Book Review: Free-Range Kids

A review of the book Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy. Find out what is in the book and if it is worth your time to read it or not.

Free Range Kids

I just finished reading Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy.

The premise of this book is that as a society, we have become too over-protective over our children and we do not allow them to do normal things kids can really do. 

Skenazy is trying to get parents to raise self-reliant children without worry.

Is It Worth Reading?

I would recommend reading this book to all parents. It is one of those books that causes a lot of self-reflection and reevaluation of yourself and how you parent. It really made me think about the rules we have and what we might want to change.

I do not agree with everything in the book. It is a light read and easy to get through, but she tends to be pretty critical (or mocking) of parents who choose to do things differently than she sees as the “common sense” way of approaching things, and I do not like that.

I think her points could be made without that aspect. The earlier chapters are thicker with that feeling against other parents, then she backs off as the book progresses, so trudge through that aspect (if it bothers you). 

I really believe there is not just one right way to parent, so it always bothers me to see parents belittling the way other parents parent.

With that said, I do love many of the ideas in this book and think it is worth reading.

It is a book that gets you thinking and is absolutely worth your time to read.

Book Contents

The book talks about when to worry and when to relax. It talks about the purpose of media outlets and why you can’t let the news stories make you worry the entire world is evil and unsafe (they are looking for money–they need stories that sell).

She talks about being weary of experts telling you that you are doing everything wrong. She also talks about avoiding essentially wrapping your child in bubble wrap (I mean, for a time baby knee pads were a big thing so babies would hurt their knees while crawling).

She talks about risk-taking and letting kids take risks. She talks about ignoring those who blame. She talks about allowing some fun (like candy at Halloween).

She shares how life was for kids in recorded history. She compares the responsibilities and freedoms past children had compared to what we have now.

She talks about being brave and to stop trying to control everything (because we can’t). She also encourages parents to relax and to let their kids fail.

She talks about making children play outside (and it is okay to do that!). She also talks about listening to your kids and consider how they want to be treated.

She also talks about how all of these concepts apply in real life


I think a book that causes parents to be introspective and more deliberate in their choices is always worth the time it takes to read it. That is what makes us better parents, even if we don’t agree with everything we read to get there.

If you would like a feel of Skenazy before you read the book, you can see her website here:

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Free Range Kids book review

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Free-Range Kids”

  1. How interesting you reviewed this book! I just finished it a few weeks ago. You can tell the author has an agenda, so I personally took her arguments with a grain of salt. But it was extremely valuable for me to read as a sometimes over-anxious mother. Having a little more confidence and optimism as a mother is good for kids, I think. And she doesn't advise people to just let their kids go and do whatever. Many of her suggestions are quite reasonable and usually still include parental supervision at some level.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. I just finished it and felt like it was a breath of fresh air from all the over protective advice you read in magazines, etc that usually rubs me the wrong way. Anyway, I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise. Keep 'em coming!


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