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Why "be careful" can actually be harmful

When our children are engaging in what we see as risky play it can be hard to sit back and not get involved. We often hear, “be careful” during these times, but “be careful” doesn’t really mean anything to children as they often aren’t aware of what they are to be careful of, as they aren’t aware of the apparent risk ⚠️

Children need to develop risk awareness and learn to manage risk on their own, in a safe space. If we teach them to be cautious or afraid of playing, everyday activities or new tasks we can cause resistance to try new things, a lack of self-trust and a lowered self-esteem! Not to mention, it is vital for development to allow our children space to feel that they can do something for themselves and we will be right there beside them! 🥰

Managing and calculating risk is a critical life skill that our little people need in life and the only way they can develop this skill is by engaging in risky play. Increased opportunities for risky play has been proven to improve self-confidence, self-regulation, creativity and actually reduce injury! 🤯

Instead of “be careful” try saying;

🌟 “Do you feel safe?”

🌟 “What next?” or “What now?”

🌟 “Do you need help?”

🌟 “I’m here if you need me”

🌟 “You are doing great”

🌟 “How are you going to…” (add the task they need to do next)

🌟 Or say nothing and wait for them to need you, complete the task or move on

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