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Allowing Risk Taking – 5 Great Reasons to Allow Risk!

Do you find yourself holding your breath as you watch your child taking what you feel is a big risk? Do you want to call out “be careful!”? Children like to take risks. They also apparently want to give us gray hair and cause us heart palpitations. Or is that simply mine? 

It can be hard to let children take risks. As parents we want to protect them, not see them get hurt. But we have to trust them and give them the opportunities to try, fail, get back up and try again if need be. 

I like to observe people. It is fun. When we are at a playground I often observe the other grown ups and children. I am sure people are observing me and how I parent. And they might wonder why I let my girls do certain things – like take risks in their play and movement. I do it because I know that it is good for them. 

Early on I learned not to say “Be careful” or “Watch what you are doing” as when I did that, they tended to tense up and there would be more hurts and a lack of freedom to what they actually wanted to do. When I let them know I trust them to try things out and I will be there if they get hurt, they generally race off and explore, climb, slide, swing, hang upside down and run about. Others might think I don’t care but I really do. And part of that caring is letting my girls take risks so they learn. 

Father with two kids having fun together in the garden. Little girl jumping from the stone steps.

WHY WE SHOULD ALLOW RISK TAKING

Allowing children to take risks is important for their overall development and helps them learn and grow in various ways. This is when exploring or playing outside, and in their play at home too. Here are a few reasons why it is beneficial:

Promotes learning and growth

When children take risks, they have the opportunity to learn from their experiences, whether they succeed or fail. They develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities. Taking risks fosters curiosity and a love for learning, as children are more likely to explore new ideas and try new activities.

Builds resilience

Risk-taking helps children build resilience and the ability to handle setbacks and failures. When they take risks, they learn to bounce back, persevere, and adapt to new situations. These experiences teach them valuable life lessons and prepare them for future challenges.

A young boy exploring the rock pools on a jagged rocky Atlantic Ocean coastline, De Kelders, Western Cape, South Africa.

Boosts self-confidence

When children take risks and succeed or learn from their failures, it boosts their self-confidence. They develop a sense of belief in their abilities and learn that they can overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. This self-confidence can have a positive impact on other aspects of their lives.

Encourages independence and responsibility

Allowing children to take risks gives them the opportunity to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions. It fosters independence and helps them learn to evaluate risks, manage their own safety, and make informed choices. This promotes their personal growth and development.

Sparks creativity and innovation

Taking risks encourages children to think outside the box and develop innovative ideas. It helps them break free from conventional thinking and explore new possibilities. This is essential for nurturing creativity and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.

Outdoors portrait of cute preschool boy climbing a tree.

Yes, we should be providing risk taking opportunities – but not without boundaries. We can’t just let them fly free without some expectations in place. But the rewards are worth it.

Another great thing to teach is critical thinking – check out the post here

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