Do you hate having to supervise your kids?
Do you also hate money?
Then boy howdy, have I got a deal for you! By following this link, you can, for the bargain basement price of $350, have someone not watch your kids.
You read that correctly: Lenore Skenazy, a columnist from New York City, will gladly accept your cash payment of 350 American dollars, and in return, she will agree to not supervise your kids. From Lenore’s website:
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.
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.
Your children will — and so will you.
I honestly can’t tell whether this is satire, but in any event, it’s pretty clever. Even if Skenazy is joking, I am willing to bet that after having her site mentioned on Gothamist, she’s gotten enough attention that some number of neurotic NYC parents will pony up.
Of course, I won’t be the one to pooh pooh the idea — my feelings on helicopter parents are well-documented, so I say let the kids run free. And if you can get some suckers to pay you — an otherwise disinterested party — for the privilege, then by all means, go right ahead. This is America.
Joking aside, Skenazy does make some very good points about the benefits of unsupervised play in for children, as well as the relative safety thereof (follow the links for full background):
Welcome to the first after-school class that lets kids play outside, together, unsupervised — the greatest developmental boon a parent can give a child!
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.
So, while I mock the idea of shelling out cash just to have your kids play freely, I defend the general practice entirely. Seriously, your kids will be fine at the park for an hour by themselves.
On the other hand, if you prefer to pay out in order to feel like you’re getting something in return, you can always hire me. I’m cheaper, and I have a book I’ve been meaning to finish with that spare time.