If I was left alone at the playground with Theo, I would definitely be what you’d call a “helicopter mum” who will be within 3 feet radius of him. Way before we had kids, my husband already knew I had fear of heights. I could look at a really safe and fun playgrounds and still tell you the dangers of them all.
Kill. The. Fun.
So I am glad that he is the dad of our kids. He’s the fun parent. The one who does all the crazy, creative and imaginative play. He would bring Theo out on his balance bike and allow him to ride it down slopes (even after a fall!). He would let Theo climb up slides on the actual slide bit. He would let Theo roll around on dirty grass. He would let Theo run down slopes.
By default, I switch to “Oh no! You will so hurt yourself” mode if Theo even looks like he’s going to attempt any of that. I do try my best to not discourage that sort of play because I know it is important and in fact, essential for kids to engage in “reasonable risk” when playing.
It helps build their confidence. By trying, they become aware of their limits and in the process learn to be safe. I’m not saying let your child do the utmost silly thing and get himself killed, but it’s ok to fall. It’s ok that the kids bump into each other (even if one or both start to cry). It’s ok to get dirty.
Yes, I do go down the “See? I told you Theo would hurt himself” line when Theo gets hurt while playing under Daniel’s supervision, but it never really bothers Theo. He would 99% of the time just get up and carry on. He cries 1% of the time but stops after Mama makes a fuss and gives a cuddle and kiss.
Now that it’s Spring, we are spending most early evenings playing outdoors. It burns Theo’s bottomless energy, keeps Mia happy and both parents sane. I like being outside (minus the early appearance of wasps this year!), soaking up sunshine and feeling the gentle heat on my skin. I feel more positive these days compared to the dark wintry days. I’m happy to step outside, go for longer walks and be fitter. Outdoor play hopefully also means fresh air for the kids, less serious illnesses and all the climbing, running and balancing acts surely help sharpen their gross motor skills.