Children need to be exposed to risky play. For ‘helicopter parents’, this might be difficult - but kids need to learn to manage danger themselves
Following the all-party parliamentary group report on a fit and healthy childhood, diligent parents everywhere are wondering how much risk they should introduce into their children’s lives. The report stated that: “Risky play, involving perhaps rough and tumble, height, speed, playing near potentially dangerous elements such as water, cliffs and exploring alone with the possibility of getting lost, gives children a feeling of thrill and excitement
Risk is an essential component of a balanced childhood. Exposure to healthy risk, particularly physical, enables children to experience fear, and learn the strengths and limitations of their own body. However, before you book a one-way ticket to Beachy Head for you and the toddler, or dump the iPad-loving six-year-old in the woods with just a compass, let’s think about this more carefully.
For this generation of children, shuttled from padded soft play, to school, to club, to sofa, we’ve got a lot of work to do before they come over all Bear Grylls. As parents, many of us are unaccustomed to allowing even the tiniest degree of danger to enter the lives of our children. Surely it’s the job of a good parent to keep them safe? That’s why roaming distance (how far children play from home) has decreased by 90% in the past 30 years.
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