Play is essential for a child’s development regardless of social, cognitive, creative, language or physical development, it helps to stimulate their growth, imagination and learning ability. It is critical to encourage your child to move. Unfortunately, with nowadays advancement in technology and the over worrying of the parents trying to prevent their child from ever getting hurt or any other dangers or disappointment they may be faced, most children ended up staying indoors than outdoors.
So how do we, parents, get over our own anxiety, fear, and guiltiness and get our children to the outdoors, such as the playground? How do we keep them safe without hovering over them; allowing them to explore and discover?
Tip #1: Adult supervision
Often than not, we are always worrying about our child. When you child is out there playing, you may “eye power” over them. Monitor the playground by making sure your child uses the equipment properly. It’s not necessary to guide them step by step what to do. All you have to do is to watch for any dangerous use of equipment or incidents of rough play, pushing or shoving among the children.
Tip #2: Check for any damage on the equipment at the playground
Always keep a look out for any damage of playground equipments and its surfaces such as broken parts, rust or sharp surfaces. If you do find any, do report to the responsible party and warn other children or parents about it.
Tip #3: Allow your child to use age appropriate equipment
Common playground injuries resulted from falls are fractures or broken limbs. These can be prevented if your child is playing the age appropriate equipment. Younger children always like to follow the older children to perform certain actions. For instance, a 3 year old may believe he can climb on the rope and reach the top at fast speed just like the older children but if not careful, he may slip and fall hence causing injury. Do watch out for that!
Tip #4: Allow your child to dress appropriately
Dressing is the most important thing before you start playing. Since you are out there playing, make sure your child wears comfortable shoes and clothing because they will be running around and perspiring all over. Just like an adult, you don’t wear a gown to the hawker center right? Oh, and make sure watch out for shoe laces or drawstrings which may create danger.
Tip #5: Teach your child about playground etiquette
Is always good to prep your child for what to do and what not to before going to a place. Since you are going to the playground, teach your child that no pushing is allowed. Some children can get really excited or annoyed when waiting for too long to use an equipment. Do remind your child about that. Gentle pushing may be allowed with adult supervision when you are at the swing but make sure an adult is there to supervise.
Tip #6: Apply loads of sunscreen lotion and drink plenty of water
On top of making sure the playground is safe for the child, do make sure your child’s health is taken care of too. Apply sunscreen to your child if they are being exposed to the sun for long period. As the weather can be hot, do make sure they are well hydrated to prevent dehydration and overheating.
Children love to play. Encouraging outdoor play not only promotes a child’s physical and cognitive development, and emotional well-being, it also improves their social skills. It is a place where they make friends and play together. It will be great if parents join as this increases the bond between the child and the parent too!
*Pictures are taken at Marina Cove Playground.