Playgrounds Help Kids Learn About Risk

Management studies for adults talk about learning to deal with risk and how to manage risk is also important for kids. Some children have a Geronimo reaction to risk, launching themselves into activities that are scary and causing their parents and caregivers grey hairs and near panic attacks. Can you relate to these daredevils? Many of us shudder as we remember heart-stopping moments. Other children are quite frightened by risk and cling to the safety of adults. Thankfully, most children are not this extreme and only cause grownups a few scares or need just a bit of support to take a few steps on their own. Playgrounds are one space where kids can learn about both risks and safety.

helping kids manage risks on the playgroundRisk is part of children’s development and just like other life lessons, kids need time and opportunities to find a balance between safety and uncertainty. The first time a child tries a slide, parents usually hold on until the little one can sit and slide independently and then move to the catch position at the bottom of the slide. Kids will soon either want the adult to move away or will check that the adults stay close. Part of our responsibility as parents and caregivers is knowing when to stay close and when to let kids try on their own. The balance between safety and risk is isn’t always easy for us, either.

Children have their own comfort zones and tolerance levels when it comes to taking risks. Is your child impulsive and needs firm guidelines or hesitant and needs encouraging? As your child plays on the swings, slides, climbers, and other equipment on the playground how do you as the adult tend to react? Are there some ways that your child can play and learn about risk?


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