Play

By the end of this summer, my wife and I hope to have a fence set up in our backyard. It would give us the chance to turn our kids loose and let them run wild outside in a safe environment with clear borders. Unfortunately, there’s still the worry that somebody might call the cops.

Getting reported for letting your kids play on their own in the backyard may seem a bit extreme, but it’s something that happened to Jacqui Kendrick of Manitoba. Kendrick let her three kids play without supervision in their fenced-in yard and wound up getting investigated by Child and Family Services.

This event happened in Canada, but we’re no strangers to stories like this in the States. For example, last year saw a Maryland family get investigated for letting their kids walk home alone. Kendrick’s case was closed, but the record won’t be purged. Another report, legitimate or not, could cause her to lose her kids.

I’m sick of hearing about how today’s kids don’t play outside enough but also hearing an increasing number of reports where parents run the risk of losing their kids because they trusted them to play safely. We can’t have it both ways, and not allowing kids out of our sight poses a greater long-term risk.

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