Being a ‘helicopter parent’ is risking your child’s health, scientists discover
LETTING your kids run wild helps to keep them healthy, a study suggests.
Children allowed to take risks when they play may be more likely to hit exercise targets and stay in shape.
Only around half of British youngsters are active for the recommended hour per day while a growing number are overweight and at risk of health problems like type 2 diabetes.
Data from 645 parents in Australia found children were more active if mum and dad let them take risks like climbing trees and riding bikes.
Helicopter parents – those who are always ‘hovering’ around their children and are overprotective – were more likely to have unfit kids, the research found.
Lead author Alethea Jerebine, from Coventry University, said: “It’s understandable that parents want to protect their child, but the balance can tip too far.
“Adventurous play can help improve a child’s fitness, cognitive function and mental wellbeing – and it’s also more fun.
“This study shows that parents with a relaxed attitude to risky play have children who are more likely to be getting the recommended amount of daily exercise.”
The study, in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, found most parents were nervous, with 78 per cent saying they were “risk averse”.
Mothers were more likely to control their child’s behaviour than fathers.
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