As parents we try to make everything safe for our children. We want the very best for them. And probably in our vision to gain some major milestones, we may be limiting or creating hindrance to how children should take on the element of risk.If you are a parent to young children, you’ve probably heard by now that kids need to engage in risky play in order to develop optimally.
This sounds fabulous in principle, but we live in a world obsessed with creating boundaries for children. Safety regulations in school playgrounds and public parks have lengthy lists of things kids are not allowed to do. Parents are petrified that their children might get abducted or injured. So how is one supposed to go about introducing risky play into kids’ lives? Where does one even start? Let me share some leading ways in which you can create a good setting for your child to blend some risky play into their lives which will allow them to enjoy and learn so much from their experiences. The first thing to do is spend time outside.This is the first place to go if you want to make play riskier. Leave the ‘safe’ indoors. Let them know there is so much to do outside. You can begin by hanging out in the backyard. Make time for walks and aim to visit a neighborhood playground several times a week. Eventually, what happens is that they will be able to step outside themselves. You can watch them from the window, but it’s important for them to feel comfortably independent outside. Set boundaries so you don’t worry about them going too far.You should also stop giving warnings. Listen carefully to the language you use when speaking to children. Some phrases you should avoid saying are “Be careful!” “That’s too high!” or “That’s dangerous” — unless, of course, it actually is. Kids will internalize these warnings and start to feel fearful when they shouldn’t be. It will set major limitations on them. When that happens, they will look at everything that comes with limitations. It is important that you let kids take the lead outside. Let them determine what they want to explore when you go outside. Instead of grabbing their hand and insisting that you follow a trail, allow them to explore the surrounding forest, splash in a puddle, or climb fallen logs. Find a creek and build a dam. You should also be dressing the kids appropriately. Don’t ever put clothes on kids that you don’t want to get dirty or ruined. Free your child from the adult-centric constraints of needing to stay clean. This is a major element to know. You can’t let them ever consider mud holes as being more dangerous than sandboxes. Embrace it!
Let your child play at high speed. Kids crave speed, and it’s arguably far safer to let them do it under their own power than waiting till they’re behind the wheel of a car. Give them a bicycle and helmet and allow them to race down hills. Take them to the skating rink. Don’t tell them to slow down; let them make that judgement call. Also what really works is when you plan to go on adventure trips. Take them on a canoe trip, where they can stay out in the wilderness for an extended period of time. If you know what you’re doing (or know someone who does), try a winter camping trip, an incredible experience. Do a multi-day hiking or biking trip together — a fabulous bonding experience for young teens and parents. These are such interesting activities which will be giving you some major ways of gaining some really solid wins. You need to know how it will be leading towards your child gaining confidence and leading life without limitations. Lastly you should be listening to your child. If he or she wants to do something independently, say yes. Think carefully before introducing doubt into their own minds. It’s crucial to remember that kids are actually very good at gauging risk themselves. They will have so much to explore when they embrace the wilderness.