When I was a kid there used to be a derelict playground behind our house. We used to climb over our back wall and spend most of the day playing in there; building camps, climbing trees and having competitions to see who could swing the highest on the old swings (swings that were made from tyres and had bits of sharp metal wire sticking out!) I remember cutting my foot on a sharp bit of wood once, but apart from that nothing really awful happened to me.
When we went to the park, I would ride my bike down the steepest hills. Yes I fell off a few times, but there were no major injuries.
When we went swimming I would jump in from the top diving board. I guess this could have ended in disaster, but it never did.
I remember my brother once climbing so high up a tree that a family friend had to climb up to retrieve him. He was probably a bit scared but i’m pretty sure he went straight back to tree climbing the next day.
Basically, I lived a generally adventourous childhood, taking risks to have fun and also to learn. Esentially I played. I played without too many boundaries and without someone telling me “no” all the time. And I’m pretty sure that that freedom to explore, discover and learn was super beneficial to my development growing up.
I fully support the idea that kids need to be kids, that they should be allowed to take risks to discover their own abilities, to explore the world around them, to play and in turn learn.
So why then am I such a SCAREDY MUM?!!
I remember the first time my son wanted to slide down the pole at the playground (serious daredevil activity when you’re a toddler). As he stood at the top, arms outstretched holding on to the pole ready to go, my heart was in my mouth and as he slid down I physically couldn’t stop my self from reaching out to help him. It took this scaredy mum a while to realise that actually he’s got this one down!
Fast forward a few years to when he wanted to do a front flip on the trampoline, like all his friends could do, I had to force myself to go inside the house so that I wasn’t watching on in fear and shouting out “be careful!”. To be fair, he did cut his lip open that day, but is that really the end of the world?
From standing up on the top bunk (oh my god, sit down!) to scooting erratically (oh my god, slow down!), I generally see the worst case scenario in each activity. I am trying to force myself to give them the space and confidence to take risks, and I am getting better, but it’s bloody hard!
Luckily for my kids, Mr DaisLikeThese is the complete opposite to me and has given them their best adventures; from climbing tall trees, swinging from rope swings and going on the biggest water slides to canoeing down rapids and jumping from massive rocks into the river. They’re certainly not missing out on much.
As my 7yr old would say, maybe I just need to “chill out, Mum!”