Some children seem born to leap first and look later: you have to watch them every second to keep them from bolting into the street, climbing over the nearest fence, or pouring bleach into the baking soda to see what happens. Much as you sometimes wonder what you did to deserve them, children with such adventurous spirits often grow up to be groundbreaking reformers, scientists, or explorers.
First, though, you have to help them survive long enough to grow up.
Keep the Battles Limited
A reckless child is a child with built-in resistance to “don’ts,” and parents who try to regulate this child’s every move will be worn down long before he is. So avoid creating an atmosphere where he feels challenged to a fight at every turn.
- Childproof your house diligently so opportunities for trouble will be minimized.
- Do most of your childproofing (and putting things out of reach) when the child isn’t looking. If he sees you lock something away, he may take it as a “Let’s see you get at this” challenge.
- Establish basic safety rules—fire drills, seat belts, and the like—early on as part of normal family routine. Treat precaution as an ordinary part of life that doesn’t need extensive emphasis and that you automatically follow yourself, and even a reckless child is likely to accept it.
Provide Opportunities for Safe Exploration
The naturally adventurous child needs high-energy play opportunities and lots of space (preferably outdoors) to run around. If her world is limited to a small apartment and television-set entertainment, of course she’ll seek out excitement in other venues—without regard as to whether they’re unreasonably dangerous.
- Don’t try to protect an overly daring child by shutting her off from all possible opportunities to find trouble. That only makes the “forbidden fruit” more enticing.
- Accept that with this type of child, bruises are an inevitable part of growing up. They probably don’t bother the child much, either. Administer first aid (and even trips to the doctor) without making a big deal of it: if you get hysterical or deliver a lengthy scolding, your child may turn antagonistic and act even more recklessly.
- Give her generic toys—or boxes and thread spools—to stimulate her imagination. The more she can play free of the limits imposed by elaborate (and typecast) toys, the longer she’ll stay interested and not think about riskier play venues.
- Introduce her early to supervised activities (such as Scouts or hiking clubs) that provide opportunities to explore new worlds and test her limits.
Note to Teachers
Do everything possible to give your students room for active play and challenge in every school day. If you have a particularly restless soul who always seems to be in trouble of one kind or another, offer him or her some special responsibility—for example, creating a schedule of active educational games for next week’s recess—to direct that energy into positive channels.
A SCHOOL FOR ADVENTUROUS CHILDREN
At Shady Oak, we believe a healthy education requires more than sitting at a desk. Every day, we offer our students opportunities for challenge, active problem solving, and outdoor play. If your child lives for jumping into new experiences with both feet, he or she may find the traditional academic approach particularly stifling. Contact us today to explore whether Shady Oak Primary may be the right school for your family.
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!