A few days ago I took the kids to East Links Family Park again.
We met up with a couple of my son’s friends and spent the whole day there.
My daughter came too and tagged along with the boys but got bored after a while.
That was only natural.
And then she started wandering off and doing her own thing.
Watching From A Distance
For a while I tried watching her from a distance.
There was only one other parent with me to look after all the kids and that was okay until she started going out of sight.
She’s only seven but she’s a staunchly independent child.
The park was quiet so I wasn’t too concerned if she wandered in and out of sight every few minutes.
I was also conscious I didn’t want to wrap her up in cotton wool.
And I didn’t want to seem like I was ignoring the other person I was with all the time by following my daughter round like a little lamb.
I was happy for my nine-year-old son to go off with his friends so long as he checked in with me every half an hour or so.
In any case me or the other parent went and looked for them every thirty minutes.
Keeping Them In Sight
A couple of times my daughter was there and then she disappeared.
As if by magic she’d then reappear like Mr Benn.
And I’d spot her halfway around the farm park.
She was totally unaware that I was even trying to keep her in sight.
When I caught up with her, she was deep in conversation with the farmer about one of his sheep.
The independent child in her finds it very easy to talk to adults.
Although she’s not always so great with striking up conversations with other kids.
Another time, she ran off to feed the llamas by herself.
Thankfully the donkeys caught her eye first just along the path and she didn’t make her getaway again.
Often when I tried to watch my daughter from a distance, she’d see me.
Of course then I’d be told off because the independent child in her wanted to explore by herself.
And I’d be told off in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t allowed to follow.
The trouble with me not following was that she’d also nip to the toilet by herself.
I didn’t entirely feel comfortable with that but she kept doing it without me knowing.
It was only afterwards that she’d come and find me and say she needed some help.
That happened several times and even though I explained to her that I wasn’t happy about it, she wasn’t having any of it.
At least she didn’t have any accidents though.
It Was All Going So Well
I thought I was keeping the kids in sight most of the time.
They knew exactly where I was at any given moment even if I didn’t know where they were all the time.
I was sitting having a coffee and chatting and enjoying the sunshine.
And then someone from the park appeared with my daughter in tow.
She had latched herself onto another family with a younger child and was following them around.
Apparently they had become concerned that my daughter wasn’t with anyone in the park.
I was reminded that it’s my responsibility to look after my kids in the park.
Funny how this happens just after I’d been following her around for the previous half an hour.
And that she was able to lead them to me, knowing exactly where I was.
Ah well, you can’t always do the right thing.
Do You Have An Independent Child That’s Hard Work?
How much trust do you place in your kids to explore alone if you’re nearby?
Do you let them go completely out of your sight?
Is there an age cut off that you’d feel comfortable doing that?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.