Relax parents, Risky play can benefit your kids

     Every parent wants to keep their kids safe. There's no doubt I had a lot for freedom as a kid than I gave my own kids. By the time I was in the 6th grade I was riding my bike all over the town I grew up in. It wasn't exactly the best neighborhood either. I knew I had to be home by dinner time. Our parents didn't have to watch us every second and we would spend entire days at the park playing baseball, football and hockey without a parent to tell us what they rules were. We rarely got hurt and if we did our friends knew enough to help us get home. Looking back, I think my parents generation had the right idea and new research seems to back them up. 

     Today's parents could actually be doing their kids a disservice by not giving them freedom to engage in "risky play." New research shows "risky play" can help kids develop social skills, creativity and resilience.  Kids learn how to assess risk levels and what's safe and what's not without a parent looking over their shoulder.

     Risky play also helps kids self esteem. If you are always telling your child they can't do something they might doubt their own abilities. Risky play shows kids we trust them and their ability to solve problems without us.

     Research also shows risky play is safer than we think it is.  Boys engage in risky play more than girls do. Which could add up to teaching our daughters to be scared when they don't have to be. 

     Being a parent is the best thing I ever did but it's not easy. If you're kids get hurt you blame yourself but if you don't let them take risks and learn from their mistakes they grow up to be pathetic adults.  The only advice I can give is pay attention to them, talk to them about everything but give them as much freedom as possible. 

Source: Scary Mommy 

Steve Andrews

Steve Andrews

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