How many times have we heard the term ‘compensation culture’? We are all surrounded by fear mongering adverts and signs everywhere about accidents and awareness. It is true the world is probably a bit scarier than it used to be. It probably isn’t safe to let your child play out on the street unless you supervise. We are definitely all a bit more wary of who we leave our children with. The news gives us masses of information on a daily basis about exactly who is walking about in society amongst our children without us knowing.
One thing that hasn’t changed is how dirty the mud is in the back garden. Or how high the tree is that our kids want to climb. The wood the playhouse is made out of is just as dangerous as it once was. The top of the slide still leads to the ground just as it always did. Buying climbing frames and wooden playhouses gives us reassurance that the outdoor play is that bit safer and a little less wild. Knowing someone has tested the products means we have that little bit less to worry about when our child plays outside.
Sadly we are on the verge of not only wrapping up our children in cotton wool but sealing them inside a vacuum packed disinfected package and locking them in a padded room. Society has gone a bit bleach white, a little bit sanitized. Education is fantastic and it is amazing that we all know so much more about safety and protecting our children. But there’s a lot to be said for letting your children learn things from experience. You cannot protect your child from every bad experience. Sometimes you have to allow your child to experience something negative in order for them to learn. Of course this isn’t to say you should be encouraging them to play with naked flames or broken glass. But a little splinter or a trip over a rock probably won’t seriously injure your child. Your child will learn how to be more aware of his or her surroundings and watch where they are going.
It’s incredible to watch them swinging around on the garden play equipment completely immersed in imaginative play. But we shouldn’t panic when we then see them hanging upside down off the slide or leaning too far out of the playhouse window. They should be supervised when playing but they shouldn’t be suffocated by our fear. Have you ever seen those parents that don’t let the children splash in puddles unless they have their wellies and special rain coat on? It is understandable that parents don’t want wet children and dirty clothes but sometimes it is OK just to get dirty. If you’re getting straight back into a warm car or a warm house get stuck into the elements! It will not hurt you or your child getting a little bit muddy or wet.
The phrase ‘clothes to muck about in’ is used so much less nowadays which is really sad. Pop your child in some old clothes and let them play in the garden. If you encourage your child to play out in all weathers you benefit too as they won’t ever be stuck inside feeling bored. It does not have to be sunny and dry to play out. If its raining make mud pies! If its snowing make snow men! If its windy, kites! Caution is definitely a good thing but sanitization is not and its getting worse. Next time its raining try letting the kids on their climbing frame to make a den. You and the kids throw on your clothes to muck about in and jolly well muck about!