Our community pool has introduced a new policy this summer. Children over 10 who have a "yellow card", which means that they passed a swim test in our pool, can come to the pool on their own and stay up to 2 hours (provided that the parents sign the release form first). Smarty got her yellow card last summer, and she was super excited about the idea that now she can go to the pool on her own after school and during a summer break.
Obviously, with greater freedom come greater responsibilities. Now Smarty has to remember to pack for the pool, put on her sunscreen, and bring all her "supplies" too and from the pool. She also needs to unpack, rinse off her swim suit and hang it up to dry. She is very much up for this, because she wants to show that she can be independent and responsible. It's really a win-win for everyone - she gets to spend more time outside, meet with other kids at the pool and manage her own time while we can spend the time working or taking care of household tasks. And, sometimes, we still go to the pool together :)
How do you encourage independence in your kids?