When parents’ fears have the potential to restrict childrens’ play
- Posted on
- By Josephine Walbank
- Posted in child-friendly, childrensgardenfurniture, cityscape, Garden, independent, nature, outdoor space, playarea
The boundaries of what parents determine as the safety zone grow smaller for every generation. By doing that we cut our children off from valuable opportunities to learn how to interact with the world around them without fear.
As parents, some things simply cannot be helped. It’s only natural - quite literally hardwired into our brains - that we worry about our children.
Sometimes, this comes out as nagging, being overbearing, or simply being visibly nervous as we watch our child play. These fears come from a caring place, but it’s important that we don’t use this knowledge as an excuse to let them go too far.
In fact, there is a fascinating Ted Talk on this topic which would be especially helpful to share. During the talk by Gever Tulley (actually a contract computer scientist during his day job), listed ‘5 dangerous things that you should let your kids do’. He opened the discussion with a truly eye-opening point:
“As the boundaries of what we determine as the safety zone grow ever smaller, we cut off our children from valuable opportunities to learn how to interact with the world around them. And despite all of our best efforts and intentions, kids are always going to figure out how to do the most dangerous thing they can, in whatever environment they can.”
It’s a perceptive point, but one that is hard for a lot of parents to hear. We try to protect our children as much as possible, and of course that will always be necessary to some degree. However, if we overstep this mark and make our protective bubble too impenetrable, then we can end up restricting their play and inhibiting their imagination. This, in turn, will fuel a development where your child sees the same amount of fear in the world as you do.
Our goal as parents has always been to raise children who feel confident, secure in themselves, and creative, so feel ready and raring to take on the world.
If you feel like your parenting style errs towards the side of the overprotective, have a read below for our 4 key pointers to look out for. Use these guidelines when you are playing with your child, and try to put a stop to any of these actions that you notice in your behaviour. This is a great way for you to limit the influence that your fears have on your child’s play.
Avoid ‘helicopter parenting’
Helicopter parenting is a term which is commonly used to describe over-parenting parents, who are overbearing and have a tendency to hover (hence the name). This term also encompasses similar traits like being overprotective, excessively controlling what your child does, and trying to get them to achieve ‘perfection’ in everything they do.
While we’re not suggesting that you’re guilty of all of the above, a lot of parents have a tendency to exhibit these behaviours, simply because they are trying to do the best by their child.
A great example of this is when parents hover around their child when they are playing by themselves, or try to tell the child how they should be playing. Although it might seem harmless, it can put the brakes on your child’s creativity and ability to think independently.
Don’t be afraid to let them get mucky
We’ve all felt that tension when we watch our child picking up piles of mud and getting their hands, feet, face and clothes absolutely filthy. But numerous studies have shown that this is an important part of a child’s learning process, so resist the urge to intervene.
Today’s culture is a pretty germ-phobic one, and we want to avoid encouraging our child to associate germs with ‘bad’ or ‘fear’. Plus, by exposing your child to germs that are safe (i.e. they will not harm their health), their immune system will be stronger and more able to fight illness later on in their life.
A slight tumble shouldn’t make you worry
If you see your child tumble slightly when they are playing and you can see that they are unharmed, try to leave them be. By over-consoling or being overprotective of your child (as we mentioned above) you are effectively preventing them from building up an ability to be brave.
These little tumbles will help your child to learn a lot about the world, most notably the lesson of risk management. This helps them to develop an ability to weigh up different risks when they are older. So these safe forms of little risks are a great way to help your child to grow in confidence.
Allow independent exploration
That’s where we can help. At Mini beee, we create children’s outdoor furniture that is designed to promote safe and imaginative outdoor play - so it’s a win-win for parents.
Our range of garden furniture allows children to create a world of their own, and let their creativity boundlessly infuse their play. Plus, since these furnishings are completely child-friendly, parents have the confidence to put a stop to their hovering, and leave their child to play outside independently.
So, if you want to encourage your child’s independent exploration of the natural world, click on the link to our Mini beee online shop, where you can check out our gorgeous, eco-conscious collection of children’s outdoor furniture.
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