After a year heavily impacted by the global pandemic, many Australian children have had their physical activity limited in some way. The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) says the commencement of summer school holidays today gives parents a perfect opportunity to encourage their children to get outside and explore, play and take risks to support healthy physical and cognitive development. Over-protective parents who go to great lengths to reduce the risk in their childrens’ play can unintentionally inhibit their development.
Chair of the APA Paediatric Group Nicole Haynes says that on top of the physical benefits of risky play, there are also psychological, social, and cognitive development aspects that help children establish independence and achieve important physical milestones.
Ms Haynes says, “More physically demanding and challenging activities promote muscle growth and coordination, but risky play goes beyond that.”
“Children’s lives today are very structured, much more so than in their parents’ or grandparents’ childhoods. Many decisions are made for them, even when it comes to the playground. Risky play is about encouraging kids to participate in unstructured play, to be responsible for their own decision making, and the consequences that may come with those decisions.”
“Exposing children to low-level risk situations helps them to develop their risk assessment abilities and their physical and cognitive confidence.”
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