April Moments

Maybe, just maybe, telling the story is just as important as the story itself

Playground pet peeves

Elliot loves going to the playground. What kid doesn’t, right?

I enjoy taking him. He has fun, he plays with other children and, most importantly, he burns off some of his energy, which seems endless most days!

I have always enforced certain playground rules, many of which apply to life in general. For example, “Wait your turn in line.” On a sidenote, I have seen this come into play in a “real life” scenario. Elliot actually told a woman who was behind us in line at Wal-Mart, “It’s not your turn yet. You have to wait your turn!”

PlaygroundOne of my biggest playground pet peeves is when youngsters walk up the slide. It may seem obvious, but this is problematic for several reasons: 1) It is dangerous, especially for toddlers, because they could fall and 2) It interferes with the natural order of “up the steps, down the slide.” It’s similar to when a power outage disables a traffic light. No one knows who’s supposed to go when. Chaos ensues!

While this may seem like a simple point I’m making, it leads to a very serious issue. I am surprised at how many parents either drop off their children at the playground and leave (WHAT?) or pay no attention to the kids even if they do stay.

HELLO, parents! Seriously? Even if your children are old enough to play by themselves, they should not be unsupervised on the playground! There are many reasons why, one being this: If you are not there to promote proper behavior, another parent might try.

I have a challenging enough time disciplining my own child; I really have no desire to enforce playground etiquette with others’ kids. But, I find it terribly awkward to see another child consistently setting a bad example for other youngsters while Mom and Dad are sitting in the car or on a bench.

The 4-year-old daughter of my friend Betsy occasionally does things that might influence my almost-3-year-old Elliot. I’ve picked up on one of Betsy’s statements during this scenario: “You’re teaching Elliot the wrong thing.”

Well, a few days ago at the playground, I found myself similarly telling Elliot, “You’re teaching Nick the wrong thing,” when he climbed on the stair railing in front of his new 18-month-old friend. I’d like to think that Nick’s mom was glad I was there to correct Elliot’s “no-no.”

I’m certainly nowhere near being a perfect parent, but isn’t general supervision a pretty basic element of parenting? I hope more playground parents start agreeing.

Originally published on ovparent.com.


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