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Beyond the bubble-wrap: understanding parents' fears

As children grow and develop, they need to learn independence and autonomy. Their parents have a critical – and sometimes difficult – role in supporting them to do this.

Many people think that today’s parents are too worried about their children’s safety and aren’t giving their children opportunities for healthy growth and development. Commentators use terms such as ‘helicopter parenting’, ‘cotton-wool kids’ and ‘bubble-wrapping children’ to describe this situation. Overly fearful parenting has been suggested as contributing, among other things, to declining levels of independent physical activity in children and high rates of childhood obesity. 

To investigate the role that parental fear plays in shaping children’s independence and physical activity, and find solutions to help parents give their children greater freedom, VicHealth has initiated and funded a three year study (2012 to 2015) into parental fear, the first of its kind in Australia.

The research team has designed this project to increase understanding of the role that parental fear plays in shaping their children’s independent activity factors that help parents give their children greater freedom. 

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Letter to Parents and Carers

22 May 2017

Dear Parents, Grandparents, Carers and all nature-loving grown-ups with children in your life! Welcome to Nature Play QLD and congratulations on taking this step to benefitting your children as they grow, play and learn in nature.  A wonderful world awaits! Most people understand the life…

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Loose Parts Play Inspiration

20 Mar 2019

Are you wanting to jump start loose parts play at home but not sure where to begin? Our Loose Parts Play Wish List is a great starting point. Click on the image below to open a printable PDF version…

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The “healthy dose” of nature: A cautionary tale

15 Jan 2019

An interesting research article that looks at the possible negative outcomes of the increasingly popular trend amongst health professionals to 'prescribe nature'. This article suggests the need for caution in uncritically or universally prescribing "healthy doses of nature"…

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All Abilities Inclusion

28 Nov 2017

1 in 5 Australians are living with disability. It can be daunting for parents, educators, and activity providers to think about how to engage children with a disability in outdoor play. We recommend you ask questions, because every disability is different and nobody knows what they need better than…

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Peter Gray Forum Video link

9 Nov 2017

Peter Gray is an American psychologist and research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College. He is most well known for his research concerned with children's natural ways of learning and the role of play in children's development. He is the author of Free to Lea…

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Nature Play Discussion Paper: A review of evidence & implications for practice

1 Aug 2017

Report developed for Nature Play Qld with funding from the Queensland Government, Department of National Parks, Recreation and Racing. This document is part of series of evidence-based position statements directly focused on childhood and outdoor free play. They intend to demonstrate the importan…

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Green Time vs Screen Time

8 May 2014

The 'Green Time vs Screen Time' tool for families is a fun way to help you keep track of how much time your children are spending playing outdoors ('green time'), versus time spent indoors, watching TV or on the computer ('screen time'). Getting the balance right betw…

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