The other day, I let J do something for the first time.
I let him play outside with some of the neighbor kids by himself.
Now before you pick up the phone to call CPS on me, they were not unsupervised. My neighbor was outside gardening while the kids played. I just wasn't out there watching him every second (but I did peek from time to time).
For what might be the first time for him, J wasn't among the "big kids" - he and our neighbor L are both finishing kindergarten. L's brother C is in second grade, and our neighbor G is in fourth grade. J was not only the youngest boy, but the very youngest person in the group. I hope that spending time with older boys (who are really nice, good kids) will have a positive effect on J. He's a super kid, but lacks confidence when faced with something new, or that he's not very good at (swimming, playing certain sports, riding a bike). Hopefully watching C and G will encourage J to try new things, and to practice the skills he's developing.
J had a blast. Afterwards I made a point to tell him that I let him play outside without me there because (a) he's getting older, (b) he knows how to be a good listener, and (c) he can make good choices. Fortunately he did all these things on both occasions.
Now, while J was having fun playing outside, I was more encouraged by the conversation we had afterward. J asked if he could ride on C's battery-powered four-wheeler. I told him I thought he was a little young to do that. He then asked if he could ride on his scooter. I said that he would need to wear his helmet, then reminded him that he doesn't like to ride his bike. J was quiet. I'm hoping that this got him thinking - like, maybe this summer, learning to riding a bike will become important.
This is going to be an interesting summer. I'm excited