This Just In: Helicopter Parents Are Making Their Kids Fat and Clumsy Too
Helicopter parents are getting blamed for everything these days. First they are stunting their kids emotionally, and now they are making their kids clumsy and fat.
Researchers were studying playground design by observing how kids interact with the equipment, and the one thing they noticed was that the parents kept getting in the way. The researchers realized over the seven-week study that whenever the parents were around, kids were only half as likely to engage in active behaviour.
All the yelling: "Be careful!" and "Don't run so fast!" actually works! Unfortunately, it's not for the better. We think we are doing the kids a favour and keeping them safe but rising obesity rates and video game usage suggests otherwise.
Other findings in the study include the not-so-startling realization that if there are other active kids around then kids are more likely to play. A tennis or basketball court also encourages active play - my guess is because tag is still the best game going.
Landscape designers are looking at the study with interest, as they realize that not only do they have to design playgrounds with the kids in mind, but also the kid-minders. Co-author Robin Moore, professor of landscape architecture and director of the Natural Learning Initiative at N.C. State, said in the Time article:
"If children's play environments are designed for the whole family with comfortable, shady places to sit and observe kids playing from a distance, parents may be less inclined to 'helicopter' and impede spontaneous play."
I'm not really a helicopter parent (just too darned lazy to hover by the monkey bars) but I definitely would like more park seating in the shade!
Do you hover at the playground? Do you think you are affecting how your kids play?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote a list of the things I have learned as a parent.