I was at Barnes & Noble last weekend “attempting” to read some stories with my little guy, but it is challenging because there are so many distractions – Thomas the Train Table, Escalators, screaming kids, etc. Jake always picks out the same couple of books as we head over to our private reading area. I try to pick out a book or two that we have never read to keep it interesting for me as well. One of the books that I selected was a classic that I enjoyed as a child – Five Little Monkeys. You know the words:
“Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama (could be Dada these days) called the Doctor and the Doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!””
I always enjoyed this popular story – lots of repetition and good illustrations. I never thought much about the message in the story…it’s probably a good rule of thumb to NOT let your kids jump on the bed. I am not a helicopter parent, and therefore, give my son a lot of room for self exploration that sometimes result in injuries. We live in a small apartment and we need to be creative in the ways we allow our children to burn off energy – hide and seek, obstacle courses, and jumping off the couch or bed.
This week I had a little intellectual wakeup call. Fortunately, my little guy is usually fine from falling off the bed or couch. Consequently, I may need to change some of our rules about our rough play after I read Household Injuries, and How Kids Get Them by Michael Tortorello in the New York Times. After reading it twice, I shared it with my wife who also gives our son a lot of leeway on his bed jumping activities.
A small excerpt: Start with the bed. Children should not jump on it, said Dr. Joan Bregstein, a pediatric emergency room physician at New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Parents already know this rule. They have been heard to recite it a few hundred times in the course of an afternoon.
What they may not know about are the injuries that occur when leaping children land on a nightstand or dresser. As a result, Dr. Bregstein said, she sees many lacerations “on the forehead, or on the top of the head, the back of the head.”
So, if you are like me, a relaxed dad when it comes to rough play – you will make a decision based on the information in this article:
1. Pretend you did not read it and continue your play.
2. Know the consequences and step up the supervision a bit.
3. Helicopter your kid and rule out the bed as an area they can play on.
Dads, where do you stand?
For the record, if this article was not enough to shake you up a little, try this related article on for size: With Kids and Coffee tables, It’s Trip, Fall, Ouch!