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The Importance of Adventurous Play

Children today are growing up in a different world than we did. There are numerous electronic devices, a lot of which are connected to the internet and ever-expanding information, games, and videos. It can be difficult to restrict screen time in this digital age where having the newest device is of such perceived importance.

Surprisingly, one of the reasons children are choosing screen time above regular play is because of parents keeping them from risky play. When kids are playing outside or on play structures, we often are too concerned with them getting hurt and we are constantly reminding them to be careful, to not climb too high, to stay within our sight, to slow down.

What this does is creating a sense of constant, but vague, threat in the child. They are unsure of what the danger actually is and thus become discouraged to engage in risky, or adventurous, play. They become less interested in outside play and are drawn to "safe" options where parents don't remind them to "be careful" all the time, such as screen time.

Play, especially adventurous play, is of great importance to children. It helps them gain confidence, develop motor skills, learn their limits, and build muscle strength to name a few. Children need stable shoulder and core muscles to sit still in class and write and these are only developed while playing.

Of course we want to keep our children safe. But for them to be interested in play they need a little danger. They want to explore, use their imagination, and experiment, and when we constantly interrupt with phrases of caution they lose interest.

Life is full of risks. It is impossible to live risk free. Encourage your children to play adventurously and let them explore! This doesn't mean you are throwing them to the wolves, you are giving them the gift of truly old-fashioned play - the way we used to.

This holiday season focus on keeping your children as safe as necessary instead of as safe as possible.

And have fun!

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