The Canadian Paediatric Society says a little risk can be good for kids.
The national organization has issued new recommendations that encourage kids to engage in unstructured outdoor play — and “risky play” in particular.
It says that type of play varies by child, but is generally defined as “thrilling and exciting free play that involves uncertain outcomes and the possibility of physical injury.”
Examples include play at height or speed, supervised activities involving tools such as hammers, ropes and knives — such as whittling or building — and the chance of getting lost.
While it can be scary for parents to allow risk into their kids’ lives, the pediatric group says this sort of play is crucial for children’s mental, social and physical development.
But the organization says that doesn’t mean ignoring safety regulations.
Kids shouldn’t be left unsupervised in hazardous areas, nor should they be pushed outside their comfort levels.
It’s up to the grown-ups to be aware of hazards, and intervene if the potential harm is more serious than the child is able to recognize and manage.