Thursday, October 22, 2009

Playground do's and don'ts.....my own personal version

After my interview with the experts the other day, it's apparent that my children have a firm grasp on playground rules.

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 by Mama Kat's Writers Workshop.

** You may have noticed that my blog has a new look!! Tomorrow I'll be posting more information about it!

58 comments:

April said...

has someone actually asked you if your crackers are from trader joes or if something is organic? I don't have kids but I have a feeling I would be continually surprised at people :)
its four in the morning here at work so it was nice to read and smile ...have a great rest of the week!

Ms. Lovely said...

I don't have any kids, but if I did, I think I'd follow these rules.

Corrie Howe said...

I love the rules! They should be posted at every playground!

I'm sorry, I kept yelling at my son, Jonathan, instead of walking over to him. :-)

I didn't actually interview my children yesterday, but I played court reporter. Their court session was hysterical (at least to me and my husband).

Brooke said...

unfortunately, i think clicks are something that never die.

and i love the new look! :)

The Mother said...

#6, oh yes, #6.

I think it should apply EVERYWHERE, not just the playground.

It should have been on those stone tablets. I mean, who covets oxen these days?

And everyone ignores the "name in vain" thing, anyway.

So there's plenty of room.

Mighty M said...

Great rules! They should have those posted at all playgrounds!! :)

Amy said...

My little on still wears diapers. I love the sand and whatever falls out after a day of playing..

Great and helpful list.

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

And, don't let your kid pee on the playground. Especially in the sand box. PLEASE!

Love the new look!!

Twins Squared said...

Love the new look too! And great rules - at least we are in Texas where not too many care about organic! That's the problem with that one - you are in CA! Ha ha. Just kidding.

Good rules - I avoid playgrounds with sand. I hate sand (I know - so mean). But I agree about taking your kids there and not letting them play in it.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

When I opened your blog it took me a minute- I love the new look! So bright and refreshing.

This is a great list - may I print it out and post it at our playground???

Sadia said...

I love these rules.

I'd add, "Older children should be taught to be considerate of younger children. Yes, that includes 12-month-olds, who are, in fact, older than 6-month-olds," and "Don't exclude the dads. Introduce yourself to the dads who are there with their kids too, especially because they're in the minority. And whatever you do, don't assume that it's unusual for them to spend time with their kids without mom around. They're in the minority, but there are guys out there who are as involved in raising their kids as their wives are."

Tracy said...

Love the new look!

You know, Helene, you should submit this as a sample of your writing to one of the parenting magazines. They should publish this!!!

Really really funny (and true.)

Nobody said...

i'd say those are excellent guidelines for the playground! if i were to come up with my own list, i'd include not letting children poke babies. it always used to make me uncomfortable to have kids want to poke/play with/hold my baby daughter when she was too little to play.

Nezzy said...

Great rules! Ya go girl! You should see the list of rules when I hold Camp Grandma. With eight this rockin' grandma has to set boundaries especially since our age range is 14-3mo.

Sweetie, have yourself a greatly blessed day and get out there and have some fun!!!

HST said...

I love the new layout of your sight.

I agree with your rules and I cannot believe the audacity of some folks(#1).

I had an experience at an inflatable indoor playground where a mother was standing right next to the entrance of a jumping castle where her kid was continuously jumping the line and jumping over the side on top of the smaller kids (he was probably around 6 years old).

I was more annoyed with her indifference than his behavior!

Jessica said...

This is probably the best blog post I have seen in a while! I love it and absolutely agree with everything you have written here!!

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

Lovin' your new look, Helene! Um yeah, I think all those rules are a given, BUT, you're right, there's a reason we have to state rules.

Samantha said...

I love the new look :)

& I would definitely follow those rules, but I don't take Bree to the park often...mainly because the people who you wrote these rules for, get on my nerves. I avoid things that get on my nerves... :)

Carly said...

all of this is so true!!LOL

3 Men and a Lady said...

Great list. I second Nobody's suggestion of not letting your kid touch/poke babies. I freaking hate when other kids get in my baby's face and touch. Ew!!

And the snack thing, lol!

June said...

LOL! I'll have to remember these for future reference!!

S Club Mama said...

The new look is beautiful. Very summery. :)

I agree with all of the above! Luckily for me there usually aren't very many other kids at our local park(s). I can't stand when kids do bring riding toys and expect them not to be played on. We were at a splash park and my son just wanted to touch the scooter. He doesn't know what to do with it; I wasn't going to stop him but my parents did. I was like um ok? If they didn't want it played with, they'd take it by their parents at least.

Karen said...

My playground experience is limited to 10 years ago when I used to babysit twin 3-year-old boys. No one was ever at the park when we were, so I never had to worry about all the playground etiquette. But this is a good list!

And I LOVE the new look!

Mimi and Tilly said...

Are your snacks organic??? Seriously??? The nerve...! And have you really seen a child leave a brown trail down the slide? Good Gordon. I had no idea. ;)

Heather Kephart said...

I love your new look!

I appreciate you taking the time to create some guidelines & highlight some playground issues you've encountered. I fear when my kids get to the age that they're seriously interacting with other kids and they squabble - I'm not sure how much I should step in, or to let them deal with the problems themselves. Oh, in time! *dreading this*

Pam said...

#7 is the worst. I am a full-time workin' mom, so I don't know the other neighborhood moms that well. My kids are 4 months as 19 months, so it's not like I've met them through school or anything. And we aren't at the park very often. I'm usually the one sitting off to the side by myself. It's totally high school lunchtime all over again.

yonca said...

Those rules are great!I love the new look ;)

Kim said...

Great new look to the blog!!

I'd like someone to explain why my kids never play on their own equipment in the backyard. It's better than most of the parks, which they'll play at for hours. They honestly prefer graffiti-sprayed, old slides to the cool stuff that cost us a kidney to buy for them.

shortmama said...

Oh man I soooooo agree with your list. Maybe we should all print it out and post it up right at all the parks entrances for everyone to go over...or better yet maybe there should be an orientation to make sure everyone understands the rules!

MamaHen Em said...

I love your new look! I am constantly amazed at how parks seem to be a free for all. I have honestly experienced or witnessed each of these things!

Stephanie Faris said...

"My mom wants to know if the string cheese is organic and if the goldfish are from Trader Joe's"

I almost choked on my chemically-enhanced sugar-free soda over that one! Give me a BREAK!

My boyfriend's daughter gets kelp juice when she's with her mom. With us, it's Sprite and Chinese food!

feefifoto said...

Might I add:

Try to keep your child from whacking other kids and if he or she does, don't just shrug it off. Yes kids are kids, but hitting (or shoving, or throwing rocks at others) is NEVER okay.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

This is very enlightening! I never realized before how involved just going to the playground was. I think the most important rule here is to keep your sick kids at home.

Eva Gallant said...

what a great post!

Eva Gallant said...

what a great post!

Lani said...

First of all, your blog looks AWESOME!! I LOVE it!!
Second, this is a great post. I have wondered many times about the mom-clique thing. Sometimes it feels like we all just got a little older, a little fatter, yet no more mature than we were in high school. I wish moms would stop criticizing each other and support each other- we all have a pretty tough job!

Angela said...

Amen! And love the beachy new look!

2 Toddlers and Me said...

I can't stand it when parents are always yelling at their kids to not do climb and jump and play at the playground. What fun is it to spend the entire time yelling at your child when they aren't doing anything wrong. I fully agree with the rest of the rules too. One to add is the parent that sits on the bench and ignores the kid leaving you to help them when they start crying because they're stuck at the top of the climbing structure and the parent is oblivious. I sometimes go to the park with two and end up watching twice that many.

Jenny said...

I haven't read this post yet, but I LOVE the new design. I've been thinking about updating mine to something a little more simple too. Love the colors, buttons, all of it!

Now off to read the post...

Moochie's Mom said...

Great rules! I love your blog, so I gave you a blog award! You can get it here: http://ladybugsandtonkatrucks.blogspot.com/2009/10/yea-another-blog-award.html
Thanks!

Chrissy MacCEO said...

I LOVE this post and I am so glad that I found your blog! I will be your newest follower!!!

!!The Obnoxious SAHM!! said...

And everyone said.... "AMEN!"

good one my friend. Great post.

Jenny said...

This is so true! My biggest pet peeve at the park is Moms who see that I'm right there with my daughter, so they can walk off. My forehead doesn't say babysitter on it, does it?

I hate that. Plus, how do they know I'm not some psycho. Don't leave your kids with someone else, unless you know them. DUH!

Morgan said...

My only park rule is that tweens and teens should know better than to climb the outside up all to the roof of a high fort. Such a bad example for the little squirts who are sure to try and copy them.

They also shouldn't write graffiti nastiness inside the slides or takeover the entire shelter areas.

I have no problem with that age group, but really, they need to learn to behave better in public places around little kids.

BTW- your new blog design is very cute! I like the blue a lot.

kys said...

Your blog looks great! I think the worst thing about taking the kids to the park is dealing with all the moms there! Ugh.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Preach it, sister!

Reminds me of a time when a mom on the playground bent over and showed everyone that she was, indeed, wearing a thong under her designer jeans. Yeah.

And another time I ran into someone I know who admitted her kids were sick, so that's why she was taking them to the playground -- because I guess the air would carry the germs away, unlike being indoors.

Love, love, love your new blog look!

BoufMom9 said...

Ok, #4... that's the one that KILLS me the most. What is wrong with people allowing their children to STEAL???
I see it ALL the time at our pediatricians office. I donate toys to them ALL.THE.TIME and all the time because the toys literally walk out the door on a daily basis. UGH!

Some people have NO manners! GEEZ!

Jennifer said...

I wish people had common sense. Then the playground would be a much better place, huh? ;-)

BTW, I LOOOOOVE the new look! Love it! I love the colors, so soothing!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Amen to all of this! With my stepson we still have issues with toys in public places (I wish they were just banned!!) and #6 is an issue I have with him, too. I look like such a meanie the way I have to parent him sometimes, but there are very valid reasons!
And #9 nearly made me hurl!

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

Amen! Luckily, I am an abider by the rules - Ha!
Seriously, there is this woman (I so want to blog about her but I know her friend and I think she reads my blog - CRAP!). Anyways, she is SOOOO stuck in the 80's - she has long hair with the high Aquanet bangs, she tight rolls her jeans, I swear! She is ALWAYS at the park when we are there. Her daughter has a double-name (which normally does not annoy me but hers does) because she sits and reads and every 3 minutes yells, AnnaKate do not get your dress dirty! I swear I want to ring her neck.
Whew! I feel better now!

Thank you for your sweet words about the crafts! We definitely enjoy doing them and I love hearing when other people do them too! So glad your spiderwebs turned out! Thanks again!!!

Adventure Mom Janna said...

So funny! I think I need to make a poster of this and post it at our playground:)

And yes, dirt is par for the course at a playground. That's why hand me downs are even better than new clothes sometimes.

Creative Junkie said...

First of all, LOVE what you've done with the place! Great color scheme!

Second .. ITA. I could never get over the moms who didn't want their children getting dirty. My biggest pet peeve were the kids who wouldn't share THEIR toys but felt they were entitled to monopolize my children's toys.

Life is Good said...

I have to add, though it tends to be a bit controversial it seems - It is okay for me to tell your child to stop pushing mine.

Shari said...

These crack me up, especially #5. The parent dress rules should be posted somewhere. Last year our girls went to a farm for a field trip. A mom showed up in designer jeans, high heal boots, Chanel sunglasses and a leather coat. She complained the whole time about the mud. The other moms just stared at her and felt sorry for her son.

The High Family said...

Isn't it crazy that some parents really are that clueless to the playground rules??

I hate the parents that allow their 6 year olds (yes that young) come to the playground BY THEMSELVES! wtheck?!

Midwest Mommy said...

I have seen #2 on quite a few blogs, lol

twinmama said...

Here, here! Thank you for this post. It always seems like when we go to the park, other kids come over to us and ask ME to push them on the swings or play with them. Like, I don't have enough of my own kids to play with. Then I realize I am the only mom playing with her kids, so the other kids flock to me. I want to tell these mothers, "Get off the damn cell phone and spend some time with your kids!"

Whew, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. :)

wife.mom.nurse said...

Girl, you just have to write a book...you are a modern day Irma Bombeck! I love your posts.

I will be the first in line to buy your book!

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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