Parenting

Terrorists on the Playground

Cynthia Dermody
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child climbing rock climbing wall

Photo by gypsysmiles

My 6 year old son loves to use our playground's tunnel slide every which way except for its intended use -- sliding down. Oh, he'll slide down, but only after he climbs up first, usually getting in the way of other smaller kids who want to slide down.

[Flash to me halfway up the tunnel, yanking at my son's coat, trying to get the big dopey boy out of the poor little girl's way.]

Then he'll scale the outside of the slide Spiderman style because Dad said he was old enough now.

[Flash to me yelling at my son be careful and come down now and okay, just one more time but that's it! while swearing at my husband under my breath.]

And remind me to deal with that later, if I'm not busy driving to the ER with a child with a possible bone fracture.

I want my son to be a boy and have fun at the park, but truly I hate the way all his crazy boy antics frazzles the littler kids. I remember being on the flip side not too long ago, thinking that those parents should restrain their older kids from monopolizing the monkey bars, slides and swings.

Another issue that came up recently -- my son still loves to use the baby swing, even though it takes nothing short of surgery to extract him from the bucket when he's done. Moms in Advice for Moms told me that big kids should definitely give up the swing for a little one who is waiting to use it. (Click over to playground etiquette discussion to tell me if you agree).

Here are some of the other unspoken playground etiquette rules they feel all parents should (but don't always) abide by:

Monkey bars are one way only. Limit use of a piece of equipment to 5 minutes if others are waiting.  I have seen kids go one way across the monkey bars and then turn around and go back, and while I admire their upper arm strength, if others are waiting it needs to just be one way. -- icbowman

Same goes for the slide. It's only for going DOWN if you aren't the only one at the park. Get your kid off the bottom of the slide so the next kid can go ... gravity is a hard thing to counteract once the next kid starts going -- swizzlefiz

Watch your older kids, too! Unfortunately, so many parents just let their kids go crazy and don't bother to watch them and what happens? Little ones invariably get hurt by the big kids. I've taught my boys to always watch out for kids that are smaller than them. -- GoneNutty

 

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Mom Confessions: I Let My Toddler Climb Equipment Unassisted

Playground Safety Tips

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