As parents of little ones, I think it's safe to say our main concern is to keep them safe. We spend countless hours baby proofing, explaining rules and teaching our kids not to touch this or that. It's easy for us to want to keep our children in a bubble. It's our instinct to protect them, and that's natural.
But it's crucial that we teach our kids to be risk takers. I'm not talking physically dangerous risk taking, but positive risks that take kids out of their comfort zone. I have trouble with this as an adult and want to give my two young daughters the courage to push past their limits at a young age.
So what am I doing to try and raise adventurous daughters? These are some simple things we are trying to implement in our home...
1) We are trying to stop being helicopter parents and are encouraging our daughters to PLAY! We are trying not to lead the activities all the time, or schedule structured sport or programs constantly. Research suggests that free play has a huge role in development. It builds imagination and helps kids learn self-regulating behaviors.
2) We are trying to read to our kids! Books are full of adventures and take us to places we can't go ourselves. They foster creativity, and the possibilities are endless.
3) We are trying to create adventures as a family. Things like walking through our neighborhood looking for different plants and animals or taking the kiddos to a nature trail. We go for a hike and talk about all of the beauty we encounter. Our local nature trail has a waterfall that my girls love to splash around in!
4) Lastly, and this one hits close to home because my daughter is painfully shy, is to encourage our daughters to try something that scares them. Whether it be trying a new sport or trying out for the school play, I’ve learned over and over again that the only way to get over a fear is to face it head on.
Though adventure may not be your child's middle name, we can give gentle nudges to our little birdies and sit back and watch them take flight!
Written by Luciana Gaskill
Luciana Gaskill is a runner, yogi, and mother of two girls. She's currently training for a half marathon and writing a children's book about adventurous girls.