Risky Play? Go for it!

It’s good for children’s health

Parents often can’t help but keep a close eye on their kids while they play. But years of research from Dr. Mariana Brussoni discovered that doing so isn’t always best for a child’s health. Her team found that environments where kids could take risks—like climbing trees—led to increased physical activity, social interactions and resilience, while keeping
kids too safe resulted in sedentary behaviour, anxiety and phobias.

“Adults are stepping in a lot more and pre-emptively shutting things down,” said Dr. Brussoni. “That doesn’t let kids figure out for themselves what they’re capable of.”

So, what’s a parent to do? Dr. Brussoni says parents should manage risks and hazards, but try not to automatically default only to safety.

Need a hand navigating tricky decisions around play? Check out OutsidePlay.ca, a helpful tool created by Dr. Brussoni’s lab.


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