Backyard Discovery Blog
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Kids Playground Rules: Not Just For Kids
Everyone knows that part of being a parent is making sure you set ground rules for your children in situations when you may or may not be present.. And when it comes to the kids playground, where kids run rampant and parents supervise, it’s especially important to make sure both you and your children are adequately prepared. Here are a few rules for both kids and parents to make sure every visit to the kids playground is a successful one.
KIDS RULE #1: BE NICE
Teach your kids to play nice with the other children. It’s important that they know the value of sharing and having a general courteousness towards others who are trying to enjoy the kids playground.
PARENT RULE #1: STAY OUT OF IT
When it comes to issues on the kids playground, let the children work it out. This is a valuable lesson for everyone involved: compromise and conflict resolution. It’s tempting to jump in and defend your child if you feel like another child has wronged him or her at the kids playground. You must, however, resist the temptation so that your children learn how to stand up for themselves. Also, don’t assume you know everything that is going on in a situation. There may have been a moment or an interaction on the kids playground that you weren’t privy to. The more you stay out of it, the more kids will learn to figure it out for themselves. This kind of lesson is something that will stay with them and build the foundation for the social skills they will need throughout their lives.
KIDS RULE #2: NO ROUGH-HOUSING
This is a fairly obvious ground-rule to set with children before taking them to the kids playground. No hitting or hair-pulling. Slides are for going down, not climbing up. Don’t throw things at people. Don’t kick, push, or harm anyone else at the playground. There is a fine line between the physical exertion that is expected at the kids playground and the kind of rough play where someone ends up getting hurt. As a parent, you must teach your kids to know the difference.
PARENT RULE #2: WATCH YOUR KIDS
There is only one reason parents should even be at the kids playground: to watch their kids. Otherwise, why even go at all? Don’t be the parent who is glued to their phone or so engrossed in conversation that the supervision goes out the window. On the other hand, don’t be the parent who hovers. Watching from a distance while checking email is fine, as long as you glance up often enough to know where your kids are, and more importantly, what they’re doing. That way, you can make sure they’re following the rules you’ve set for them, like playing nice.
KIDS RULE #3: ACT YOUR AGE
The playground is where everyone comes to play, regardless of their age. And kids must know how to deal with their peers, both younger and older. It’s crucial for the bigger kids to be careful around the smaller kids. And by the same token, it’s important that younger kids know how to respect the older kids and give them space if they want it. By creating a rule like this, children learn to understand the effect they can have on others, which is another useful skill throughout adulthood.
PARENT RULE #3: SET BOUNDARIES ON THE PLAYGROUND
The kids playground is also a place where parents gather, so there may naturally be a desire to show off, or be the coolest, most fun parent there. Don’t. Kids might ask for a hand getting to the top of monkey bars, or to be pushed the highest on the swing, and as a parent, you must set boundaries. Just because other kids might be jumping off the swing when it’s at its highest point doesn’t mean your kids should. Communicate with your children, and don’t forget that you’re there to set an example.
KIDS RULE #4: EMPATHY GOES A LONG WAY
This is a rule that applies no matter the children are playing, from the classroom to the kids playground to the home of a friend. Instill empathy in your kids so that they start to understand that not everyone is the same as they are. Sometimes, another child may not want to play the same game, or do the same playground activity. And that’s OK. On another note, encouraging your children to apologize for an accident or mistake is another way to teach them empathy. When kids can acknowledge and respect others’ differences, playground visits will always run smoothly.
PARENT RULE #4: BE KIND TO EVERYONE
Don’t judge the other parents or reprimand the other children at the kids playground. Lead by example and treat everyone with kindness and respect. Often, a parent feels like it’s their job to discipline even someone else’s child if they see a wrongdoing. It’s important to know that this might offend other parents, so be mindful of how much you get involved with other people’s children.
KIDS RULE #5: HAVE FUN
Remember that one of the main reasons to visit a kids playground is to help your children exert excess energy. Encourage them to climb, swing, or slide around the playground. After all, the playgrounds were created for just that: having fun.
PARENT RULE #5: RELAX
At the end of the day, don’t stress too much about what happens at the playground. There’s more than one way to be a great parent and instill the values in your child that will serve them throughout their lives. Remember that the playground is there for them to have fun, so let them do that while you sit back and relax.