Every parent wants what’s best for their little ones. From the best education to the finest clothes and coolest toys, your precious baby has to have it all. And wanting to keep your children out of harm’s way goes without saying.
Protecting your child is your biggest responsibility as a caregiver and it can’t be taken lightly. However, you also need to let your kids explore the world around them and discover it for themselves.
How do you strike a balance between negligence and helicopter parenting? It’s a question many parents ponder. Read on to understand what actually constitutes risky play and how to make sure your child has the freedom to explore while staying completely safe.
What is risky play?
Most parents have a hard time accepting that they shouldn’t overprotect their children. They can’t imagine letting their little ones out of their sight for even a moment. While this is a perfectly understandable fear that stems from love, being overbearing doesn’t actually help children thrive. Letting them engage in some risky play can actually be more beneficial than shielding them from risks at all costs.
Children learn through play and it’s important to let them come up against appropriate challenges. They’re naturally curious and they will try out different things to test their own boundaries. By finding a way to cope with your anxiety, you’ll encourage their independence and provide them with a valuable learning experience.
Risky play is exciting and challenging but it’s also pushing the edge of your child’s abilities. It brings children out of their comfort zone and closer to the possibility of getting hurt. Most kids are naturally interested in this type of play at least to some extent and they will likely engage in it at times. Some examples of risky play include:
- Climbing trees and other high places, which puts kids at risk of falling
- Swinging or riding a bike as fast as they can, which can cause collision
- Experimenting with tools, like a hammer or knife, which can put them at risk of injuries
- Wandering off to explore on their own, which may lead to them getting lost
- Rough and tumble play, like wrestling, where they can hurt each other
How to keep children safe during play?
Scraped knees are a normal part of childhood but some forms of play can be extremely dangerous. It’s vital that you give your child a chance to engage in challenging activities while also making sure that they’re safe. Here’s what you can do to provide them with the best of both worlds:
- Give them an opportunity to test their abilities while you keep an eye on them to stop them from getting hurt. They shouldn’t be left unsupervised, especially when very young.
- Channel their love of risky play into organized sports. For example, if they enjoy rough and tumble play, they could be naturally inclined to try martial arts. Or, if they love jumping from heights, take them to an exciting trampoline park.
- Make sure they don’t have easy access to any hazards. For example, install safety locks on kitchen drawers so they can’t reach any knives.
- Teach them about dangers. Talk to them about risky situations and how to avoid them.
- Offer them support and guidance. Try not to do tasks for them because this limits their independence and self-expression. Instead, explain activities and provide verbal guidance.
- Explain rules. Be patient and persistent to ensure they understand the rules of play and the importance of following them.
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