Social post about allowing kids to participate in ‘risky play’ sparks debate

A visit to the neighborhood playground will soon reveal a variety of parenting styles. They tend to range from helicopter to authoritative to indulgent, and it’s no surprise that they often clash.

All parents want what is best for their children and they believe that they are raising in the best way possible. Unfortunately, parents are still being judged.

Parental shame is a serious problem. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach in parenting and it’s so easy for people to criticize each other for parenting decisions that may differ” from their own.

Instagram user active_dad_offical became the center of a heated debate after his controversial video about risky play went viral.

Jimmy Conover, an advocate for mindful parenting and unleashing children’s potential, discusses the importance of risky play. “Our children are far more capable than we give them credit for. Sometimes they just need a chance to prove it,” Conover captioned the video.

“If you want to make your kids tough, which they better be if they want to survive in the world,” says Conover, “then don’t interfere with them doing dangerous things cautiously.” Focus on carefully

Still, the comments from the father of two touched some. “But it was his 2½-year-old and 1-year-old sons who stole the show with their risky game. The toddler climbed onto the armrest of one chair and then climbed to the armrest of another chair. Meanwhile, his baby was perilously perched on a Sit n’ Spin.

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What is risky play?

“Risk play can be defined as any game that is exciting or exciting,” according to Boston University, “and carries some risk of injury.” Basically, it’s unstructured play (usually outdoors) where kids make their own decisions about how to use their bodies while playing. Risky play doesn’t necessarily mean dangerous; adult supervision is still important. However, giving up some parental controls is key.

When it comes to risky play, it has usually only been studied for children over the age of 4. ‌Research on risky play in younger children is limited. ‌Risk-taking in play for young children under the age of 4 was investigated in a small-scale observational study with children from five childcare settings.

According to researchers, risky play may be appropriate for children ages 2 and 3. However, risky play may not be suitable for 1 year old. More research is needed on this point.

Research suggests it can be very helpful

Despite some parents’ fears about risky play, it has plenty of benefits. Boston University states, “Risk play helps children develop resilience, executive functions, confidence, and risk assessment skills.”

By playing risky, children discover their comfort level and understand their limits‌. In this way they can use this knowledge to estimate risks independently, without parents having to do this in the future.

According to research, too many restrictions on children’s risky outdoor play hinder their growth. Instead, children should be given the freedom to take and manage risks.

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Where’s the line?

Despite the many benefits of risky play, many people still disagree. That can be clearly seen in the reactions to the‌ ‌Instagram video‌ from Conover.

“I work in the ICU and you have no idea how many young patients we get with traumatic brain injuries caused by stupid things they were doing. Safety is key, teach your kids how to be safe!” They insist.

The activity of Conover’s toddler in the video provokes anger from another commenter. “This is not safe at all. A child of that age jumping on a soft sofa would be a dangerous activity in [a] safe space. Ensure that the ER and DCF know them by first name. Especially with all the videos showing evidence of their negligence.”

Risky play is certainly not for every child, as it involves parental supervision, and it is not without its drawbacks. Introducing risky play increases the chances of your child getting hurt and feeling anxious or scared.

A parent’s fear can also get in the way of a child’s exploration and growth. A parent’s fear of kidnapping, climbing, running too high, running too fast, or getting lost can hinder a child’s ability to grow and become independent.

If you find yourself feeling nervous and uncomfortable about a situation, experts recommend applying the 17-second rule instead. ‌Take 17 seconds to see how your child reacts before intervening.

Often children can solve problems on their own without the intervention of an adult. ‌We should not underestimate the abilities of children – they might surprise you.

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