Tag Archives: parenting

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

Lenore ‘Free Range Kids’ Skenazy speaks!

Lenore Skenazy in BendigoLast week I spent some time with Lenore Skenazy, and took the opportunity to interview her. Lenore is well known to many readers as the author of the blog and book, Free Range Kids. Continue reading

School playtime bans: a former head speaks out

photo of Juliet RobertsonA few days ago former primary school head teacher Juliet Robertson got in touch after reading my blog post on the school that banned children from having best friends. Juliet is now a leading educational consultant; her blog I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here! is for my money one of the most lively, creative outdoor learning sites on the web. She had some fascinating insights on the topic of school bans, and agreed to share them here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what Juliet has to say – especially if you have worked in schools yourself.

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Schoolchildren banned from playing hide-and-seek – and that’s just for starters

A school in England has recently banned children from playing hide-and-seek. It has also banned children from writing notes to each other. It has also – and this truly stretches credibility – banned children from having best friends.

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Why scaremongering about strangers has to stop

Let’s get one thing straight. The threat from strangers is vanishingly small and has been for years – no matter what you might think from the tabloid headlines and distorted television coverage. What is more, the vast majority of child murders are committed by their parents, not by strangers. However low the risk, it is tempting to think that we – and children – have to be prepared for the worst: that we have no choice but to frighten them, in order to protect them. Tempting, but disastrously wrong. For it ignores the corrosive impact of the fear of strangers.

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Who says kids don’t play in creeks and build dens any more?

Of course some still do. Take the group of boys from Raleigh, North Carolina captured in this slide show.

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Moving on from the zero risk childhood

Girl climbing a treeThe ‘cotton wool kid’ – cosseted, watched over, insulated from all possible harm – has become a potent symbol of our fear-filled, risk-averse times. Across the rich nations, children are statistically safer today than at any time in history [pdf link]. But the insidious question ‘what if…?’ crowds out common sense, and clouds our good judgement. Continue reading