Tag Archives: childhood

Please Kidshealth, give parents (and kids) a break

girl jumping off swingThe US non-profit agency Kidshealth – which claims that it runs the #1 most visited website for children’s health and development – has eight web pages of guidance for parents on playground safety. Page 6 includes the following advice: “Kids should always sit in the swing, not stand or kneel. They should hold on tightly with both hands while swinging, and when finished swinging, stop the swing completely before getting off.” Continue reading

The outdoor child: doomed to extinction?

Shrinking horizons of childhoodEvery year since 1979 there has been a Big Garden Bird Watch, a UK-wide survey organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I can’t help wondering about a survey of a different species: a Big Outdoor Child Watch.

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Is a taste of freedom the key to a good childhood?

Yesterday’s launch of the Good Childhood report from the Children’s Society has prompted more soul-searching about childhood. Coverage has focused on the report’s finding that half a million of the country’s children aged 8 to 16 – nearly 10 per cent – had a low sense of well-being. This is indeed a troubling finding – even if some of those children will become happier over time. Yet this media focus, while understandable, misses out a far more important message: the crucial value of a taste of freedom and autonomy. Continue reading

Out of sight, out of mind?

Boys climbing a tree

Image from St Joseph’s OSHC, QLD, Australia

I was recently told about an article on tree-climbing, by an Australian after-school service. It rightly makes the case that the benefits of this activity clearly outweigh the risks. The video footage certainly reinforces this, showing the children’s appetite for the experience, and their obvious competence. And yet, even though I think that what St Joseph’s is doing here is terrific, something in the clip jarred with me. It was the very presence of the grown-ups. Such a contrast from my own childhood memories of climbing trees. Continue reading

Do parents hold the key to Play England’s future?

Blackpool rollercoasterAdrian Voce’s recent departure as Director of Play England is also a point of departure for the organisation that, in its previous guise, I used to run. Play England has been on one hell of a roller-coaster ride, as Adrian will be the first to agree. Continue reading

Childhood and risk: what messages would you give to the Palace?

I have been invited to Buckingham Palace in November, to discuss with the Duke of Edinburgh how to promote a more balanced approach to risk and adventure in children’s lives. And I’m asking for your help in deciding what to say to him. Continue reading