Encouraging Jumpers

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 21, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Do you encourage your kids to climb and jump?

Lately I have been helping and encouraging my 3yo son to climb and jump off stuff. Before I had kids, I always heard of parents telling horror stories of how their kid was a "climber". I have always encouraged my son to climb things, I just guide him for safety. A while ago, he started experimenting with jumping from these things, my wife and family immediately grew concerned. When seeing how primal it looked, I was delighted. I consistantly encourage him to jump off things and guide him in appropriate landing, and balance procedures. Lately he has been really brave in jumping off things that are taller than himself (I am always there, just holding his hand for balance). Currently I am trying to get him to roll out of his landings in a sumersault, and he is having a blast.

The only issue with all of this is he likes to jump off things on the playground at daycare, and his teachers are not particularly fond of it.We have discussed proper jumping locations, and he has been following the "school rules" lately. But I really enjoy seeing him run, climb and jump constantly at home.

I hope he never loses this skillset, he already has the best balance of all the kids in his class.

Do you think this could be a dangerous habit?



on November 22, 2011
at 01:41 AM

My Mom never followed me around when I went outside to play. If we came back home before dinner, we had to show a bloody wound to get back in the door. I am so grateful for her benign neglect. Yay kids being separate from adults.



on November 22, 2011
at 01:02 AM

It'll only be dangerous when he reaches that age and stops doing what you tell him, "Don't you dare jump off that tree!" "Yeah, whatever dad" :)



on November 21, 2011
at 11:44 PM

this is awesome.



on November 21, 2011
at 08:00 PM

not gonna lie I read the title and thought it was about Suicide attempts...

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6 Answers

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on November 21, 2011
at 08:33 PM

Everything physical is going to have some element of danger, but that does not make it good or bad. For my kids they need no encouragement. They do this all the time. I just don't discourage it. I'm all for them testing their environment and themselves.

I feel its very important to let them do their thing. Get out and get dirty. Get some good bugs for their immune system to fight. Get some scrapes and bruises.

As far as climbing specifically I would like to think its sort of self limiting. My son only seems to go as far as he can get himself down or jump from. If not, yes I am always there just in case.

Too much sterilized world and coddling have extremely negative effects on our health in my view.



on November 21, 2011
at 09:18 PM

I have two boys, who have successfully made it to their teenage years without any broken bones. I didn't dissuade them from jumping and climbing, but I didn't actively encourage it, either. I also didn't do a huge amount of spotting on the playground. My philosophy was that they were the ones inhabiting their bodies, and they had to figure out their limitations and comfort zones themselves. (or maybe it was just laziness on my part. I didn't have the patience to stand around telling them what to do and not to do.) They took some good spills - I remember one memorable head plant off a bike - he was wearing a helmet, thankfully.

Aside from one cut knee, we avoided the emergency room completely. There's a lot to be said for that. One of these days your kid might just try out one of those moves when you're not there spotting, and... well, just saying. Hope you have good insurance.

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on November 21, 2011
at 09:06 PM

I was a "jumper" and a "climber" as a kid.

We had a large ficus tree in our backyard and my friends and I would see how high we could climb.

I did fall out of trees on a few occasions, but never broke anything thanks to those flexible childhood bones.

The truth is, however, that I really could have killed or seriously injured myself.

If I had my own children, I would try to redirect that energy towards something like recreational rock-climbing (with ropes!), gymnastics, etc.



on November 21, 2011
at 08:34 PM

Kids come with a wide variety of natural caution. Very few kids actually overestimate their ability to climb and jump IMO. My son was very cautious, while my grandson was very bold. Neither ever hurt themselves but it does happen.

The risk in a playground is not from your kid, most likely, but from what other kids do. The teachers are probably worried about someone pushing him or the opposite (and their liability if something should happen.)

All I'd say is double-check the quality of the landing zone and give your kid advice, but there's no point in killing his fun if he's good at it.


on November 22, 2011
at 12:17 AM

Some kids have no fear and need extra guidance. Parents of those kids do need to be careful and controlling if they don't like spending quality family time in pediatric emergency rooms.

Fortunately, my five year old son is relatively careful. I just need to supervise a bit and he is fine (so far). I encourage him to climb and often model climbing/playing behavior by doing so myself.



on November 21, 2011
at 08:28 PM

Nice. I think it's a great skill-set you are teaching him!

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