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We would all like our kids to move with more freedom and confidence and step out of their comfort zones in order to grow .... But ... How do we encourage this, while at the same time reducing their risk of injury. The first thing to realise, is that as parents, our job is NOT to protect our kids. It is through failure and falls that they learn. Our job as parents is... To teach them the 'lessons to be learnt' from the experience and how to avoid it going forward. Once we understand this we can stop trying to wrap them in cotton wool. Having said that, there are a few factors that you can be aware of to help reduce their risk of injury in the playground.

1: The first is to be aware of the correct landing and climbing techniques as these are the activities that often result in the biggest falls.

Before you exit the car to the park and your child runs wild ... quiz them on good technique.

Ask them:

"What do you have to do when you jump off something?"

The answer you are looking for is:

"Land in a motorbike!" (ie: Bend my knees and look straight ahead)

Ask them:

"What's harder ... climbing up or down?"

The answer you are looking for is:

"Climbing down!"

Kids think going up is the hard bit and their job and their focus is finished once they reach the top. This is why most falls happen on the way down. If your child is aware of the risk coming down they will maintain their focus for longer and reduce the chance of falling.

2: The second is to improve their peripheral vision so that collisions come into their field of vision and in turn allowing them time to react or brace for it.

The best way to do this at home is to play game with balloons indoors, keeping as many balloons off the ground as they can at the same time. Start with 2 and once they can do this for 60 seconds advance to 3.

3: The third is to remind them not to show off in front of their peers or to try to keep up with their peers ...

Teach them to be confident in what they know and what they can do. This way they will learn to self restrain.

4: And finally ... to get them grow ... track their wins

The best way to build your child's confidence in any area, be it maths or sport or socially with friends ... is to track their wins. Get them to start a journal and write down how they improved at sport today, or beat a previous score, or tried something new .... have them list the number of new people they spoke with at lunch time or helped out in class.

The visual evidence of their success will be their single greatest motivator.

I hope this information helps you keep your kids safe, keeps them growing and keeps them learning the lessons they need to learn.

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