We are what I call "park connisseurs". I take the kids at least 2-3 times a week, weather permitting of course. We try to visit different parks frequently so they don't get bored since every park offers something different.
Recently, I've noticed that even though most kids have the playround do's and don'ts imprinted into their brains, some parents simply do not. So I thought I'd make a list of my own personal "Do's and Don'ts at the Playground for Parents". Most of the following rules are a given but, believe it or not, there's always a reason why rules have to be stated and spelled out. Because you know there's always one seed in the whole bunch that doesn't....how to put this....uh, play well with others.
1) Bring a snack for your kid. Plain and simple. Kids play, they exert energy...they are bound to get thirsty and hungry. If your child happens to see me giving my kids a snack and asks for some, rest assured that I will tell him to ask you for permission first. But please don't send him back asking, "My mom wants to know if the string cheese is organic and if the goldfish are from Trader Joe's". Beggars can't be choosers. Next time, bring your own organic snack from TJ's, if it's THAT important to you.
2) Most playgrounds have sand. Here's an obvious equation for you....Kids + Sand = Dirty child. It's gonna happen, just accept it. Why bring your kid to the playground if you don't want him/her to get dirty? That almost seems kind of cruel...."Now, Daniel, remember....no playing in the sand, in fact, don't even LOOK at the sand. And no climbing on the monkey bars and no going down the slide. Oh and you know I don't like pushing you on the swings so stay away from those too. That pretty much covers it...now go have fun". Seriously?!
3) It seems to be an unwritten rule that when kids bring toys or riding equipment to the playground that it's okay for other kids to borrow those, after asking permission of course. If you or your child doesn't want anyone borrowing their stuff, leave it at home. Teaching our children to share with others is one of the most important lessons we can teach them, don't you agree?
4) By that same token, however, if your kid leaves the park with more things in his hands than when he arrived, clearly he has taken the belongings of another child. The proper thing to do would be to have your child return those items to the child he took them from.
5) There is such a thing as playground attire, even for us parents. I have no clue what would possess you to wear designer jeans, pumps and your most expensive pair of glasses to a playground....and then have the nerve to become upset when some kid dumps sand on your expensive Jimmy Choo's or when you sit on a piece of chewed up gum on one of the benches that someone left behind.
6) This one is important - there will be NO JUDGING of other moms while at the playground. Let's not forget that we are a sisterhood. We are here to support and encourage one another, not knock each other down. I don't want to hear you clucking your tongue when I don't fall victim to one of my children's temper tantrums. You have no clue how my day has gone...or the fact that this is the 25th tantrum this child has had within an 8-hr period. I'll just say this...if you think you can parent my children better than I can, go for it. BE. MY. GUEST. I can pretty much guarantee you'd be bringing them back to me within 10 minutes.
7) If you are at the playground with a group of friends and you happen to notice another mom across the way all by herself, it's okay to say hello to her and ask her to join your group. No one likes to feel left out. Plus, I thought the whole clique thing ended when we all graduated high school. Grow up and go introduce yourself....you may make a new friend for yourself AND your for child. If the other moms you're with make a big deal out of this, then they never were your friends in the first place.
8) Don't sit on a bench across the other side of the playground from your kid and yell over to him. Either use the universal hand signal for "get your ass over here now" or simply get up and go to where he is to talk to him. Yelling at your kid when he's like 25 feet from you just seems....well, rude. Plus no one likes to hear you constantly screaming, "Jonathan, don't pick your nose", "Jonathan, share your toys" and "Jonathan, don't keep grabbing your pee-pee unless you need to use the potty".
9) If your child is sick, leave him at home. There's nothing worse than seeing a kid sneeze green snot all over my kid when they're playing together. This also goes for when your kid has the runs....I mean, seriously, there's nothing grosser than seeing a kid go down the slide, leaving a huge brown streak behind him.
10) SUPERVISION. Yes, it is expected. No one else is responsible for watching your child except YOU (unless you have friends with you who are willing to supervise him/her). Chatting on the cell phone or reading a book is fine...I mean, let's face it..most of us parents bring our kids to the park so we don't have to spend one more hour entertaining them. But, really....is a 45 minute phone call to your friend to discuss another friend's latest faux pas really that important? Especially when you consider that your 2-year old is about to jump off a 6-foot high climbing structure? Keep your eyes on your child at all times. 'Nuff said.
* This post has been inspired byMama Kat's Writers Workshop. ** You may have noticed that my blog has a new look!! Tomorrow I'll be posting more information about it!