Kong Academy | Empowering Kids Through Play

What Freaks You Out?

What are the things your kids do that freak you out?

You know the things that make you want to scream “STOOOOPPPPP IT RIGHT NOW” at the top of your lungs. Is it roughhousing in the living room (right next to the TV …!!)? Is it tree climbing when they are so high you can barely see them? Or are they constantly jumping off of stuff and you just can’t understand WHY are they doing this?!

First of all, breathe! Your kids are not out to upset you. It’s completely normal behavior. So normal, it even has a name. It’s called Risk Play. It not only has a name but also an official definition: Risk Play is defined as thrilling and challenging forms of play that involve a risk of physical injury. There are 2 parts to it:

1. The risky play has a risk of injury

2. The type of risk play is chosen by the child

Why would I want my child to do these things, you want to know? You want your kids to grow up safe and become healthy adults. So Risk Play goes completely against your desire to have your children grow up in a safe environment. But the reality is, that this type of play is a developmental NEED in your child’s life. To engage in play that is difficult, scary, challenging, and ultimately risky will cause them to become safer, healthier, and develop needed physical, social, and emotional skills so they become independent and develop a crucial skill: responsible decision making. Sadly kids are being given these opportunities less and less.

Now, we don’t want you to feel you are close to a heart attack when you see your kids do stuff that you perceive as dangerous. That is why I put together a short series that will teach you about developmental Risk Play. What it is, why it is a need, and I’ll share tools you can use to guide responsible decision-making for your kids while helping you feel more comfortable in the process.

Let’s start today with one easy tip!

Instead of screaming “stop”, ask your kid: “Did you notice?” Did you notice the wood is really slippery from the rain? Did you notice the sprinkler sticking out of the ground right there? Did you notice that branch is really thin? Did you notice [insert what YOU have noticed and what concerns you]. Instead of limiting your kids based on your fears, asking them “Did you notice …?” creates awareness and mindfulness and those are the first steps toward kids making their own responsible decisions.

We will talk more about Risk Play over the coming weeks. But for now, here is 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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