Parents have to find a balance between being too hands on and too hands off when it comes to interfering in what our children are engaging in – be it an activity when they are playing on their own or with their friends. For example, when our children are out in the garden with friends and they are playing really nicely and seem happy. Our children are quite safe but we can interfere by telling then what they can and cannot do in the garden or we can shout words of warning to not touch this or that. We are trying to navigate their play too much and not allowing them to explore  and we can try to navigate their play instead of letting children play in their own way. We are actually hindering their play and enjoyment which can stop them being creative and experimenting.

It is very easy for parents to interfere or take over and it isn’t particular useful when they do so. We need our children to take risks and try new things. We need them to get into a bit of trouble so that they can problem solve for themselves. They need to explore their surroundings and learn from their play. Children are perfectly capable of getting on with it, making good choices and are aware generally of the dangers of things. We need to let them do this in order to grow and make decisions on their own. By the time they are at secondary school they are out of our sight and we will not be able to micro-manage them. Play is learning and help children grow so how can parents stop interfering.

Letting Children Play Safely

  • We can teach children about the dangers around where they are playing so they are aware of them and remember what they should stay away from.
  • We can share with them what they are able to do and then leave them to their own devices. They can then be as creative as they like within those parameters.
  • We should let them explore and experiment from a distance. Check on them every so often but give them space. If we hover over our children they will not enjoy their freedom or have the experiences you want them to have.

Are you guilty of interfering in your child’s play? Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and trust your child to learn from their own experiences.