Risky play boosts confidence and decision making ability

Let my three year old climb trees and rocks??  Without holding my hand?

It can be scary as a mother watching your 3 year old scramble up cliffsides, running along trails, climb trees or big rock formations.  However, I try to trust my children as much as possible, and encourage them to assess the challenge vs. their skill level.

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I will often ask them, “are you sure?” Or “is that branch/rock steady enough?”.  Sometimes I may even say, “what will happen if you step here?” To teach them to analyze the risks.

Allowing them the chance to scale new surfaces will improve their gross motor skills, also their confidence in themselves and their ability to reason whether something is or is not a good idea.

As moms, as much as we may wish to, we will not always be there to make decisions for our children.  We may be afraid to let them make decisions because of a perceived risk.  Instead of saying no, we should instead help our child learn to be safer while climbing.  We must prepare them to do think of these things independently.

Yes, this does extend much further than a discussion about tree climbing.

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I believe we must mother from a place of trust and not fear.  We need to provide children with opportunities to grow in their judgement in a relatively safe context, so they can practice making decisions independently.

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The decisions our children make will get much more complex as they get older.  So let’s start them on the way, by letting them decide what they will and won’t climb while out hiking.

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