After sitting hours in an ER room with my crying two year old, the second x-ray confirmed my fear. She fractured her arm falling off a toddler slide at the playground.
Someone climbing UP the slide had pushed her over the side of it.
A few days later, she donned a purple cast. I thought bathing a casted toddler, keeping her sedentary, and easing discomfort from the cast would be the most challenging parts for me.
After her arm healed, she was eager to return to the playground. I fretted about her breaking her arm again.
My heart pounded as she charged towards the slides fearlessly. I screached at her as she attempted to climb warning her about the dangers of slide climbing. I followed her every move prepared to leap into action to catch any potential fall.
I was that hovering parent who prevented my daughter from taking any physical risks on the playground.
I forbid slide climbing for a number of years because I considered it a safety risk.
Eventually, I got over my stress of the potential dangers of slide climbing. I learned that climbing up the slide was positive for a child’s sensory development.
I now support children climbing slides.
Provides a Heavy Work Sensory Experience (Proprioceptive Input)
Pulling oneself up a slide is a sensory, heavy work experience that may increase sensory regulation, attention, and body awareness.
Allows a child to learn that rules change based on different factors.
In real life, rules shift, and aren’t always black and white. You may permit slide climbing, but your babysitter forbids it. Children learn to trust the adult in charge, and many kids adjust to these rule changes.
Gives the child the opportunity to learn courtesy.
Children learn to wait their turn until the child going down the slide is safely at the bottom. This is teaches manners.
Teaches perspective taking.
Slide climbing isn’t a good idea at a crowded park with a gaggle of tots. Older children learn to take the perspective of the younger kids. A bigger kid climbing up a slide might be intimidating to a wee one sliding down. They learn to accommodate for the well being of other children, and their desire to climb the slide doesn’t supersede a younger child’s well being.
Children physically experience that objects are used in different ways.
It’s been seven years since my oldest daughter wore that purple cast. Between my four active kids, we visited the ER once since then for a playground fall, and the slide wasn’t the culprit.
Discouraging slide climbing might relieve my anxiety about potential falls, but if I did my kids would lose an opportunity to develop necessary skills.
Not convinced that climbing sides is a good idea? No worries. There are other options for your child to get proprioceptive input.
More Proprioceptive Input Ideas
Free Printables for Heavy Work Activities
Chore Chart Printable for Heavy Work
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