Streaming platform Netflix’s addition of Japanese show Old Enough! has exposed many new viewers to the show that has been on air in Japan for over 30 years. The show follows toddlers around that are sent on errands by their parents, including shopping trips and small deliveries. This is meant to introduce them to tackling their fears and building their independence.
As mentioned, this show has been on air for decades in Japan, which means that the concept of sending toddlers into the world on their own is nothing to flinch at. In contrast, this would be a mind-boggling idea for most American parents.
While in general, American parents want their kids to become independent go-getters, but the idea of sending a 2 year old to go food shopping would be absolutely incomprehensible. We think that most American parents would call child protective services if they heard of any parent letting their child cross the street on their own, armed with only a flag.
However, there is a caveat. While the kids think that they’re on their own while on the errand, they are actually surrounded by camera crews and undercover crew that are there in case the child runs into any issues. A lot of preparation goes into every episode, and families are carefully selected by the producers and prepped before anything is filmed.
It should be pointed out that the show is not intending to show that this is a normal, everyday occurrence for Japanese toddlers. Instead, the show’s purpose is to show just how capable kids are with encouragement and sometimes a bit of a gentle push.
Before you binge watch the show and feel bad that you’re not encouraging your own toddler to pick up some tofu by themselves, you can ease up on yourself. Instead, take inspiration and try to think of ways that you can encourage your own kid to be more independent.
It doesn’t have to involve sending them out on their own, but it can mean maybe helping them learn to make food for themselves or clean up after themselves. If your kids are a bit older, you might want to let them try taking public transportation on their own if possible.
Another inspiring aspect of the show is hearing the little mic’ed up kids speak to themselves. Many of them gave themselves little pep-talks, projecting confidence that is absolutely healthy. This is another thing we can teach our own kids: making sure they know that they are smart, capable, and can achieve the goals they set out to accomplish.