Experts Explain Why You Should Stop Saying "Be Careful" To Kids

How many times a day do you say “be careful” to kids, wanting to make sure they stay safe?

We may not be as helpful as we think.

Experts argue that constantly telling kids to be careful may keep them from learning how to take risks or make mistakes. “Taking risks means sometimes failing,” explains parenting expert Jamie Glowacki. “If you never take a risk, if you play it safe all the time, you become afraid of making a mistake. You become afraid of failure.” And failure isn’t always a bad thing because getting out of your comfort zone can lead to success.

So what are we supposed to say to our kids instead of “be careful” on the playground? We’re not trying to mess with their development, we want risk assessment, and these alternate phrases encourage awareness and problem solving:

  • “Remember that … ”
  • “Notice how … ”
  • “What’s your plan … ”
  • “Do you feel … ”
  • “How will you … ”
  • “Can you see … ”
  • “Can you hear … ”
  • “Try using your … ”
  • “Are you feeling … ”
  • “Take your time”
  • “I’m here if you need me”

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