Hudson Valley Parent

HVP August 2015

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6 Hudson Valley Parent ■ August 2015 Publisher TERRIE GOLDSTEIN Editor KATY WEBER Executive Assistant to the Publisher BRITTANY L. MORGAN Media Advisors KIMBERLY MAYER MARY ZAK Community Liaison PAMELA PERRY Web Ad Designer LESLIE CORTES Layout & Design ENGLE PRINTING also publishers of MY family MY family baby The HUDSON VALLEY G U I D E Hudson Valley Parent is published monthly by: The Professional Image Marketing & Public Relations Inc. 174 South Street • Newburgh, NY 12550 Phone: 845-562-3606 • Fax: 845-562-3681 This publication is copyrighted by the publisher. Reproduction without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Hudson Valley Parent welcomes submissions, although we cannot accept responsibility for work submitted nor guarantee publication. A MEMBER OF A fellow mom once said to me: "If you ask any grown up about their fondest child- hood memories, they'll al- most always involve being outdoors or being away from any grown ups." When it comes to my kids and playtime, I fi nd I think of this statement often — even moreso as my kids are getting older. Like many parents who grew up in the '80s, I spent much of my childhood playing outside with the other neighbor- hood kids. Any time my brother and I would run in the house for a glass of water or a bathroom break, my mother quickly shooed us back outside: "And don't come back until I call you for dinner!" And like many parents who grew up in the '80s, I now spend a lot of time thinking about how my kids are experiencing a very different childhood from my own. We have scheduled playdates with friends. We live on a busy country road, which means I drive my kids every- where. Even when we want to go on a liesurely bike ride, we have to pile the bikes into the car fi rst. The opportunities for my kids to have "alone time" for play away from grown ups are few and far between — almost non-existent. And while I can safely say that I'm more present with my kids than my parents ever were with my siblings and me, I can't help but wonder how the constant presence of a grown up in their lives will ultimately affect their ability to make good judgments on their own once they've grown. And while it may be pretty much impossible to have "free-range kids" when you don't even have a neighborhood for them to walk in or play in, I do feel like it's important to give kids as much inde- pendence as you can from an early age. Gentle nudges Some ways that have worked for me? I used to love to watch my daugh- ter pay for toys with her own money at the dollar store while I'm hidden out of sight. Now that she's a bit older, I even like to wait in the car and send her in on her own. She feels inde- pendent and I feel like she's safe. I encourage both kids to use their own stalls in a public bathroom rath- er than all cram into the wheelchair stall. In a restaurant, I'll even send them into the bathroom themselves. I refuse to give my kids a boost at the playground — if they can't climb it, then they're not ready. My children will always know that I am there for them no matter what, and I want them to feel safe. That said, it is important for balance that feeling of safety with a feeling of freedom and independence. How do you fi nd ways to give your children a sense of indepen- dence in the age of helicopter parenting? I'd love to hear your tips and ideas. Email me your thoughts at Enrichment Guide Enrichment programs can open up a world of possibilities for chil- dren of all ages. We've got a great list of some of the best extra-curricu- lar classes and after-school programs in the Hudson Valley on pages 10 and 11. Make sure to check it out! Roam ... if you want to KATY WEBER Editor's Journal

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