Reacting to danger

By Camilla McGill. June , 2018
I was in the park recently and observed a Italian grandma looking after her four year old grandson who was riding his bike.  At first he rode along quite happily while she watched him nervously.  He then had a wobble and fell off and looked a bit upset with himself.  She immediately ran towards him, arms in the air crying 'Mama mia!' at which point he started howling.  It reminded me of how important it is to let them take some risks and to not over-react if they have a small accident as our reactions have a strong influence on theirs.  If we get upset, so do they.  It is really important not to wrap children in cotton wool.  A few scrapes and bruises are good experiences for them. It helps them learn their physical limitations and grow in strength and ability from it.  As parents it is terribly hard to see a child hurt themselves, we feel their pain and we also feel guilty, yet is is so important to allow them to make mistakes.  Give children the message that they have the ability to make good judgements so instead of saying 'don't fall, watch out, be careful'.  Say 'use your eyes, hold yourself steady, use your balance'.  When they do fall or hurt themselves, a kiss and a cuddle is so important but do it with positive messages such as 'Although you hurt yourself, you were having fun before you fell'. or 'A fall helps us learn what to do next time to take a bit more care'.  'In a minute you will feel better and can go and play again'.