Helping Your Child Manage Risk

The following is by Simple Kids contributor Catherine Way of Adventures with Kids.

Learning always involves a degree of risk and challenge. To learn something new you need to challenge yourself to do something you haven’t done before and risk failing a few times until you master the skill.  Children happily challenge themselves to learn new skills.  They want to learn to walk, or talk, or ride a bike and they are not put off by a few mistakes or tumbles.

Each new challenge that a child (or an adult) conquers, builds their motivation to learn, confidence in their ability to learn and knowledge of their capabilities.

It is tempting, as a parent who doesn’t want my child to be hurt, to say ‘no’ when my child wants to do something risky.  It is tempting to remove objects and equipment rather than let my child learn how to use them.   But this deprives my child of the chance to know their strengths and weaknesses and it damages their confidence in their own abilities.

If I want my child to make their own decisions as they grow older, rather than just doing what they are told or doing what everyone else is doing, I need to let them take risks and learn by experience the consequences of misjudging a risk. I need to encourage them to think about the risks that they want to take and how they can keep themselves safe.  This is an important life skill.

So, how can you encourage your child to be a safe risk-taker?

Set up the Environment

Set up an environment that challenges your child’s skills but doesn’t expose them to unnecessary hazards.

  • Remove hazards. This is why you should fence your pool or make sure there is something soft under the climbing frame in the playground.  This is why you put child-proof plugs in your powerpoints or a lock on your medicine cabinet.  Taking these precautions allows your child to explore in a safe environment.
  • Supervise your child.
  • Provide age-appropriate challenges so that your child is engaged when playing and not tempted to behave recklessly because there is nothing suitable to do.

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Simple Activities to Help Your Child Explore the Natural World

The following is by contributor Catherine Way of Adventures With Kids.

There are plenty of great reasons for getting your children outside to explore nature, from encouraging physical activity to a link to improved concentration, but the best reason is that children love being outdoors and exploring their world.

There are some simple things that you can do to encourage your children’s explorations and deepen their understanding of how the world works.

Here are some nature explorations that you and your child can work on together.  I’ve tried to include something to do in the areas that I find are are of greatest interest to children – animals, plants, weather and the world under the water.

Choose one of these explorations and get started finding out more about the natural world:

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What We’re Reading: I Love Christmas and Max’s Christmas

It is Wednesday again, and we have two quick Christmas-themed book recommendations today.

Baby and Toddler

from Catherine (Adventures with Kids)

I Love Christmas by Anna Walker

“My name is Ollie.
I love Christmas.”

ilovechristmasThis is a simple and charming story that describes what Ollie the zebra loves about Christmas – some of the things he loves are baking Christmas cake, watching Christmas lights and listening for Santa’s sleigh bells.  I Love Christmas has rhyming text and beautiful watercolour illustrations sure to catch your child’s eye.

This book provides a perfect chance to talk about the simple pleasures of Christmas.  You could complement the book by making a small album with photos of your child enjoying Christmas.


from Megan (Simple Kids)

maxschristmasIn this family, we are huge fans of Rosemary Wells.  The Max and Ruby series of books are amongst the most-loved and often-read in our home library.  Our preschooler can recite from memory most every one of the classic stories written and illustrated by Wells.  It’s no surprise then that one of our family’s favorite Christmas books is Max’s Christmas.

Originally published in 1986, Max’s Christmas marked Wells’s transition from board books to picture books.  (You can read more about her writing career here.)  I love that the charming illustrations reflect the earliest visions Wells had for Max and Ruby.  This book was published long before the books inspired the animated series, and both the illustrations and simple text are truly vintage Rosemary Wells.

The plot line here is simple: Ruby helps Max prepare for bed on Christmas Eve.  Max has many, many questions for Ruby, and even the ever-patient Ruby resorts to “BECAUSE!” for an explanation.  My girls find the teeth-brushing scene particularly giggle-inducing, especially the part where Ruby has to remind Max to “Spit, Max!”

Precocious Max manages to stay up and catch Santa Claus in the act of delivering presents.  We find that jolly old Santa also eventually gets flustered by Max’s many questions.  As a parent, I like that the emphasis of the story is not necessarily on the gifts, but more on the anticipation that surrounds Christmas Eve.  Anyone with any experience with little ones can relate to the way a barrage of questions can frustrate even the most patient amongst us!

If you have a chance to check out a copy of Max’s Christmas before Christmas Eve, I am confident your family will enjoy a peek into the home of Max and Ruby this holiday season.