Fear, when in control, is a healthy emotion. A little bit of fear prevents your child from climbing over the balcony railing, to reach for their fallen toy.
There are some children, however, who are natural daredevils. They love the thrill of climbing high up a tree, swinging extremely high, riding their cycles very fast, etc. Parents of such children often find themselves constantly worrying about their child’s physical safety.
What should parents do to address the challenges that come with parenting a mini-daredevil?
- Constantly supervise their kids. Make sure someone is always around to keep an eye on your little one. Little children do not have much concept of action and reaction. Children, especially the fearless ones, are so caught up in the moment, that they don’t see how and what they are doing, which might end badly. Consider sending them to organized sports classes or play gyms where they can engage in vigorous physical exercise with little risk attached.
- Strengthen their parent-child bond. Ordinarily, small children depend on their parents to provide them with a safety net when things go wrong. They depend on inputs from their parents to judge their surroundings. Notice how your child looks at you the moment they have a fall, or when they encounter something surprising. They are looking to see how you are reacting and then base their own reactions on that.
Fearless children tend not to depend on their parents so much. You will need to work very hard to develop a strong relationship with your child so that your child is eager to please you and accepts your instructions. Your child is then more likely to listen to you when you ask them to not climb over a banister or dive in the shallow end of the pool.
- Limit TV access. Children are greatly inspired by the stunts and actions of TV/movie characters. Limit your child’s access to such programs and encourage them to watch calmer shows.
- Confiscate dangerous toys. If your child is using his/her cycle to go down stairs, riding too fast on his/her scooter, using his/her toys in a dangerous manner, take it away from them and inform them that unless they learn how to use it correctly, they cannot have it.
- Educate them. Lecturing your child on safety might not work because such children are used to being scolded about safety. Instead, use stories, videos and news articles to illustrate the actual consequences that come from risky behaviors. Make sure that you tell them these stories gently and keep away any odd details. Also, make sure your tone is conversational. 6-year-olds are very sensitive to being spoken down to and will not listen to you.
Your child’s safety comes first. Be careful not to be too strict because fearless children are often not very frightened of authority and might turn rebellious as they grow older. So use gentle words and reminders, because ‘You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.’