Kong Academy | Empowering Kids Through Play

More Risk Fewer Injuries

Why believe us when we tell you: Risk Play is Important?

Last week we shared a little about Risk Play (read the blog post here). We told you that it is a developmental NEED in your child’s life.

Why should you believe us? We teach kids how to jump off stuff, so of course, we would tell you that your kids need Risk Play! But we are not the only ones who strongly believe in the developmental benefits of risky play!

We did our homework and went through a ton of research studies that all came to one conclusion: Risk Play has A LOT of benefits for your child’s development. So, what do all those studies say? Why do kids need Risk Play for a healthy development? Let’s focus on that today.

Benefit #1: Emotional Regulation

One of the main benefits of Risk Play is that kids get to practice emotional regulation. In rough and tumble play (you know, wrestling on the living room rug …) for example, it is very likely that one or both participants experience anger at some point, because one player may accidentally hurt the other (ever witnessed that??).

It takes kids quite a lot of practice to learn how to negotiate that kind of conflict, so they know how to overcome their anger, de-escalate, and practice forgiveness. Once they manage to do that, they can continue to play and have fun instead of things getting out of control, and a “fun rough and tumble” turns into a serious fight. The kind of fight that has moms shaking their heads in disbelief. WHY are they doing that??? It’s not even fun …! It’s so tempting to tell kids to cut out the wrestling nonsense. But the only way for them to practice those important skills of overcoming anger and de-escalation is if we let them practice (and allow them to fail and then guide them back on the right track!).

Benefit #2: Reduced Risk of Injury (WHAT? That makes no sense!)

Believe it or not, another BIG benefit of Risk Play is reduced risk of injury. Sounds completely counter-intuitive? By dealing with risky situations, kids:

  • are becoming more adept at observing their surroundings,
  • stay more active,
  • grow stronger,
  • increase coordination,
  • improve cardiovascular health, and
  • their vestibular systems are more challenged.

As a result, kids improve their balance, eye position, posture, and attention. This not only results in fewer injuries but also in less fidgeting behavior, and an increased ability to concentrate. And who wouldn’t want that for their kids?!

Like last week, we want to share a parenting tip on how to deal with the fact that Risk Play can be pretty stressful for parents. After all, we want our kids to grow up safe and become happy and healthy adults. We hope you see how Risk Play contributes to that goal. And to keep your nerves at bay here is parenting tip #2.

Simple Parenting Tip:

Play with your kids. Sounds too simple? It may be simple, but it’s extremely effective. Often we have lost connection to what we are capable of and pass that on to our kids. We see what they are doing from our perspective and can’t imagine having to do that ourselves, so we don’t want them to do it either. Play with your kids, run up the slide, hang on the monkey bars, play catch. Start redeveloping your own connection to Risk Play and it will become easier for you to understand why your kids love it so much. And you know what? It’s fun! Try it 😎.

We will talk a little more about Risk Play next week. But for now, here is a reminder of one of my favorite quotes: “Prepare your child for the road NOT the road for your child.”

If you have any questions about Risk Play or want to share any particular challenges you are currently facing, please reach out to us at info@kongacademy.org. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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