Playing Nice at the Playground

The days are longer and warmer and summer break is about to begin which means that more people are visiting their local parks and playgrounds. We love going to the park near us and the kids love swinging and playing on the slide. I’m sure we all have pet peeves when it comes to playground etiquette so I wanted to share five of mine (you can share yours in the comments ;)) that I think abiding by will make for a better playground experience.


Pay Attention

Probably the biggest complaint I hear is that parents are distracted with their phones or friends and not paying attention to their kids. I know that this is something I definitely have trouble with, I have had a few times where I didn’t realize my kids had started to wander off because I was taking to a friend. As a parent, our main responsibility is towards our children’s safety and that they are behaving on the playground.

Share Equipment
My kids love the swing and throw a fit when it is time to get off, but I try to remind them that it is someone else’s turn. We try to limit our time on one piece of equipment to 5 minutes when it is clear that someone is waiting to use it and no more than 10 minutes even if no one else seems to be waiting. This makes sure that everyone gets a turn and also teaches your child about sharing.

Don’t be Overly Accommodating of My Child
On the other side of sharing the equipment, I don’t want parents to allow my strong-willed child to bulldoze their children. We teach our girls at home to share and respect boundaries, so I don’t like to see other parents allow them to get away with bad behavior in the pursuit of being agreeable or avoiding confrontation.

Allow the Kids to Work it Out
I am always paranoid that my kids might be misbehaving, but I really have to refrain from jumping in whenever there is a difficulty (think a traffic jam at the slide not a physical altercation), but I have learned that my daughters learn a lot from problem solving themselves. Kids need to learn how to work with each other and assert themselves but of course parents should step in when things get extreme.

Teach Your Children Safe Use of the Equipment
This is maybe one of my biggest pet peeves. Before we go to the park, I talked to the girls about park rules, e.g. we only go up the stairs down the slide, so that they know what to expect and how they should behave (I frequently have to reinforce these rules while at the park). It is frustrating to me when kids are not playing safely on the equipment, including using it the wrong way or on equipment that is not age appropriate.

What are some of your suggestions for ensuring safe and fun play at playgrounds and play areas?

I am a mom of two spunky little girls, Claire and Hadley (two, two and under) and wife to Ryan. I am a proud University of Florida and Stetson University alumnus and I work part time as a Certified Public Accountant for the largest international public accounting firm. When not crunching numbers or having a pretend tea party, I loves to sew, craft, snow ski, bake and I am fond of spreadsheets. You can follow along with my sewing and natural parenting adventures on her blog: Naturally Crafty Mom or on my FaceBook Page