While there are many benefits to simply getting outside, it’s important to ensure that a child is making the most of their time outdoors which can include taking risks and giving into a sense of adventure. Bringing your child to the park and letting them soak up the sunshine is wonderful, but if they can also build their creative thinking and learn how to play safely while enjoying some fresh air — well, that’s even better!
While the idea of children taking more risks than they already do can sound scary, especially to first-time parents, it can lead to newfound freedom and independence. If you are still on the fence about giving your child more freedom at the playground, here are 3 reasons to let your kids take risks – within reason, of course!
Removing or avoiding all potentially unsafe situations does not help kids learn how to handle unsafe items or situations especially when you’re not around. Kids and toddlers need to learn how to fall safely, what height is too high to jump from, and when walking – instead of running – is a good idea. Playing outside and experiencing different heights, inclines, and ground textures encourages them to learn through experience and teaches them how to go downhill safely, walk when the ground is wet, and ask for help if they have climbed to a height that is not safe to jump from. In most cases, a parent can watch from a distance as a child explores these scenarios and intervene only when needed instead of running to their rescue unnecessarily.
Engaging with your kids is very important, but so is encouraging them to entertain themselves and create their own fun. Boredom doesn’t necessarily have to be bad and can lead to a world of creativity if children are left with tools and materials that encourage exploration. While it may be difficult for parents and caregivers to take a more hands-off approach, it’s good to let children take risks and come up with exciting ways of playing all on their own whether that be with other children or while engaging in solo play.
Climbing a tree in the backyard, tobogganing down a slippery hill, or doing flips on a trampoline may not sound like fun to us as adults but kids are often more resilient and courageous than we are! Take this as a simple reminder: taking risks keeps us young, energetic, and optimistic. When we take risks, we open doors to new adventures and new experiences.
A life with zero risk is simply no fun!