Life

Ask the expert: How can I stop worrying so much when my children are outdoors?

Very often, parents are quite risk-averse – but children are the opposite

Q: MY KIDS love being outside but I always worry they might hurt themselves. How can I worry less?

A: Parent coach Lorraine Thomas, founder of the Parent Coaching Academy, says: "Understandably the outdoors can be a bit scary for parents, but rather than focusing on the potential negatives, focus on the positive benefits of being outside.

"To overcome any doubts and fears, try to remind yourself of what you do already. There will be lots of outdoor things that you do already that are very positive – perhaps you walk your child to school or take the dog for a walk? Even things that small are great because they are a step in the right direction.

"Once you start to feel positive about the outdoors, think about one thing that you could do over the next seven days that will increase your time outdoors. Ask yourself, 'How healthy are we as a family?' Put yourself on a scale of one to 10. Where you put yourself really doesn't matter, as one person's two, might be another's seven.

"Once you've rated yourself, think, 'What's one thing we could do as a family that's in our control to nudge our way up the scale?" For example, if you don't walk to school, could you try it once a week? If you already walk to school, could you take a new route or even get your child to choose the way you go?

"Very often, parents are quite risk-averse and become accustomed to doing everything the same way so as to get from A-B as quickly as possible. However, children are the opposite and are much more likely to be a bit more adventurous.

"Children will wander along and touch a plant or stroke a cat and eventually get to where they're going because they have a real sense of wanting to enjoy the moment. And outdoors is a great place to foster that sense of wonder."

:: Lorraine Thomas is working with Savlon as part of their Skin Is For Living In campaign encouraging families to enjoy the outdoors.

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Life