“Children are not things to be molded but are people to be unfolded.”
As we have taken great strides to become wonderful parents, fantastic educators and a SAFE world we have slowly become controllers of children. “Good” caregivers baby proof everything before that child is even brought home from the hospital. We do this with good intent though it’s our job to make sure our most precious treasures don’t get hurt. Nothing can ever ever be more devastating that an injury that we could have prevented. BUT, in our attempt to create injury proof environments we have also robbed children of developing any sort of self regulation or self control. Somewhere along the line it became common practice to place children in areas where they can do what ever they want without any chance of injury in that confined space. Stairs are gated off so they don’t go tumbling down, all cabinets and cupboards are locked, toilet lids are locked, climbing obstacles are removed floors a well padded and any stumbling object is removed. We also don’t have to use the word NO in these child friendly padded rooms.
Here is the downfall when children are void of these opportunities they often don’t learn to react to their gut, to be cautious, if they don’t experience a bump or tumble they never experience that , “WOW not sure I liked that feeling.” If caregivers take down those walls and play beside children they can then learn to develop that inner caution, learn to trust their own self and develop a sense of self awareness to be safe.
Take down the gates and follow behind children as they climb the stairs and descend the stairs. Don’t remove the activity but be there to soften the fall. Children will keep themselves safe if we allow them to experience.
I was reading a Facebook post about a toddler putting small items into a bottle and dumping it. A comment was made about “we tried that but she put them in her mouth so I had to take it away” NO NO NO this is where supervised play is a must, when the object goes to the mouth use the words “no stop, that isn’t safe, it goes in the bottle” and direct the child’s hand to the bottle and continue the activity you might have to say, “no be safe put it in the bottle” 5000 times that’s OK. If we remove activities and objects because of the potential danger, then there is no opportunity for learning to occur. Supervision is KEY… and education is key.
Across the county it is noted that middle school children are having horrible behavioral issues. Could it be that its not because they weren’t spanked enough (that is another discussion) but maybe they’ve been in such controlled atmospheres that when they get into less structured environments they have no clue how to control themselves. Those skills were never developed because they were kept so safe and someone else was in constant control.
At Acres of Play children are supervised in all that they do but there will be no bubbles, there will be plans and ideas on how to carry out that plan safely.