Risky play? Go for it!

Research shows risky play is 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. That doesn’t let kids figure out for themselves what they’re capable of.” — Dr. Mariana Brussoni

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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