Move over helicopter parents, this message is not for you. Most parents when they see a dangerous element in their child’s path do anything possible to remove it. But what if we are the ones harming our children? Both parents and society as a whole are depriving our children of the opportunity to learn about the world. The fact is we do live in a dangerous world and our children need to be prepared. Interacting with the world is historically how children learn, develop, and gain control of their environment. As they learn more and experience the world, including its dangers, they will be more confident in the world.
Gever Tulley the author of 50 Dangerous Things, inspired the movement of encouraging parents to prepare their children for the world by exposing them to risks.
Kid’s will figure out how to do the most dangerous thing they can.
Curious kids are going to figure out the most dangerous thing they can regardless of your intervention. By allowing them to explore their curiosity in a safe environment, you are eliminating the scenario where they explore in secret. The bottom line is letting kids take risks in a controlled environment is going to better serve them in the long run. So here is our list of dangerous things you should let your kids play with:
1. Cook A Meal
From basic chopping to how ingredients undergo processes to become the family meal, as adults we forget about the lore of the kitchen that so often fascinates children. While hot stoves, pans, and oil may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, letting your little ones in the kitchen will expose them to many life lessons, including how food is prepared, an appreciation for healthy ingredients, and science. And perhaps the greatest lesson of all is that by teaching them how to do a basic task like prepare a meal, you are teaching your child how to take care of themselves. So if you find yourself letting your child have screen time while you cook, take a different route. Encourage your little ones to take part in the action in the kitchen (mess and all). Move over mama, Chopped Junior coming through.
2. Play With Fire
Loouis Prima, I Wanna Be Like You (from the Jungle Book).
What I desire is man’s red fire to make my dreams come true.
Yes, you read that correctly, let your age-appropriate children play with fire. Fire is a tool; give your child the ability to use that tool. We are not encouraging you to let your child run around with matches unsupervised. Rather we encourage you to teach your children how to interact with an open fire. Teach your child how to start a fire in a safe controlled environment, gather supplies, and keep a safe distance. Even little ones can appreciate fire from afar.
3. Climb A Tree
If your child falls out of a tree, he will not be the first or the last. As a child, I climbed trees constantly. It taught me to appreciate my limits, hone coordination skills, and strength. The best part? The feeling of achievement when you successfully climb the tree. So yes, at first blush, it appears that letting your child climb a tree is an unnecessary risk, but it is also a glorious milestone of childhood. So let your wild and brave child explore his or her limits and climb the tree.
4. Practice Archery
Despite appearances, archery is statistically one of the safest sports in the world (compare that to youth football or cheerleading). Blame Katniss from Hunger Games, but believe it or not but children love playing with a bow and arrow set. Aside from fun, archery has many benefits for your child. Archery teaches mental toughness, coordination, focus, and encourages goal setting. It is also a sport you can practice together, as it is a sport for everyone. So when can your child get started? As soon as he or she is big enough to hold a bow.
5. Stick A Hand Out Of The Car Window
It’s freeing and liberating to stick your arm out of a car window (even as an adult). In fact sticking your hand out the window seems like a basic childhood “thing,” but in reality, many children have not tested these limits and interacted with their environment which is the purpose of this movement. It is not necessarily an inherently dangerous activity but it does involve some risk that your child could hit something that comes to close to the car. Encourage your child to use their senses and situational awareness to be mindful of nearby and approaching objects.
6. Handle Sharp Objects
Allowing your child to handle sharp objects is allowing them to handle responsibility. Set guidelines and start with allowing your child to handle your knives. When you feel ready give your child their own pocket knife. How do you know if your child is ready for a knife? Listen to your gut, you know your child’s maturity level best.
What dangerous things do you let your kid do?
See You Soon,