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  • Subject Name : Early Childhood

Risky Play: Key for Child's Overall Development

In Andrea Gordon's article, titled “Risky play and skinned knees are key to healthy child development", highlights the importance of risk that is associated with a developmental stage in childhood. The author point out the treatment given to children in this generation isn’t conducive to raise them to be independent and able to manage risks for themselves. It's been common these days that children are playing outdoors with adult hovering. The kids are not given the same freedom to try things as their parents were given. It has become evident that children are less fit and active than before. Overprotecting kids has amounted to increase in the risks of obesity, physical and mental health problems. It is necessary to provide play opportunities which involves risk to help the kids grow. The simple breaks, bumps, scrapes, bruises are part of acquiring skills.

A challenging form of play which involves danger of physical injury is known as risky play. This form of play generally happens in outdoors. It is identified that there are six categories of risky play:

  • Great heights
  • Dangerous elements (such as cliffs, fire)
  • High speed
  • Disappearance from adult range.
  • Dangerous tools (such as knives, axes)
  • Rough and tumble play

Children seek thrills and feel excited and scared while playing. They always like to do physical play such as, jumping, dancing, climbing, bike riding, wrestling, racing, balancing, fencing with sticks.

Needless to say, the parents desire to foster their kids in safe surroundings, thus, the notion of risky play sound at odds. It has been noticed that there has been a growing focus on children’s safety (Sandseter and Hanson 3-21). In recent times, novel voices have asserted that too much emphasis on safety is troublesome. In order to protect children from serious injuries, parents are restricting their kids from stimuli and experiences which is necessary for their comprehensive development.

Smith and Peter proclaimed that risky play has a vital evolutionary function of encouraging kids to acquire skills (139-155). A research also asserts that kid's level of activity increases with the increase in the perception of danger (Lit 300-316). An attempt by New Zealand school found that there was no rise in injuries rather there was a decline in behavioural problems, given there are no rules during recess (Bourke et al 370-391). Even the Britain’s Health and Safety Executive acknowledged the importance of managed risk and introduced a new policy in 2012 (Kalburan 355-366).

It is beneficial for young people to involve in risky play as they learn and acquire better motor control. This is the best and fundamental way in which they learn how the world and their body work. They would get to know about their capabilities and could make their own judgement about risk. The kids would understand the consequence to action. If the child is able to manage the risk involved, they undergo positive sentiments such as resilience, enjoyment, persistence and self-confidence. There is a possibility that denying kids of the thrill to test themselves in managed surroundings would result to an era of fearful and timid adults. It is a paradox that exaggerating on safety would put children at greater risk later. The reason behind this is that children miss out on significant happenings that improve risk management. Risky play could result in some minor injuries, but it also promotes risk management by engaging children in play in diverse and challenging environments (Brussoni et al 344-347).

Safety should never discourage exercise or skinned knees. It should be noted that kids must be active and engaged in whatever activity they are involved. There should be a balance between allowing kids to explore and take risks and also avoiding serious injuries. On one hand, it is really important to take care of the children’s safety, but on the other hand it should be ensured that this does not limit the opportunity for challenges and excitement. Thus, the children should be allowed to involve in risky play and expose themselves in the risky environment to help them grow bold and brave. They should not be deprived of the chance for natural risk management (Brussoni et al 3134-3138).

References for Functional and Evolutionary Aspects of Human Play

Bourke, Tina M., and Rebecca J. Sargisson. "A Behavioral Investigation of Preference in a Newly Designed New Zealand Playground." American Journal of Play 6.3 (2014): 370-391.

Brussoni, Mariana, et al. "Can child injury prevention include healthy risk promotion?." Injury prevention 21.5 (2015): 344-347.

Brussoni, Mariana, et al. "Risky play and children’s safety: Balancing priorities for optimal child development." International journal of environmental research and public health 9.9 (2012): 3134-3148.

Cevher-Kalburan, Nilgün, and Asiye Ivrendi. "Risky play and parenting styles." Journal of Child and Family Studies 25.2 (2016): 355-366.

Little, Helen, Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter, and Shirley Wyver. "Early childhood teachers' beliefs about children's risky play in Australia and Norway." Contemporary issues in early childhood 13.4 (2012): 300-316.

Sandseter, Ellen Beate Hansen. "Characteristics of risky play." Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning 9.1 (2009): 3-21.

Smith, Peter K. "Does play matter? Functional and evolutionary aspects of animal and human play." Behavioral and brain sciences 5.1 (1982): 139-155.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Early Childhood Assignment Help

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