There are so many blog posts I could write today, but because of a confidentiality box I ticked upon commencing work, unfortunately I can’t regale you with them. 🙁
Instead you get a rant 🙂
This morning in the car, 5 year old BJ mentioned in passing that you can climb trees at pre-school but not at playgroup. ‘Who told you that?’ I asked, thinking it seemed kind of backward. I’d expect it to be the other way around.
‘I don’t know….’ Was his informed answer.
As the conversation went on, it was Taylah who said that indeed, you cannot climb trees at playgroup; she was told that once when we visited in holiday times. Now that seemed reasonable to me. If I was a playgroup coordinator, I’d be discouraging older children from climbing trees and possibly encouraging little ones to do it too. I was surprised that someone had told a playgroup aged child that he couldn’t.
On Tuesday morning, (playgroup day), I had been sitting inside chatting to a friend, when I saw BJ climbing up the tree in the middle of the lawned area; I’ll admit at the time I did wonder about whether or not he was allowed to do it, seeing as everyone is concerned with public liability these days. My friend and I chatted about it, and both came to the same agreement; surely, since I was present, and taking responsibility for him, it should be fine. If he was to fall out, it would be my issue and of course I’m not going to sue anyone for it.
Apparently that doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that the potential for harm is of a bigger consideration than the potential for fun.
Now I’m not the kind of mum to Molly coddle my children at all times; I don’t see danger in all situations, but I am realistic. (It puts me on edge seeing some of the ways BJ hangs over the edge of the boat whist out fishing, despite Boatman telling me his safe.) The fact of the matter is that some of the best things about being a kid involve pushing the boundaries of what is ‘safe’ and just having fun. There is something so awesome about climbing trees, or balancing on the high play equipment or seeing how high you can swing the swing before jumping off. Sure sometimes there are minor injuries, but you never remember the grazed knees or the head bumps; just the fun you had doing it.
As a kid, we had an awesome tree in our yard, right on the edge of our yard. The lowest branch was as high as the six foot fence, so I would have to climb it first in order to get to the ideal book reading place, about 12 feet above the ground. I would sit there for hours, reading about the Valley of Adventure, or other Enid Blighton classics, and pretending that I was living out the stories. I even went so far as to make an agreement with the green ants, that I wold try not to kill them, so long as they didn’t bite me. (Amazingly we both held to our end of the bargain.)
I don’t remember ever falling out of that tree.
And if I did it obviously wasn’t serious.
In fact the only injuries I remember sustaining that required either stitches or X-rays happened whilst doing very mundane things. Like getting dressed in the morning (kicked a mirror and nearly took off my little toe), or walking to the bathroom and kicking a rock/tent peg/log whilst on camp. (I broke my toes a lot :))
Even with my own kids I have noticed a crazy pattern; their dare devil stunts, even when failing dismally, usually only lead to a tiny scratch, whereas falling off a chair, or tripping over a water bottle lands them in the emergency department of the local hospital.
So I guess my point is, there are no guarantees.
Kids (and their clumsy mothers) will hurt themselves doing the most basic of tasks, and everything is a possible law suit these days. Obviously there are some activities that go beyond fun and enter the realm of complete stupidity, but honestly, when it comes down to it, I’d rather my boy climb a tree and fall out and break his arm, then not climb the tree.
Broken bones heal, and pain goes away, but childhood only comes once.
I say let them enjoy it.