5 Scary Things We Should Let Our Children Do

When our children are babies, we are always looking forward to the next step in their development.

But, after those first bites of solid food, first steps, and first words, things move quickly; and most parents aren’t ready for it.

Unfortunately, just because we aren’t ready, doesn’t mean our kids aren’t. So, what tasks at home should we be allowing our children to perform, even though it makes our hearts skip a beat?

  1. Use a Knife

Have you ever considered letting your small child cut their spaghetti, or dice cucumbers for the salad?

Meg St-Esprit writing for Romper finds letting her children help with food prep is not only safe, but helpful.

“My 5-year-old twins can chop, dice, and sauté. My 7-year-old can crack an egg expertly into the muffin mix. They can knead dough and flip a pancake, and could make their own PB&J and bagels by age 4. They haven’t cut their fingers off yet, or burned themselves. They are learning in a safe environment, and it is a joy to watch.. Asking them to help with dinner is my way of having my eyes on them and of preventing mischief from occurring.”

Teaching a child as young as 3 to use a knife helps prevent the scare of having them pick one up because they know how to be safe with it.

Start with a plastic butter knife, showing them how a knife is to be held, how to chop down, and how to keep fingers away from the sharp edge.

Always set children up for success when it comes to the beginning stages of knife use. Prep the food so it is easy to cut, and don’t give them something that is hard to get through like an apple until they are a little more experienced.

Children who have Sensory Processing Disorder find the repetition and force of chopping very calming, according to Romper. Let them help with chopping vegetables for dinner if they have had a tough day.

  1. Use Scissors

Walking into a room where your toddler has snuck the scissors and cut up one of their books is frustrating and daunting, having you considering all the what-ifs.

Kids naturally want to try things they have been told not to, and they want to assert their independence in doing it.

Instructing your child on how to hold scissors, where to use them, and the appropriate materials to use them on can save you a lot of headaches in the future; not to mention potential band-aids.

Parents reports on how pre-schoolers can develop fine motor skills by cutting on a line, but be sure to “select scissors with a blunt point, and give them a trial run to make sure the blades are sharp enough for cutting.”

If your child is left-handed be sure to purchase scissors specially designed for them, so that they can see the cutting line.

  1. Take Risks

It seems like a reflex to shout words of caution at a child we see on a high object, or speeding down the driveway.

No parent wants to see their child in a dangerous situation, but research shows that some level of risk is healthy for their development.

The Environmental Research and Public Health journal reports that risky play aids in the progression of social skills, creativity, and resilience.

When a kid balances on a high tree branch, pedals their bike as fast as they can, and jumps from the top of the playground they are learning to make judgments.

If a child never takes a chance then they won’t learn to assess risks correctly which can prove dangerous later in life.

This is not to say that you should let your kid try that jump from the roof onto the trampoline with the tricycle like they wanted, but an occasional act of bravery is healthy.

  1. Utilize Fire

Learning to control one of the most elemental forces in nature is a pivotal moment in any child’s personal history,” states Gever Tulley, a TED Talk speaker who has researched why children should play with some dangerous things.

Under the supervision of a parent, a child can discover the power and wonder of fire, how it works, and when to use it.

This wouldn’t be for children too small to listen to direction well, but around 7-years-old and up kids can learn a lot.

Start by having them light a match and throwing it into a campfire outside. Talk about not getting close to the flame, how you can’t play around a fire, and how to correctly put one out.

Never leave a child unattended near a fire, and keep all matches, lighters, and igniters up high away from children’s reach.

  1. Use Tools

How many times have you gone into the garage to find your young children playing with daddy’s tools?

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Kids instinctually want to fix things; they have a yearning to find out how it works and to manipulate the parts.

Teach them what each tool is called, and what it is used for. Then, give them a work area that is safe and supervised.

Try to drill little holes in a piece of wood so they can practice hammering nails in, and using a screwdriver with some screws.

If you have a broken electronic, take it apart with the kids so they can see how things work and what goes into building electronic devices.

Kids are going to get into all these things eventually, with or without our direction. Being the one to introduce the scary task will give you the benefit of your child using it correctly under proper supervision.

Ad as hard as it is, don’t hover over them reminding them how dangerous it is that they are using a knife or cutting out their own craft.

Empowering your children to accomplish tasks that they deem difficult will build trust and make them feel that they are successful, as they should.

Please let us know in the comments section what ages you started teaching your children these scary tasks, and how they performed.