Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Letting go and taking risks.....

I'm not just talking about myself in the title, I'm talking about the kids too. There are so many terms or stereotypes around these days, for mums or parents who hover over their child's every movement accessing risk of injury or hurt. Although I'm what I'd say is fairly relaxed about kids will be kids play, I do get caught up in accessing every risk big or small from time to time. I know my concerns are mainly due to Sarah being the baby (although she's now 15 months) getting injured in play with Cohen. Smiles and laughter can turn a fun time into tears quickly with an exuberant three year old running about.

But there comes a time when you just have to sit back and take the risk that all thoughts and concerns of big or small injuries or hurt may not happen, or at least not today. Sometimes you've got to sit back and allow your child space to take risks. It's an integral part of building their confidence in accessing risks themselves, and yes I do mean that even for a 15 month old. My job is to minimise risks and but not stifle their enthusiasm.

The kids were recently playing on the fort and it was getting a little crazy, with Cohen leaping and bounding everywhere. I didn't want to call it quits on their play because of my fears, knowing Sarah was going to follow suit shortly. So I added to their play rather than take away or restrict play with further rules.

So I dragged the blanket and cushions from the outdoor cubby to the end of the slide. Of course not long after taking these pics Sarah followed suit by trying to run down and leap off the slide like Cohen. But to a lesser degree because of her size and ability of course. But thankfully what would of ended in tears on the bare grass, ended up in squeals of delight.

I realise some may read this and look at my pictures, and think I should remove all risk of injury. I don't want to see my kids hurt, are they going to hurt themselves? Maybe one day, maybe today, maybe another day, who knows. But I'm right there, if things do go wrong. Risks do have to be taken, cotton wool and bubbles aren't going to build confidences. I think sometimes as parents we do build rods for our backs with all this assessments of risk and removing it. Children can end with environments that don't test their abilities or stimulate them and then they are at your side whining because they are bored. Sometimes I think we just need to take the risk, sit back, trust our children's inner dialogue.......they will attempt feats if they feel confident to do so, just be there with watchful eyes, open arms and band aids if need be.

1 comment:

  1. I've always let our kids run, jump and get dirty. Jimmy has always been quite cautious but his sister was going down the big slide at the park when she was 17 months old.

    My general rule of thumb is 'If they can't seriously injure themselves or break someone's property then go for it'.

    We were at a cool park the other day and they were both running up this big hill, picking up cool rocks and sticks and having a great time. Another mum came with her two kids the same age as ours and spent the whole time telling them, "Don't pick things up! Don't run down that hill!" I guess other people find it hard to just let their kids explore their own boundaries.


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