At Peter Gray's Mother Nature's Pedagogy, Chapter 13 it is titled How Can Children Learn Bravery in an Age of Overprotection? While reading the book and as a volunteer with Let Grow, everytime I am working translating the documents I ask myself "How Can Parents Learn Bravery in an Age of Over Judgment?"
If you are a parent who believes in childhood and read about natural selection then, you understand the need and importance of Risky Play in human development and how it is a key part in giving children the tools and skills required to be a secure teen and happy adult.
Everytime our babies start trying something new such as crawling, standing, running, etc anything that is new, thrilling and exciting, the child is taking an unknown risk, they are only following what their brains are commanding their bodies to do at the moment and we need to be there to prepare the ground and confirm it is not hazards that can cause real harm to them. With the time, when reaching the first stage of maturity around the 3 years old, their risky play will became rough and it will be a conscious act of bravery, children will try to overcome fears while playing (and hitting each other) with sticks, climbing trees (and other structures), trying to jump in deep ponds (or into the sea at the beach), develop an interest an attraction for fire (and wanting to play with), they will create sharp "pretending" tools and knives (so bringing them to help at the kitchen or to build something would be a great idea).
Limitations and overprotection during these years as a result of our own fears can result not only in affecting the future self-esteem, self-regulation and Independency of the child but also will end affecting the physical and mental well-being. Giving children the space and freedom to engage in all these "dangerous" activities is giving them a precious gift as a teens and adults, learning in an early age, with peers, without judgement or shame about their own limitations, how to cope with their own stress and fears, develop and display courage, to adapt to different scenarios and outcomes during the play. All what our children's bodies (brain) is asking to do now will have an impact on how they will develop as an adult, an individual with the capacity to control its anger, fear, stress, nervousness, discomfort.
Risky Play is the foundation of emotional regulation.
Founder and Director of Miami Nature PLAYschool. Forest School Teacher Leader in UK (In process) by The Forest School Association. Certified Forest Kindergarten Mentor by Cedarson Nature School. Certified Nature-Based Educator by Erafans. International speaker at diverse Certifications and Conferences related with Outdoor Edication. Montessori Instructor Newborn to 6 years. Former Leadership Instructor at UPC Post-graduate Business School. Former Independent Consultant at Cornell IRL.