Playground rules and etiquette
I took my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to the playground the other day; it was horrid! She had a ball but I was ready to kill. Okay – I may be exaggerating a little or not; who knows? The playground elicited a whole myriad of emotional torment that I’d never have otherwise known existed.
It all started when a little boy ran up the slide ‘the wrong way’ – I have taken great effort to teach my daughter that to get to the top of the slide, you use the stairs; it’s the fairway and it avoids injury, it’s playground rules….
Now I know that kids are going to do things that they shouldn’t – that’s where parents come in; we keep our children in check – right!? This little boy’s mum had no problem with him hauling his body up the slide – obstructing the sliding privilege of all the children waiting their turn. He did it more than once and infuriated me.
Now, my logical assumption of the dictates of playground rules and etiquette suggest that in a firm but calm voice, I should have politely asked the little boy to please move so that my child (and the others) could have their chance to slide (it’s not my place to discipline but I will stick up for my baby bear).
But instead I got irrationally angry – mainly at the fact that the boy’s own mother said precisely… nothing. Of course I didn’t want to ruin the playground experience for my daughter, so I sucked it up and ‘walked away’.
My husband, who was with me at a distance, watched the whole thing happening and laughed out loud – apparently my irrational anger – and the look on my face – was rather amusing.
This is just an example of one instance of frustration regarding playground rules: larger children barging their way past smaller children, pushing and shoving, monopolising the swing, children not waiting their turn. Oi vei!
I am no victim and my child is certainly guilty of some of the aforementioned but I am very aware of the other children around her and am trying to teach her to be too – manners and consideration are of paramount importance when conducting oneself in social situations. I had to remind myself (as well as my daughter) of this.
So here’s what I have learnt over many an excursion to the playground:
1. Be reasonable (be fair).
2. Speak kindly but firmly.
3. Stick up for your child.
In summary: ‘reasonable’ can get complicated because it’s relative to the individual but the idea is to be fair – playground rules, make sure that your child has fun whilst allowing other children to do the same. And remember that your child learns from the way you conduct yourself – something I remind myself of on a regular basis.
What is your top tip for managing your child on the playground?
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