Playground quandary: Do you let your 5-year-old jump from that height?

Would you let your 5-year-old jump from here to the ground? it's about my height -- 5 foot 6 inches. She would land in sand. Do you let her jump?

Would you let your 5-year-old jump from here to the ground? it's about my height -- 5 foot 6 inches. She would land in sand. Do you let her jump?

This is one of my quandaries: Do I let my 5-year-old jump from this height like she wants or fight her about it? I don’t want to be overprotective but I am pretty sure she could twist or break an ankle landing, especially doing it in flip flops! It’s about 5 feet, 6 inches. I would have no problem at all with my 9-year-old making that jump. However, the 5-year-old seems too short to do it. What do you think?

Oh, she did it, and look at that smile. I still think she could crack an ankle.

Oh, she did it, and look at that smile. I still think she could crack an ankle.

53 comments Add your comment

It only takes one jump...

December 3rd, 2012
12:59 pm

…and they learn no to do that again…if they do crack an ankle, then so be it – thanks for not letting your fears be her fears…

It only takes one jump...

December 3rd, 2012
12:59 pm

…and this is a much better topic than another Elf on the Shelf topic…

DB

December 3rd, 2012
1:00 pm

YES! Leap, jump, yell, scream, bounce, swing, hang upside down, do cartwheels, climb as high as she can — Let her do ANYTHING she thinks she can take on. That’s how you build confident kids, kids who aren’t afraid to try new things in ANYTHING — physical, academics or arts.

camille

December 3rd, 2012
1:07 pm

Let her jump…. have her wear some tennis shoes for more support. Remember, fear is learned…

malleesmom

December 3rd, 2012
1:16 pm

agree w/ Camille’s comment entirely.

Techmom

December 3rd, 2012
1:27 pm

Aren’t you supposed to loosen up a bit when it’s the 3rd child? TWG, whatever shall you do when your kids are old enough to drive??!!

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

December 3rd, 2012
1:45 pm

“I don’t want to be overprotective”….that boat left the dock YEARS ago.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

December 3rd, 2012
1:49 pm

TWG…making that jump is only part of the reason to be scared….that’s a sandbox…in AZ! Do you know how man rattlesnakes and scorpions are hiding in those places? I’m surprised she got to play on the playground in the first place!

gpkbsin

December 3rd, 2012
1:56 pm

I wish my kids jumped like that. They are both boys too.. really, at 6yr old and 4 feet tall, you better jump. I saw a 4 year old jump from that height once and both my boys who were coming right behind him stopped as if they were going to jump off of a cliff. I as a little girl used to jump from heights and used to climb any tree I could. I am disappointed that my kids aren’t doing the same.

Penguinmom

December 3rd, 2012
1:57 pm

I think as long as she is jumping onto a regular playground surface that has some level of padding built in (like sand or wood chips), she is fine. I wouldn’t let my young kid jump from that height onto pavement but that particular surface looked fine.

I do think TWG has loosened up some. I mean, she actually let her jump. And was far enough away at the time to actually take the picture. I think you have to measure progress based on where someone started, not based on where you personally are. TWG has moved from hovering really nearby worrying that Michael was going to get the kids killed if he took them to the playground, to letting her older children play fairly unobstructed and, with just a little angst, letting the youngest play also. Just because I might allow more freedom to my kids now doesn’t mean that TWG is still as uptight as she might have been 8 or more years ago.

catlady

December 3rd, 2012
2:03 pm

Not sure. Can’t tell how high it is.

BTW, Theresa, did you see that Kate is pregnant?

kjsd

December 3rd, 2012
2:03 pm

teach her how to fall and roll and encourage her to become a stunt woman

BehindEnemyLines

December 3rd, 2012
2:07 pm

The flip-flops in that situation are probably more dangerous than the height itself. Break out the tennies for the next playground trip.

Wayne

December 3rd, 2012
2:14 pm

My 6 year old was jumping from that height at a playground. I just told him to be careful. He landed perfectly each time – even though I cringed. Mom came out, saw him, marched right over and told him not to do that. He said okay. She turned around to come back over to me and she heard a thump. She looked at me – didn’t turn around – and said, he jumped, didn’t he. I started laughing and said, he did. She gave up.

Kids have to be kids. We’ll talk about it as we’re watching them climb and jump and whatever. I said, if they get hurt we go to the hospital (if needed) and take care of it. Can’t watch ‘em all the time and they need to get to know their own limits.

Katie

December 3rd, 2012
2:33 pm

From the headline I thought it would have been at least two stories. What a let down.

motherjanegoose

December 3rd, 2012
2:40 pm

At five, I hung upside down from the monkey bars on the playground and there were not wood chips or sand underneath. IT WAS CEMENT. Of course, I could have busted my head wide open but I did not. The school playground was NOT the same playground we have today. A miracle so many of us are still in one piece.

Thanks DB and Camille, for the reminder.

My husband is deathly afraid of bees. Apparently they had a bee hive in the back yard, as kids, and they all got stung. I am not afraid of bees and have reminded everyone MANY times, ” Bees do not look for you…if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. ” I have sat on the back porch and had a wasp land on me then calmly waited until it flies away. NO BIG DEAL. Not so with my husband. We joke about this, with him, often. He is brave, in lots of other ways, just not with creepy crawlies or buzzing insects.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men

December 3rd, 2012
2:48 pm

I’m afaid of clowns.

motherjanegoose

December 3rd, 2012
2:57 pm

@ who…not sure if you are joking but I do know people who ARE afraid of clowns.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 3rd, 2012
3:06 pm

catlady — i did see and am following the british tabs for details — but so far no due date — will probably blog on the extreme morning sickness that caused her to be hospitalized – that’s pretty bad — I think I had one friend who needed IV — trying to remember – if was illness or pregnancy — I am unreasonably excited about this as I knew them. –

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 3rd, 2012
3:07 pm

catlady — if you look to the right on the page you can click on the story links from twitter — I sent a couple from the british papers — thinking they will have all the info — the mirror I think had the entire front page devoted –

Chaos

December 3rd, 2012
3:11 pm

I’m afraid of motherjanegoose in $800 shoes.

/shutters

catmom

December 3rd, 2012
3:24 pm

Yawn. Must have been a slow day on the Huffington Post. Seriously?

In Surprise

December 3rd, 2012
3:26 pm

My daughter jumped that exact jump at age 4. L will be ok :)

Georgia

December 3rd, 2012
4:50 pm

Loved this piece. Using a stunt double was inspired. If course no one would let a child jump off a playschool cliff that high.

Jessica

December 3rd, 2012
4:56 pm

Let her jump, but next time put her in tennis shoes. She is much more likely to get hurt if she is wearing flip-flops.

becky

December 3rd, 2012
6:45 pm

REALLY – no under all things considered holy DO NOT let the child jump. She might decide that she could do something without TWG holding her hand.

B3

December 3rd, 2012
7:26 pm

My parenting philosophy is this, “If I had happened to have had my back turned, they would have done it and I wouldn’t have even known it happened, so I should just pretend my back is turned and let them do it.” Obviously, I don’t use this in all settings, but in non-life threatening things, I think it makes for a more laid back parent and a more confident child.

Tiffany

December 3rd, 2012
9:18 pm

That little girl sure is cute!

Grace Slick

December 4th, 2012
7:42 am

I’m afraid of Mother Jane Goose in the voting booth.

Mayhem

December 4th, 2012
7:59 am

LET HER JUMP.

I have had stitches so many times, and two operations before I was 15.. But oh the memories…….I’ve fallen off bikes, rocks, trampolines, etc. Just let her pick herself up and let her do it again. I can hear the squeals of delight!!!!

CC

December 4th, 2012
8:00 am

If your gut tells you it’s too hight then it probably is. Tell her NO, saftey should not be a debate. Your child can get confidence and over fears without broken bones.

MomOf2Girls

December 4th, 2012
8:01 am

Good for you Theresa!

You’re right, she could crack an ankle, but she could also do that stepping off a curb wrong. I’m glad you didn’t let your fear of what could happen keep you from letting her do something she wanted to do. I do agree that flip flops are a bad choice of footwear – I know it’s hot out there, but they are the absolute worst for providing any kind of protection from anything!!

MJG, I used to believe the same about bees, and maybe they are different from wasps, but both of my girls were stung just minding their own business. Neither had bothered the wasp. It flew up, landed, they stayed still, it stung. In fact, it happened to each of them twice (really proud of them for not freaking out the second time, knowing they were stung once when standing still).

Roni

December 4th, 2012
8:03 am

Let her jump. Make a no flip-flops at the playground rule though. They aren’t safe for any of the stuff she’s going to want to do there. And no climbing in a skirt!

MomOf2Girls

December 4th, 2012
8:19 am

Roni – I’m not sure what you have against skirts, but they’re fine for climbing as long as they are the right type and you wear shorts underneath. My girls and I don’t wear pants or shorts for religious reasons, and it hasn’t stopped us from doing anything we want to do, including climbing / ziplining / ropes courses / whitewater rafting / etc / etc / etc…..

MomOf2Girls

December 4th, 2012
8:20 am

To clarify (before somebody gets all semantic on me :-) ). We don’t wear pants or shorts as outerwear. We do wear shorts or leggings under skirts as need be.

LeeH1

December 4th, 2012
8:27 am

This is a main difference between mothers and fathers. The mother says, “Be careful!” the father says, “Climb higher!”

Children need to hear _both_ voices and both parents. Too much of one and not enough of the other will cause the child to be either reckless or overly cautious.

Mayhem

December 4th, 2012
8:47 am

@Momof2girls – Jehovah’s Witness? Why would a religion not want women to wear pants or shorts? Just curious….

FCM

December 4th, 2012
8:50 am

Just know the risks. Mine did something like that at that age while at daycare. She broke her arm. We spent several hours at ER (it happened right around 5PM of course!) and she was in a cast with no pool part of the summer. BUT she knows it is not the best idea. Her sister did something similar and has a scar on her chin due to it.

MomOf2Girls

December 4th, 2012
9:03 am

Geez

December 4th, 2012
9:03 am

@Mayhem — I, too, am curious about the “no pants or shorts”. Cannot understand why that should matter…

Geez

December 4th, 2012
9:06 am

Sorry @MomOf – Posted mine before I saw your response. I have a co-worker who is Jewish and I know she follows extremely tight dietary rules – and, I think, even has to be home “before dark” or something — Wasn’t aware of the “no parts or shorts”, though. Again, no worries, I was only curious.

MomOf2Girls

December 4th, 2012
9:06 am

Whoops! Hit Submit button by accident. Full response now :-)

Jewish. We are Orthodox, and there is a prohibition in the Torah (Old Testament) from wearing clothing for the opposite sex. Women don’t wear pants or shorts, men don’t wear skirts or dresses. There are of course differing opinions, but this is how the majority of observant Jews hold.

MomOf2Girls

December 4th, 2012
9:11 am

@Geez – yes, the “home before dark thing” is for Fridays, and it’s because we don’t drive on our Sabbath (sundown Friday to just after dark Saturday).

@FCM – Neither girl has actually broken a bone, but we’ve had several ER visit for the daredevil where I would have put money on there being a broken bone. Regardless, I’d rather deal with injuries than buy stock in bubblewrap! Life is full of challenges, and risk takers handle them much better (I think).

Mayhem

December 4th, 2012
9:24 am

@Momof2Girls – Thank you!!!

jarvis

December 4th, 2012
9:49 am

Literally the first time I’ve ever rolled me eyes at you TWG.

You put her in a two ton car that goes over 70 MPH at times with other unpredictable a-holes driving all around you. You put her in much more dangerous situations that she puts herself. And you know what? She’s fine.

Geez

December 4th, 2012
9:49 am

Ahhh — Gotcha — Thanks for clarifying and apologies to the other commenters – Didn’t mean to guide this totally off topic!!

jarvis

December 4th, 2012
9:50 am

P.S. What a cutie pie.

non committal mind reader

December 4th, 2012
10:41 am

You can stop her (here and now). But you cannot make the world safe for her, and she IS going to jump when you aren’t looking. Consider this: a lot of olympic gymnasts were doing far more than this little jump at the same age. A lot of little kids are making motocross jumps bigger than this.
In making this jump, your kid isn’t even exceptional in her risk taking.

In short: you can’t stop it, it is not particularly dangerous, and other kids are doing far more and succeeding fabulously.

Phil from Athens

December 4th, 2012
11:06 am

FCM

December 4th, 2012
11:35 am

Mom of 2 right there with you…I was not upset with her or the school over the arm.