My son has spent the last month in a cast. This is the second time this year. Earlier in the year he broke the scaphoid bone in his right wrist after falling off his skateboard. This time he hurt his left wrist and although no break was showing on the x-ray they put a cast on it due to the amount of tenderness in the area and the need for it to be set properly if there is a break.
Both times have been skateboarding accidents and it begs the question, should we
ban him from skateboarding? I am loath to do this for a number of reasons. He was outdoors in the fresh air getting exercise when he could have easily been on a screen. Accidents can happen at any time. The first time he ended up in a cast a few years ago was after he tripped on his scooter on the way to the car and rolled his ankle. He wasn’t even riding the scooter when that accident happened. Taking risks is a part of life. I’m not saying we should let our children or ourselves do anything we want but age appropriate risks are ok.
We have tried not to stop our children from doing things but let them take age appropriate risks. They both used child scissors from 2 or 3 years of age. My daughter used to help in the kitchen from a young age and I can remember her helping to cut the carrots for dinner with her knife when she was about 5. She possibly could have used a sharp knife under supervision. I’m pretty sure she helped me use a hot glue gun to glue fake gems to plastic cups for her 6th birthday fairy tale party. They have both climbed trees etc from when they could. My husband watched my daughter climb a ladder at about 13 months old and was most impressed that she was keeping 3 limbs on the ladder whilst moving 1 hand or foot. They made their own swings to hang off a tree and swung on them (admittedly they were quite close to the ground). My son got a pocket knife when he was about 10. We have let them light candles from a fairly young age, under supervision.
Whilst not letting them take dangerous risks we have let our children take age appropriate risks. They got scooters when they were 3 & 5 and have used them in skate parks from about 8 years of age, but only on the parts they were confident to go on. My sons confidence is obviously growing as this latest accident involved jumping down 2 stairs on his skateboard, which he did manage the first time.
While we were waiting in the fracture clinic my son was watching some Ted Talks on his phone, including 5 Dangerous Things you Should let your children do.
Whilst I don’t agree with everything he says I do agree with the principle that we need to let our kids use things that might be considered dangerous in order to learn & develop. I have also admired Teacher Tom and what he lets children use in the preschool he works in, including hot glue guns. The more we wrap our children up or stop them doing things the less they learn about how to use things safely.
Although I’m hoping not to be visiting the emergency ward, fracture clinic or plaster room anytime again soon; no doubt my son will be riding his skateboard again in the coming months as long as he is wearing his helmet.
What age appropriate risks have you let your children take?