Lenore Skenazy Is Charging $350 For ‘Free-Range’ Nothing

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Self-proclaimed “Worst Mom In America” Lenore Skenazy will let you pay her $350 to ignore your kids for you. I’ve done the math on this and I’m not sure this is actually good bang for our childcare buck. You pay Lenore Skenazy a bunch of money, and in return you get a mess of free-range nothing. According to Lenore’s website I Won’t Supervise Your Kids:

Our first session is Weds., Sept 12. Ages 8-18 welcome. We’ll meet at the entrance to the “Ancient Playground” in Central Park, at 85th St. and Fifth Ave., at 3:45 p.m. I’ll be there to say hi — then I’m off to sip my latte. Kids can be picked up at 5:15, or they can head home  on their own — it’s up to you. (And them!) If your child owns a watch, have him/her wear it. Otherwise, the kids can ask folks what time it is. While many people think that children being someplace with “strangers all around” is dangerous, actually it means there are people all around who can help if anything goes wrong. Central Park is the safest precinct in New York,  which is the safest large city in the country.  

Parents must sign a waiver that absolves me of anything and everything — see the name of this class! — and payment is $350 (cash or check; scholarships available for the asking) for 8 sessions: Weds. Sept 12 – Nov. 7, with a week “off” on Sept 26 for Yom Kipur. On Weds., Oct. 31 kids can play as usual, or they can go trick or treat together.

The website then explains why the session fee of $350 is for, like, nothing:

Why a fee? Well, why not? I’d love to make a living bringing kids back outside to play. But also: Parents are used to paying for classes. Pay for something and you put it on your calendar. It’s a commitment. And when you pay, you expect to get something in return.

I’m all for letting our kids bloom and grow and become independent little people who we let play outside alone for an hour after homework. Some of my best childhood memories are running around outside with my friends playing Ghosts In The Graveyard or Kick The Can until we would hear our parents yelling for us to come inside and wash up for bed. But paying to leave them alone? In Central Park? With 18-year-olds? Nein, danke. It’s goofy. I’m not sure why any 18-year-old would want to hang out with an 8-year-old, unless they were also being paid $350 to do so. These age ranges just don’t have a hell of a lot in common. And why do we have to pay Lenore Skenazy not to watch our kids for us? Can’t we take our own kids to the park, remind them not to get kidnapped, and then leave them to drink our own lattes?

Lenore, I think your whole free-range parenting concept is fine and dandy but I don’t need to pay anyone to neglect my kids. I can do that myself for free.

(Photo: Anatoliy Samara/Shutterstock)