How do you let your children explore and be adventurous? How much do you protect them from getting injured? What parameters of safety do you set up for your kid? Are you being too safe or not safe enough?
My kids are at two different stages in life but currently being very adventurous. Often people get nervous as my 2 year old runs by really fast or bolts down a steep hill having the time of her life. They think she will fall or trip and get hurt. They get nervous when my 10 month old is pulling up herself onto a table only to lean into another piece of furniture as she is trying to walk over to a new destination. She is currently on the verge of taking her first steps. While most of the time both of my girls are successful at these movements….
Sometimes they do fall and sometimes they get hurt.
My 10 month old is pulling herself up, standing on her own and walking along furniture. It is only a matter of time before she is running and chasing after her older sister who is now two and half. I remember when my two and half year old was at this stage. For about 7 months she seemed to always have a bruise on her forehead. The bruise would disapear after a few days to my delite only for her to trip on the floor and bonk into the wall…. again.
Now I have to go through this whole stage of learning to walk with my 10 and half month old. She already has a bruise on her head from standing along the wall where she slipped and bonked her head.
So my job is to praise her when she is successful and to give hugs and kisses when she is not. But I feel it necessary to let her try so that she can learn these important movements. She wants to learn these movements and she is working so hard to master them.
Meanwhile my now two and half year old was running. Running like she always loves to run. She runs down the sidewalk using bike racks as tunnels, jumping off of stairs, hopping and even doing a little galloping. She runs so fast while having the time of her life! She then falls…. slips on the pavement …. skins her knee.
My two and half year old also says she can skateboard on her own. I tell her she can but also show her how to properly skate. She wears a helmet and I think that maybe I should go and buy some knee pads and elbow pads. She shows me that she can skateboard on her own as she starts to push herself down the street. She does this successfully. She is really proud of herself and the new skill she is learning. She keeps on doing it successfully. Eventually she falls… she scrapes her hand… she cries…. I knew eventually she would fall because that is what happens when you are trying hard to learn a new skill.
When she gets hurt I give her hugs, I kiss it better, and I tell her that sometimes we fall and get scrapes. I tell her that that happens when we are being adventurous and trying something new. Scrapes happen. I tell her scrapes often happen when we are having a lot of fun being active. We try not to get scrapes but they do happen.
I hope both of my girls learn that we can survive our little scrapes and bruises. I hope it does not stop them from exploring. That sometimes to learn a new skill we need to work hard at it to improve. Sometimes that means falling down and getting back up again. And, I hope that they know that I am there for them as they gain the courage to try something new or to tackle something that they are having troubles conquering.