I’ve been watching Life At 9 on the ABC. The first episode talked about teaching kids to be resilient and independent. One of the challenges the kids were given was to walk to the shops by themselves. Not one of the kids weren’t normally allowed to do it, but for the show were followed by the film crew.
Children learn resilience and independence by taking small risks. The program lamented the fact that today most children are overly sheltered by their parents, and as a result don’t get the opportunity to take small risks and learn to be independent.
Hannah is nine so I was thinking about whether we would have allowed her to walk to the local shops if we still lived in the mountains (the nearest shop is now 25 km away so she won’t be walking there any time soon). Both Country Boy and I thought she would be fine walking to the shops, and that we would be happy to let her go. I then asked Hannah if she thought she could do it, and she said yes without any hesitation.
So then I started to make a list of things I thought that 9 year olds should be able to do. I came up with the following:
– cook simple meals, biscuits, slices, and pikelets, with minimal assistance.
– get their own breakfast.
– make their own lunch (including cooking something simple on weekends).
– walk to school or shops, or a near by friends house.
– iron clothing
– help with household chores eg washing and wiping up, vacuuming, feeding animals.
– send an email.
Then of course there are the things that 9 year olds do on farms all the time, such as ride motorbikes and quad bikes, help feed sheep, and get themselves to and from the bus stop for school.
Help me out. What things do you think a nine year old should be able to do independently? Do you let your nine year old go to the shops or school independently?