As soon as our babies begin to toddle we are inexplicably drawn into a giggle filled game of chase. Perhaps it is because mobility is a new-found skill. Perhaps it is because it allows for a new level of interaction. Or perhaps it is just because we love to hear the delighted squeals. But the innocent game of chase could in fact be setting our child up for an unsafe situation.
Have you ever seen a child running from a parent in store? The child squeals and the parent frantically yells things like, “Stop!” or all three of the child’s names followed by “Come back here.” To the child this is an extension of the fun at home game of chase. To the parent this is a problem. Now picture the same scene in a parking lot. A young child’s cognitive development does not allow for the consideration of all of the safety variables. They are enjoying the game. But this is no game. It is a huge safety concern.
Do not ignore the desire to interact with your newly mobile toddler, but instead of engaging in a game of chase- a game which involves running from an adult, try Red Light Green Light- a game that involves stopping when requested by an adult. Red Light Green Light can produce the same delighted squeals especially when the game ends in a parent’s arms, but without the potential safety concerns.
I bet you’ll never guess how I feel about Hide and Seek with young children. Okay, maybe you will. Stay tuned.