Taking risks essential to build confidence and self-belief
Talk to most adults these days about their early years and they’ll tell you stories about climbing trees, building cubby houses and making mud pies.
They weren’t just having fun and playing outside – they were making decisions about taking risks and learning from their mistakes.
Fast forward 30 years and rather than spending time outside playing, research
reveals the average eight-year-old has already spent one year of their life in front of a digital screen, choosing the indoors over the outdoors.
reveals more than 80 per cent of children don’t meet the physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Goodstart’s general manager, pedagogy and practice Sue Robb, said not only was physical activity vital for development, but it also encouraged risk taking. Encouraging children to take risks in a safe environment is a good way to build confidence and self-belief.
She said as an early learning provider, it was Goodstart’s responsibility to ensure that the risks children were exposed to were as safe as they possible.
“For example, children exploring an obstacle trail where all the equipment is well grounded and there is adequate supervision allows the children to take a risk as well as learning to balance,” Ms Robb said.
“When children have strong balance, it helps them with jumping, with riding a bike and learning to surf and ski and many other things that children enjoy or love.
“Most people and children have a built-in policeman that lets them know their risk appetite,” Sue said.
“Many children know when they don’t want to climb any higher or travel further away from their parents. It’s our opportunity to support children to thrive as learners and rounded human beings to take a risk, learn from mistakes and be bold in what you want.
“These are all life lessons that will help them as they grow and develop. It builds confidence and a sense of self belief in their own decision making.”
Tips for encouraging risky play:
- Allow your child to learn to ride a scooter or bike on tarmac, on sand or on grass.
- Allow them to explore at the park within your sight, allowing safe boundaries to take risks, find their threshold and their tolerance.
- Let young children crawl around on different textures such as mud, sand and water to encourage physical development.
- Let them smell and taste a variety of textures and foods.
As Australia's largest social enterprise, Goodstart is commited to ensuring all children have the learning, development and wellbeing outcomes they need for school and life.
This includes having access to physical experiences which will support their development.