Bubble Wrapping Not Required! Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapter 4 (Week 3)

Published on: September 14, 2015

Filled Under: Beyond The Pages, Books, Guest Speakers, Resources

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What If Book Study Marketing PicToday we are discussing Chapter 4: Bubble Wrapping Not Required.  Mike Huber is our guest content expert this week to provide insight and lead our discussion.  You can access Mike’s blog or learn more about his books at RedLeaf Press and RedLeaf Lane Find him on Facebook at Mike Huber’s Children’s books.  If you are just joining us, you will find all the book study details HERE.

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Mike-HuberBubble Wrapping Not Required depicts the absurdity of our society’s fear of risk.  Pica focuses on parents’ fears of anything negative happening to their children.  I’d like to think about parents’ hopes for their children.  We want children to be resilient.  Resilience requires taking risks.  We want children to be joyful.  Nothing beats the joy of successfully taking a risk.  Risk is a part of being alive and children need to know how to deal with risk.

But it’s not risk alone.  Resilience comes both from risk and persistence.  You have to try and you have to fail.  The risk might be physical.  It might be emotional.  We know that children will get hurt. We know they will cry.  Our job isn’t to keep them from falling.  It’s to help them up and hug them when they do fall.

Let’s be clear that risk is different than hazard.  Risk is something that a child can see and assess such as climbing high.  Each time a child reaches higher, she can look down and decide if she has reached her limit.  Once she has reached her limit, she can climb down.  Next time, she will probably go a little higher, but she will be the one to decide.

A hazard is something a child cannot see or assess.  For example, if there is a slide on a playground, the child will assume she can go down it.  She will not notice if the slide has a gap that could catch the drawstring from her sweatshirt and asphyxiate her.  Adults need to minimize hazards as much as possible and minimize risk as much as necessary.

While our first impulse as adults may be to protect children, we need to look at the big picture.  Children are ultimately safer when they learn to assess risk themselves.  For example, open bodies of water pose a risk for drowning.  We could make sure children don’t have access to water, and as long as they are in our watch, they would not risk drowning.  But the day they find themselves by a lake or river without us, are they safer?  It is much better to first expose them to shallow bodies of water where they can have fun and then teach them how to swim as they get older.  The same is true for other risks.  It is better to climb a tree and get a few scrapes than it is to not climb at all.

Children need to challenge themselves when they take risks.  It is important to let children climb on their own so they can assess the risk they are ready for.  If an adult puts a child up in a tree, the child has no control over the situation.  Children also need to use their body to back out of a situation they decide is too much for them.  If a child climbs and gets stuck, the adult should verbally help them down.  Reassure the child that you are nearby and talk through the steps the child can take to get down. Only help them physically if falling is imminent.

As a teacher, you can help children learn to assess risk as they play.  If a child does something that seems risky, don’t stop them right away.  Instead move closer and see if the risk is reasonable.  If you are not sure, you can ask the child for their assessment (“What’s your plan?” “Are there any sharp corners you need to worry about?”).

You can also do a risk-benefit analysis.  Decide what the risks are as well as the benefits.  If the risk is reasonable and there are benefits, just stay nearby and watch for changes in the situation.  If the risk seems too great, decide if there are any changes that would make it safer while still allowing the child to get their needs met.  If a tree branch seems weak, is there another branch (or another tree) that is safer?

It is important to keep in mind that playing, even risky play, is relatively safe.  There was a study in the UK that found that the sport of badminton results in twice as many injuries than playing on playgrounds.  Most other sports resulted in even more injuries.  There are benefits to engaging in sports, of course, so the benefits outweigh the risk, so why not playgrounds? And tree climbing didn’t even make it on the chart!

One of the most dangerous things for a child to do is ride in a car, but we have agreed as a society that it is worth the risk.  Children end up in the emergency room for falls 20 times the number for non-fatal car accidents.  However, it is extremely rare for a child to die from a fall.  Children under the age of 5 are more than 10 times more likely to die in a car accident than from a fall. Children 5-9 are more than 80 times as likely.  In other words, children may get hurt, but almost all will be minor injuries. Meanwhile, children learn how to deal with risk and ultimately stay safer.

Getting out of bed exposes you to countless risks.  But if you stay in bed, you risk letting life pass you by.  Just watch how children run to greet the day, ready for anything.  It may be risky, but it is joyful.  Maybe instead of trying to make the children more like us, we need to be more like them.

THOUGHT QUESTIONS:

  • What are the most joyful moments of your childhood? Was there risk involved?
  • Can you remember taking a risk that didn’t work out for you? Do you think you benefited from this failure in the long run?
  • Has a child ever surprised you with their abilities? Was your first impulse to stop them from trying?
  • Think of a time you watched a child take a risk. What was your first impulse? What did they gain from the experience?  What did you gain?

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Please share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study. We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapter 4 and about the Thought Questions that Mike has provided. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

What to read next: Chapter 6- Teaching Girls They’re More Than a Pretty Face (9/21/15).

*If you’re a MN participant seeking training hours, please visit this link to access to requirements.

72 Responses to Bubble Wrapping Not Required! Book Study Expert Commentary for Chapter 4 (Week 3)

  1. Cory says:

    Just this weekend when my husband and I were walking we saw a little boy climbing a tree. His dad who was no less than 7 feet tall was standing by him having a conversation about what he needed to do to be safe but he also was chatting about what he could see from his perch. My husband and I stopped and complimented him for allowing the child to have this adventure, knowing full well we had allowed our own kids a few risky adventures. Not everyone in the park was in agreement, a couple moms sitting on the bench were suggesting that the dad didn’t care and was endangering his child. My husband held me back so I wouldn’t be hold off for park bench rage BUT I did want to educate them? How many times have we had to fall down and get back up again? How many bumps and bruises does it take to learn? I believe the key is to know the child deeply and to know what their limits are and to let them guide us to define what risk can be taken. And a little bump doesn’t hurt. Spoken from a mama of 4 sons 🙂

  2. Rachel Calvert says:

    This chapter was so good for me to read this week! Thanks Mike for your insight about how parents have many hopes for their children (resiliency, problem solving abilities, ability to make safe choices). That’s the perfect way to frame conversations that we have to encourage parents to step back a bit more at times.

    True confession time: I like to think I’m a huge advocate for helping children learn, figure things out, problem solve and do things for themselves most of the time, but as a parent, sometimes I fail at this miserably! I have noticed that with one of my children, who has a very adventurous spirit, I spend lots of time watching over him, assessing the amount of risk for his actions, etc. while my other child is very cautious and I often am encouraging her to take more risks and try things! I always appreciate having my husband’s perspective on their play where he pretty much always lets them play and experience consequences of their actions (both successes and some failures).

    In our role in the hospital, child life specialists have the opportunity to debrief with families sometimes after accidents happen from risky behaviors. I think one of the most rewarding things we do is being able to see a child process what happened after an accident, master the necessary healthcare experiences (stitches? splints/casts for broken bones?) and then still be excited to try again or do it a little differently next time. There is always so much learning evident in those situations – for parents too!

  3. Betsy says:

    Thank you Mike for your thoughts. I especially appreciated your differentiation between hazard and risk. I think this is a great point to share with families and other overly cautious adults. It helped me consider how I support my daughter to take risks while keeping her safe.

    Here is a humorous clip I saw recently that focuses on this very issue. I thought others might enjoy it while considering the topic.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/parody-video-pays-tribute-to-parents-helicopter-tendencies_55e5b2aae4b0aec9f3547590

  4. Rae Pica says:

    Mike, thanks for this wonderful post!

    I’m so glad that your thought questions asked readers to reflect on their own childhoods. One of my strongest memories was of jumping from the very high ledge at the top of my home’s front steps to an alcove below. The floor and walls of this small alcove were concrete (which may be why my knees are in the state they’re in — LOL). I’m astonished now to consider the risk and bravery inherent in doing that jump (I did it over and over again), but it was clearly something I had to prove I could do. Now, as a more cautious adult, that memory is so important to me as it’s a reminder that bravery and risk-taking are indeed part of my DNA. Sadly, if things were then as they are now, my mother probably would be arrested for neglect. (Just check out the stories at http://www.freerangekids.com if you think I’m kidding.) And, even more sadly, there will be too few adults in the future who have such memories to shore up their courage when they need it the most.

  5. Scott says:

    Good post, Mike. Helping kids assess risk and think through actions are important. I’ve found that kids who are climbing (or doing other risky things) usually can determine their limits–when it is too high or too risky for their skills–when allowed to think through or encouraged to do things. One of my favorite indoor risky things is allowing kindergartners to use glue guns. I point out the hot parts and place a small cup of water nearby to stick burnt fingers in. But they use the glue guns (or not if they choose) and feel such a sense of competence and accomplishment. Risky behavior helps kids grow in their competence! (“I did it!!”)

  6. Dawn Braa says:

    Betsy – That video is hilarious! Thanks for the comic relief mid-week!

    Mike – I agree that your point about risk vs. hazard provides clarity to a sometimes grey issue. Thank you for your detailed post. This is a real issue that adults need to consider. What are the implications if we’re not allowing children to experience healthy risk assessment? I wonder how we might spread the word to others that work with young children…and parents.

    I came across this NPR article today about toddlers using knives…did anyone else see it? http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/15/440277209/go-ahead-give-your-toddler-a-kitchen-knife

    Teacher Tom also wrote a risk assessment post earlier this year, including great photos. http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-process-of-risk.html

  7. Cory says:

    Child Care Exchange did a piece on the Hummingbird parent versus the helicopter parent that was a good read. http://www.childcareexchange.com/eed/issue/3903/ I really liked this section:

    “Out of these concerns comes a new image, instead of ‘helicopter parents,’ who swoop in at the slightest hint of a problem for their children we have ‘hummingbird parenting,’ in which parents stay nearby but only swoop in when really needed. They let their children face as much risk as the children can handle. There is yet another stage to aspire toward — to prepare children so that they can range as freely as possible, given their age and circumstances. Such children are generally very confident and resilient.”

  8. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Along with children learning problem solving skills, resiliency, and body awareness from climbing, jumping and risk taking, they are also gaining a great amount of self help skills. I have parents that do everything for their toddlers; putting their coats on, cleaning up after them, carrying them everywhere. These are the same children that come to my preschool class and melt down when asked to put their coats on because their parents didn’t give them the opportunity or the time to practice these skills. The message that they heard as a toddler when they said “me do it!” was you can’t, I can do it faster and better then you. I discuss with my families how important it is that we foster the “I Can Do It!” spirit in our kids. Head to Toe by Eric Carle is a fun book to share with kids about actions they can do like animals.

  9. Rae Pica says:

    Sarah, this is such an important insight. It’s double trouble when we have parents trying to protect kids from making mistakes AND always in a hurry. Parents carry kids instead of letting them walk because parents are too busy to let children dally. Parents push them in those hideous car-like shopping carts because they’re too busy to let children dally. And they push 4- and 5-year-olds in strollers (!) because they’re too busy to let children dally. All of this creates a sense of helplessness in kids that results not only in meltdowns in preschool but also in kindergarten, elementary school, etc., all the way to college and adulthood!

  10. As a child my life was full of risk and adventure. I grew up in the mountains, so be nature of the world, I wore out countless pairs of sneakers which I used as brakes while riding my big wheel down my steep driveway. I know I crashed more than once into the curb across the street. I have two boys of my own and have witnessed their many risky adventures over their childhood. I feel strongly that risk is important. If we don’t take risks at a young age, we never will! The difference in my big wheel rides of my childhood and the risks of my sons’ boils down to better safety gear. My boys used helmets when bike riding, I never did. Safety gear allows children to continue to take risks but potentially minimizing injury. As a mom and teacher I always made efforts to keep my reaction to risk controlled.

    I saw a great video and Facebook page recently and have used it to inspire conversation of risk. The Facebook page is called “Little Zen Monkey” https://www.facebook.com/LittleZenMonkey?fref=ts

    https://youtu.be/_y-SzUdNrjw

    this is a very young child who shows great skill at climbing. Her parents, rock climbers themselves, have set her world up to be about taking risks. For as young as she is, she is quite capable and competent. I often share a video clip without explanation. Reactions of viewers ranges from “this is child abuse” to “these parents are nuts” or even “OMG how horrible!” Yet, when you dig a little deeper you learn that these parents strategized their daughter’s risk taking. They planned for it. And look at how she blossomed under the freedom to take risk!

    Allowing children to take risks allows children to experiment, succeed, fail and try until they succeed. Persistence, perseverance develop in the undertaking of risk.

  11. I recently wrote a two hour curriculum for new immigrant childcare providers in Minnesota titled “Introduction to Safe Supervision of Children”. In doing the research , I found that children in high income countries are less likely to be injured or die from accidents than those from low income countries. So our practices and-laws- for minimizing hazards is working 🙂 We may be taking it too far, and as Mike says, confusing hazard and risk. At the same time, the video of the climbing toddler may indeed seem too dangerous for people who are not rock climbers, taking it too far there too. My thought question is: How do we as educators spread a balanced message?

  12. Jen N says:

    Thanks for this great post, Mike! I too really appreciate your discussion of risk vs. hazard and think it would be a great way to approach the topic with “hummingbird parents.” Also, I like that you encouraged us to view this topic from the perspective of our own childhood. Like others, memories of risks I took (riding a scooter with no brakes downhill, trying the hurdles in a track meet with little practice, or auditioning for the summer play even though I was painfully shy) are some of my most vivid. These moments—whether positive or negative—bolstered my self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and perseverance.

    After reading chapter 7, I sought out the Psychology Today article mentioned in the text: “A Nation of Wimps.” I really enjoyed some of the points made there as well, especially in regards to how bubble-wrapping our school-age children leads to issues into adulthood (anxiety, depression, and low self-confidence–specifically in the college years). The article also makes an important point regarding technology, calling the cell phone the eternal umbilicus. Young adults today haven’t internalized the values and advice of mom and dad (because they were always around/available) so they are unable to problem solve on their own. And why should they when mom and dad are just a call away?

    I specifically want to make a point to remember one idea covered in the text, comments here, and also in the article I read: We (as parents and adults who work with children) are not only bubble-wrapping our children, but we are rushing them as well. There’s something beautiful about a child’s sense of time (for exploration, wonderment), and even though I don’t have children of my own I sometimes catch myself hurrying children along to the next thing. We live in a world where many of us live in a constant state of rushing (to the next task, level, goal). We should take a lesson from our children and work to be more mindful of the present moment and the joy we can find in resting there.

  13. Lynn says:

    I once asked my mom to describe me as a child and she said “busy!”, as I was always running everywhere and searching out adventure. I’m still that way as an adult so I really appreciated the video title “Send The Beloved Child on a Journey”. My parents divorced when I was 9 yrs so my brother and I were on our own a lot because my mom worked long hours. I remember missing the bus once and had to walk to school by myself because there wasn’t any other option – natural consequences!
    The reference about the difference between what children can do vs. what parents let them do really resonated with me. My daughter was the 4yr old you would see outside in the rain with her umbrella and pail collecting earthworms from our neighborhood driveways and street (no there wasn’t any lightening!). I had done this with her twice before and encouraged her to go by herself one day while I folded clothes watching from the window. One neighbor thought I was a nut brain. My mother in law didn’t think it was a good idea to let her play in the backyard sandbox under our deck by herself because I couldn’t see her while I did the dishes. I had open windows and could hear her talking to herself, which was absolutely fascinating and something I would have missed out on had I spent every minute with her out there. Obviously, my husband and I grew up with very different parenting styles! He says his aunt used to joke that his mom ran after him with a q- tip in case he got a speck on him. Knowing this about each other, we recognize our differences and try to balance each other out. More importantly, I want to encourage my daughter’s natural tendencies so she feels confident navigating her way through life through instincts and common sense vs. fear and paranoia. I teach my daughter safe practices, but also let her make her mistakes. I’ve learned from mine too – having an only child who is an extreme dawdler, I would often do things for her to get out of the door on time – well that backfired on me when she started kindergarten!
    I can see a little bit of myself in all the labels of hummingbird, helicopter and a new one I just heard – “the lawnmower” who mows down all obstacles in a child’s path. My goal is to recognize it when it happens and let her become the person she’s meant to be!

  14. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Jen and Lynn:
    I totally agree with you both. Children should be given the right to have their own childhood experiences without an adult telling them what to do and how fast to do it. The wonder in everything is such a gift and we should not rush them through it. How do we learn what success is if we never learn to fail? I also agree that is difficult to be a parent and a teacher who has this belief. Some people judge you as careless. People have commented on the 4 ft deep hole my boys dug in the back yard and the tree climbing that happens on a daily basis. I see it as an opportunity to have a discussion about all the skills they are learning through these risk taking activities.
    Angele: To respond to your question. Just as Mike mentioned as educators we discuss with parents, providers, and other educators the difference between healthy risk taking and hazardous negligence.

  15. Jane says:

    Betsy I really enjoyed the video.
    I enjoyed Mike’ commentary about resilience. I too find a need to balance allowing children to take a risk and celebrate the joy in their accomplishment.

  16. Dianne says:

    I enjoyed this post, especially the part about risk vs. hazard. This is a difficult area for many parents in today’s society. I feel that a lot of parents are so worried about their children getting hurt that they are preventing their children from living their lives. I agree that letting children take risk is important for them to develop. I do know a few parents that let their children explore and experience life without as many constraints. I know one parent who still lets their six year old ride his bicycle within a couple of blocks of their home all by himself. Most of the time he does very well but occasionally tests his limits. I know another little three year old that is in my daycare and is a very good climber and all it takes is a split second and he is up standing on the table or when he is outside he will climb on the outside on top of the curly tunnel slide. He has absolutely no fear of falling. It makes me a bit nervous, but I try to just stand very near so that I could catch him if he lost his balance or if he suddenly got scared but he does very well and never appears afraid at all. He is one child that I can’t never let out of my sight. He loves climbing. He has an older brother that was the same way and it makes me wonder how they are going to turn out when they are adults. Are they always going to be risk takers?

  17. Kim Woehl says:

    I think that we have to consider the liability or the risk inherent in any activity. As a child I grew up on a small hobby farm where I was allowed to explore from morning until night. You came in when you heard the dinner bell. The memories created by being allowed to explore, hang with animals, explore the pond and walk the acreage allowed for much learning that I could never have learned or experienced through someone else’s eye’s.

    As a parent I did my best to create these same memories with a few exceptions that I found dangerous with my now adult mind. Here the idea was to figure out a different way to still explore and yet in a safe way. Things like boundaries, rules set up for exploration, expectations of an end goal or time to be done. I looked for and was intentional in finding ways that my children could still explore while allowing me to still feel pretty secure in the fact that no one was going to steal them.

    As a child care provider I wore a different hat. Here I still did my very best to allow children to explore freely and yet we definitely had more rules and boundaries. When a child gets hurt in a child care program, liability can close your door for good and as a result we had to be cautious, perhaps too cautious. I wish we did not have to worry so much about the legal ramifications of an injury and still allow a child to climb trees, walk in the woods, play next to the waters edge, etc so that as we learned in chapter 3 that Joy and thereby learning does take place.

    Lastly, I could not believe the story about the school that refused what 425 other schools in the district deeded safe with supervision. To say that “walking to school is unsafe, regardless of how well planned or supervised it is”, Pica, R. (n.d.). The power of joy. In What if everybody understood child development?: Straight talk about bettering education and children’s lives. a huge over step by this school. Of course you can find ways to make it safer and certainly you would have to outweigh the benefits versus negative impact. I dare say the benefits would surely outweigh the slight possibility of harm.

  18. Heather Quale says:

    http://hqtoddlers.blogspot.com/2016/05/week-three-book-study-what-if-everybody.htm

    My dad always said “make new mistakes”. This gave us permission to screw up. Try something, fail, try again in a different way (hopefully) and learn something. He also told us there is no such thing as vicarious learning. It never failed, one of kids would make a big mistake, and we’d sit the other siblings down and lecture them about how not to do what we did. But invariably, the other siblings would make the same mistake and ~only then~ did they learn. By actually trying it themselves. My dad always hoped we’d learn through failing, but without life altering consequences, but gave us the freedom and space to figure it out.

  19. Heather Q says:

    Growing up, my wise dad always said “make new mistakes”. This gave us permission to screw up. Try something, fail, try again in a different way (hopefully) and learn something. He also told us there is no such thing as vicarious learning. It never failed, one of kids would make a big mistake, and we’d sit the other siblings down and lecture them about how not to do what we did. But invariably, the other siblings would make the same mistake and ~only then~ did they learn. By actually trying it themselves. My dad always hoped we’d learn through failing, but without life altering consequences, but gave us the freedom and space to figure it out. That’s life and learning.

    http://hqtoddlers.blogspot.com/2016/05/week-three-book-study-what-if-everybody.html

  20. Cindy Kish says:

    This is a great discuss about risk vs hazard and the extra rules we as childcare providers have to enforce. Children need to have the time, opportunity, and areas to learn how to take the risks and how to grow from taking these risks. I also agree that parents today do to much for the child because it is quicker and easier for them. I don’t know how many times I have had to have children at pickup show their parents they can put their coat and shoes on, they can walk down the stairs, etc. Parents today seem to do what is easy and quick for them, but on the other hand they schedule to many events, classes for the children so they don’t have the time or opportunity to learn the risk vs hazard while they are still young.

  21. Diana M says:

    I agree completely with the point of this chapter. And in raise to the commentary above, I can readily say my most cherished childhood moments were climbing the big maple in my yard, running around the neighborhood with other kids, and tramping around in the woods at the local park! I recall that my parents most of the time weren’t even outside with me, but trusted me and my friends to stay within the vicinity of our yards and that we’d ask if we wanted to walk to the park or something, but we were pretty much on our own! It makes me cringe some of the rules we have on our playground like no climbing at all, no going up slides, etc. Oftentimes when I’m outside with the older kids at the end of the day, I let them explore a bit more. And in my experience, kids are going to get hurt eventually, no matter how much we try and protect them, it’s just inevitable. But we can make sure that they are at least properly equipped with discerning judgment about their limits by letting them take risks.

  22. Rachel D says:

    While reading this chapter as both a parent and a teacher I had mixed feelings. Of course I want my child to take risks but at the same time I want to put him in a bubble and keep him safe from all of the harmful things in the world. When I read what Mike had said about the difference between risk and hazard I had a moment of clarity where I realized that I was thinking as most things in life as a hazard to my child when in all actuality it is just a risk. A learning experience that can be guided and supported. This is what I need to keep in mind also when at work with my Pre-K children. Giving the kids the opportunity to take a risk and assess the situation before I would step in if they needed me to.

  23. Kelsie Brandl says:

    I love how you added the extreme risk taken simply by driving in a car, but it’s done without thought. At our daycare, the greatest risk I can think of that I’ve let our toddlers take is riding a bike much larger than them, but if they’re able to reach the pedals, I see no harm in it. We have a stepper, but if a child jumps off, they are greatly chastised. There is risk in that, but they are learning to land on their feet if they ever fall or trip. If there are stairs, we have to hold their hands, even though we have a child whose parents ask that she learn to use stairs without our help. It’s at our benefit rather than theirs.

  24. Sarah H. says:

    1. What are the most joyful moments of your childhood? Was there risk involved?

    One of the most joyful moments from my childhood was riding with my dad on his motorcycle down our rural gravel road. I had long hair and it had to be pulled back or would get tangled terribly. I can’t even remember if we wore helmets back then. There would definitely have been some risks involved riding on gravel, but my dad wasn’t careless. It was fast and fun.

    2. Can you remember taking a risk that didn’t work out for you? Do you think you benefited from this failure in the long run?

    The first time I rode on the back of my friend’s bike (it was a regular pedal one), I slipped off and forgot to let go! I got a few good scrapes. I would say I didn’t recognize the risk of riding on the back of her bike before I did it. But I’m glad I did it. It was fun and gave us a good laugh later.

    3. Has a child ever surprised you with their abilities? Was your first impulse to stop them from trying?

    I am most often surprised by children’s ability to climb various pieces of playground equipment. I am close in proximity to them to help or support them in case they need it. I have had times when I’ve had to fight the impulse to try to stop kids from trying something.

    4. Think of a time you watched a child take a risk. What was your first impulse? What did they gain from the experience? What did you gain?

    There was a corkscrew on the playground and I thought my son was too young to master going down it. My first impulse was to be inches away from him to catch him in case he fell. So I did stay right next to him for awhile. But he mastered it more quickly than I thought he would. He was so proud of himself and I was also very proud of him.

  25. Samantha Miller says:

    There is a very different mentality today then 20 years ago about keeping children safe. When I was a child my parents sent me out to play with no super vison and it was no problem. Now other people will call the police and report that a child is playing alone in their own yard even when the parents are inside watching from the window. So it makes sense that parents are extra cautious today. Also they may not understand that children need to try things by themselves to learn and grow, and that children can understand body cues if they feel unsafe. This chapter got me thinking about my self and what I allow children to do or not, my thinking is they are not my children and I don’t want them hurt under my care. This has me thinking more about encouraging them to try new things even though it might seem scary but not pushing them if they feel incapable.

  26. Freda says:

    As a daycare provider, I really can relate to this chapter and it was fun to read what I experience in my everyday life. Most people would rather have their kids in a bubble guided by thousand of soldiers as they have every reason to be afraid of the unexpected. I have had a parent call to inquire about my services and the first question was, ‘do you have a fenced in yard’? Very common with other providers being asked as well. What happened to those days when kids are allowed to dance in the rain, play with mud, be free and happy to be kids while they are kids? Most parent avoid letting their kids mingle with their peers for fear of them getting hurt, getting sick or even getting dirty. It’s the worst way possible to isolate any child. Kids should be allowed to be kids.

  27. Nikki Shapiro says:

    Risk versus hazard is a great perspective. In a licensed childcare we have so many rules and concerns about perception and liability that can lead to fines and more unfortunately. Children need to be in sight or sound and the provider must be capable of intervening, is somewhat subjective and does not allow for any “unsupervised” play. Yet we can allow some kinds of risk taking to happen. For example, I have a worm pit in the back play area. Children are free to dig in it and get messy any time we are back there. They can jump on logs or move them to look for critters underneath the logs. It is all in a supervised play space, but it is child driven not teacher driven. Different sized climbers can allow children to take risks that are still safe. And as the person said above, simple things like teaching a young child to put on and take of their shoes and jacket, gives them a sense of accomplishment and of “I CAN do it.”

  28. Kirsten Barie says:

    Mike Huber makes an important distinction between risk and hazards. As an educator, I know the benefits of letting children take risks but when I put on my “parent hat”, it becomes a little more difficult. I am currently struggling with an issue with my child (and she is 14!). Next fall she wants to attend a performing arts high school downtown and there is no busing provided. She will need to take the city bus. This is a good opportunity and a good risk for her to take. However, as a mom, I worry about “what could happen”. There is no immediate hazard. It is a risk she is willing to take and she will learn lots of things from the experience.

    Rae Pica makes a great point in this earlier thread of comments. Many parents are in too much of a hurry to allow their children to take risks. It is unfortunate. My question is how to educate parents about this.

  29. Marcy Dragseth says:

    Chapter 4 Bubble wrapping not required. I thought how important it is to take risks. By taking these risks as children you learn the cause and effect. If we don’t take these risks we wouldn’t know how to deal with situations of failure as adults. Also if risks are not taken we will miss out on things in life like relationships, experiences, travel the list could go on. I have teenagers, My oldest just got back from a school trip I can’t imagine if we didn’t allow her to take the risk of traveling 800 miles away experiencing and seeing real life situations. She learned a lot by this experience. As parent you need to look at the big picture. How will they benefit from this.?

  30. Kelly North says:

    As a child my most vivid memory of taking a risk was when I decided to jump from the top bunk, over the trundle that was pulled out, unfortunately it turned out to be a hazard as I broke my leg. (Age 5) But as I got older and taking risks was more prevalent, that memory made me look before I leapt!!!

  31. Yi Ling (Ivy) Flanders says:

    Educate, educate educate and encourage, encourage encourage. We like to encourage kids to take risks when learning new things and when playing. Sometimes, we also educate the parents, provide them some resources and explain to them, I think when we can open the window communicate well enough, kids can acutlaly get more creative and willing to try new things and go on an advensure field trips.

  32. Derrylin Young says:

    In Chapter 4, “Bubble Wrapping Not Required”, I understood what Rae Pica was saying. I am one of those parents that wants to Bubble Wrap my child. Although my child is almost 3 and I should watch her and what he does, I go way overboard. I also fear that I would have continued to go overboard in the future. I’m scared of stairs and I’m always running to make sure that she comes up and down the stairs with me present, even though my family and husband tell me that she is ready to do it on her own. I am scared she’s gonna fall off of the couch when she tries to do daring things, and its not far from the carpeted floor. I watch her when she’s in the back yard and I’m holding my breath every minute that she doesn’t trip. Because of this chapter I am going to consciously try to do better with this bubble wrapping of my child. I want her to explore, to run, and to learn and be physically fit. I don’t want her to be ready for life when she is older.

  33. Rae Pica says:

    Derrylin, your thoughts here made my heart soar! I thank you for your willingness to try to change…and I’m sure your daughter will too!

  34. Brandon Young says:

    Reading the bubble wrap chapter there were a few points made that I completely agree with, yet there are some that I cant really side with. On one hand, it is true that children are overly cradled due to the fear of parents and care takers that they will be harmed our hurt themselves unsupervised every second. I do believe this can hold them back from independence in the future. With that said, I do feel to some degree that you shouldn’t just trust them to be on there own. And if you are like me the owner of a day care you legally cant do this. An alternative I agree with is at home we have a camera in my 2 ½ year old daughters play area where we can view and observe how she reacts to things on her own without us hovering over her every moment.

  35. Steph Kallinen says:

    The hazard vs risk perspective is especially applicable to family child care I think. Sometimes I find myself telling kids to stop doing something and then I think “wait, they aren’t hurting themselves or anyone else, why did I tell them to stop?”- it was a risk not a hazard. I need to work on letting them take risks! Though, as someone else mentioned in a previous comment there is always the liability aspect in child care and not wanting the kids to get hurt “on my watch”.

  36. Kathryn Lundin says:

    Chapter 4
    I agree that sometimes taking a back seat and just letting children engage in play by themselves is just fine. It helps them become more creative thinkers and able to cope with and solve problems. I hate it when I hear about a school taking recess and gym class away from the overall day’s schedule. Children need that time to engage in large motor play, to make social connections, and take risks to solve their own problems. I agree that children are essentially protected from everything and anything. There is no way that a child who is “bubble-wrapped” can be a productive and functional member of society. Let children play. Let children take risks. Let them learn how to bounce back.

  37. Samantha says:

    This brings me back to think about me when I was younger. Flipping our bikes over while riding down a hill or jumping off the boat in deep water with no life jackets. I forget I need to allow my son to be independent on adventours things. I have been pretty good about letting him ride bike far ahead of us when walking. But he knows to look for cars and other people walking because of this. I loved reading chapter 4. As a child care provider parents get so upset when their little fell into the sidewalk and marked up their elbow or they could run into the corner of something so they offer me safer tools. I simply remind them I have here to watch them be kids. I have a dog bite scar from our family dog and love dogs to this day. Stuff happens and we have to reminder to keep an eye on them but them be kids.

  38. Melissa D says:

    I love the idea of risk versus hazard. When children are allowed to take risks they also learn what their limits are…learning about personal limits when the consequences are usually relatively minor (scraping a knee for instance) at a young age is preferred to learning your personal limits when you are older (crashing a car for example) and the consequences can be much more severe. It also build so much confidence…the child is able to say to themselves “I can do that”. Children also will be less likely to be “afraid” of the world around them if they can experience it.
    When I talk with parents about safety at our center I mention that we are as “safe as practical” not as “safe as possible”. That does not mean that anything goes but we let children test out their bodies and ideas in a supportive and supervised environment. We are of course nearby to assist children when needed but we offer support through guidance not through denying them the chance to try new experiences.

  39. Shari Ernst says:

    I love the chapter title. Bubble wrapping not required. Oh there is such issues with this. We, parents and caregivers, are judged if we don’t watch our kids close enough and if we are to close, Hover Parents, we are not allowing our child to take risks. It was interesting to read that we are not any more safe as a society then we were years ago. I think the media has made us parents paranoid. This chapter opened my eyes to the fact that we have to allow our children to take risks. Rae says “children are meant to be risk takers”. (that explains the behavior of my crazy wild boys in daycare, LOL” Now that I know kids are hard wired to be risk takers I can allow small steps for them to take risks. I do not want to raise kids that are afraid to take risks and grow up to not be good problem solvers.

  40. Karlee O says:

    My husband and I like to say that our parenting style is to allow “reasonable risk.” If he climbs on the box he might fall but will he be badly hurt? No, maybe just a bruise and a bruise wont kill him, in fact he might not even acknowledge it, When he climbs the box he will learn to move his body in the proper way to climb safely so that one day when he climbs something bigger, higher, more dangerous he will know how to move in order to avoid the higher risk.
    We have a family friend with several children, one the same age as our oldest son (almost 2 years). This Family has several play structures in their yard and any structure where he might be able to climb it has been fenced off so only the older children can climb it. It upset me to see that he wasn’t even given the opportunity to try to climb these things. not only is he not learning how to make his body function properly to climb he is getting the sad message, you can’t so don’t bother trying.

  41. Jill Baer says:

    Just last week we went hiking in an area that made me nervous for my children. My husband, the boys new step dad pointed out they are no longer babies. I watched how my comments affected their risk assessment and decided to observe closely but keep my comments to myself. My husband, after all was right next to them as well. Sure enough, my youngest looked at a steep area, stopped for a moment and grabbed my husband’s hand to continue while my oldest chose to walk closely behind them, both assessing risk in their own way.

    It is difficult to balance the horror we hear and see on the news and freedom and independence for our children. We must provide them skills and let them branch out both with little steps as toddlers and bigger steps as they grow. We gave them safe environments to ecplire in as ypung children and expand their area for exploration as they grow. Without independence and skills, when they are on their own, they will struggle and we will not have fully prepared them for life.

  42. MARY MARTIN says:

    I totally agree with this chapter. The world has made us all feel like we can’t let our children breath without us. I love to let the children try just about anything they feel they want to do. I believe it builds not just character but strength in all aspects of their life. If they don’t try new physical things then their limitations are low and on top of that how do they strengthen their minds and bodies. My husband tries to get our grandchildren to do things he shouldn’t even be doing. I mean seriously he needs both his hips.

  43. Amy Carter says:

    I agreed with most of this chapter, except the idea that children should be able to run around unsupervised. My husband has a law enforcement and military background- so risk taking is not something we’re unfamiliar with. However, I don’t think children should be put at unnecessary risks. We weigh our risks. What’s the worst case senecio, and can I live with it if it were to happen. My child being kidnapped is not one I’m willing to roll the dice on. Climb trees, money bars, glue guns, all with in reason in my opinion- running the neighborhood unsupervised though, I firmly disagree with.

  44. Tasha Martin says:

    I am the over protective parent that has a really hard time realizing my children are growing up. I tend to shy away from allowing them do things or even try new things. When I was a child at 9 riding my bike around the block was a no question act, getting my own breakfast, having sleep overs etc. With my children I have a hard time letting them leave the side walk in front of my house. There is a park near by but I am not comfortable letting even my 8 and 9 year old walk there to play. I see children walking blocks to get home and I always think to myself aren’t they to young. I feel the world has changed allot and I’m not ready to take any chances with my children.

  45. Arissa Kordell says:

    In my opinion there is a big difference between bubble wrapping our kids and just letting them run around the neighborhood unsupervised. I agree that we need to allow our kids to expand their minds and learn the tools necessary to solve problems and succeed on their own. We need to set less limitations for them in order to help prepare our kids for the future and for life as an adult. There are far too many kids that have been bubble wrapped and now are turning 18 and moving to college and don’t know how to support themselves or do anything for themselves because we never let them. However on the other end I see lots of kids as young as age 5 running around the block between their house and the park and their friends house. I never see a parent with them. This concerns me as these kids are never being watched.
    I think it’s important to find the middle ground that allows our kids to grow without putting them at risk being unsupervised all the time.

  46. Joni Helmeke says:

    The topic of this chapter is one that my husband and I differ on. I’m glad he’s here to offer our twin toddler girls some balance in this regard. I am definitely on the more cautious end, watching out for our girls. For example at gatherings, I am constantly aware of where they are and what they’re doing, making sure they are safe. My husband, a born risk-taker himself, allows for more risk in their play and encourages rougher play. He can’t wait to take them down hill skiing! It’s a good balance really. But I wonder sometimes if I should be more relaxed sometimes and not limit their play. I guess my hope is to teach them how to play safely and what to watch out for so they don’t get hurt- now, and later when I’m not around.

  47. Kora says:

    I completely understand the worries presented in this chapter. Of course parents are going to worry about their kids, but I feel like they are now more so then they used to be. There are so many shows and movies based on kids being abducted or murdered. It is even one of the first things on the news or in the papers. You also hear a lot about kids accidentally dying on the news. It would make any parent worry. As a parent you feel like you have to be a part of every second of your kids life. Not only to keep them safe but to help, teach, and socialize. I feel like if you are not that you are a bad parent because your not paying attention or focusing on your kids. I think a lot of people and studies forget how it was to be a kids and have your own experienced and adventures without you parents. It makes them think and make the right choices. No wonder young adults don’t know what to.

  48. Laura says:

    I am a protective parent, but I would not say an over protective parent thanks to my husband. I have a daughter from a previous relationship and she was a total TomGirl, we grew up on a farm and she raced 4 wheelers so I made sure she wore appropriate protective gear but still let her go out and be adventurous and figure things out for her self. Now my husband and I have a son and he is SO boy, he climbs and jumps from any and everything, making my heart race…. I have caught my self so many time since reading this chapter not to say please don’t do that its not safe, or be careful so you don’t fall. I am working on just being there to help him up and letting him discover his body and his abilities… Of course in a safe environment where he will not get hurt.. This chapter has definetly helped me as both parent and provider.

  49. Barb K. says:

    I am in total agreement with the statement that risk is important for personal growth and self confidence. I like the difference between risk and hazard as discussed in the commentary. I believe that in taking risks children do learn to trust themselves. As a childcare provider however I do have to set limits as there is a liability issue to be concerned with.

  50. Bobbie S says:

    I was the biggest tom boy in school, I strived to be just as good as the boys in everything. My favorite thing to do was climb trees in the yard get on top of the chicken coop climb up into a taller tree and get on top of garage. The risk, yea I could have fallen and broken a bone or my neck worse died, I had a lot of self confidence from this experience.
    I joined the army, I didn’t go over seas but I did break my hip. I learned that I have to stay in good shape and drink my milk and take my vitimans.
    Right now I have eight boys in my daycare 2 of them are my own I am always being surprised by them. My 2 year old son fell off a toy (his size), my impulse wasn’t to stop him but it is to instantly run to a child crying right away (I am working on that).
    My 7 year old asked for a dirt bike for his birthday, yes he got it, I watched him ride around being cautious at first, about 20min into it he gets comfy and starts standing up on the bike,( mom in me is screamming NOOOO). I held back to watch his confidence sore, I have gained the experience to be the mom shouting GO you Got this and not running to stop or the gasp moment when he the freaks out to and gets hurt.
    My conclusion if you don’t want grey hair don’t have boys they need to take risks, my 9 yr old daughter has yet to scare me, she wants to try out for wrestling so maybe its going to change.

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