A Guide to Playground Etiquette

This is for all those parents out there that let their children run all willy nilly at the playground. If your child has ever made more than three kids at the local play area cry, I’m talking to you.

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The Rules of Proper Playground Etiquette

Playground Etiquette

Height

Now, look–I understand if your kid is abnormally tall. Yes, my four year old sometimes gets mistaken for a seven year old. That’s cool, but come on, if your kid is an entire head ABOVE the recommended height, then they shouldn’t be there. What I really don’t get though, is why your twelve year old WANTS to play on something that was designed for a six year old. Maybe you should have that checked out.

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Playground Sherriff

The play area is for everyone to use. So, if your kid is blocking access to the slide or the bouncy thing–tell them to move. It’s super crappy when my kid has to try to tell a kid twice her size (see above rule to prevent this from happening) to move out of her way. Why is it my responsibility to make sure all the children have equal access to the playground toys? Teach your kid to share, that’s like parenting 101. If you can’t master that, then maybe you should take a class or something.

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Food Stays at The Table

I can’t actually believe I have to say this, but why on this earth are you letting your kid take his happy meal on the playground? Are you kidding me with that? Not only is he now eating where other kids have been sticking their dirty feet all day long (which I have to explain to my kid when she doesn’t understand why she can’t take her nuggets up there), but dude–that’s a choking disaster waiting to happen, and if you think I am going to climb up that slide and give your child the heimlich. Think again buddy.

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Supervise

Really, all the problems above could pretty much be solved if you would just come into the play area and watch your kid. I know it’s loud. I know it smells like kid sweat. Really, I get it–you need time to yourself, and you’re willing to just about anything to have it. But, here’s the deal–pay a babysitter. You obviously don’t care about your kid’s well-being… so you don’t even need to find a good sitter–and I’m betting he/she will even watch your kids at the playground for you.

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So on behalf of PWAGACATK (Parents Who Actually Give a Crap About Their Kids) everywhere, I beg you, PLEASE get some playground manners.

9 Comments

  1. Jamie – you freaking crack me up. Love it all.

  2. This is GREATNESS! 😉

  3. This is HILARIOUS!! Thank you… 🙂

  4. This post is PRICELESS! My favorite are the kids eating the caramel apple dip (you know, the thing that makes a Happy Meal “healthy”) with their fingers while sitting on the slide. That scares me more than swine flu…

  5. Great post and I agree with all of it! I do have a question for you or for your readers:

    My 2-year-old son loves to bring 2 little trains with him to the playground. They fit right in his hand and he holds them most of the time, playing with them on the ground or sand. When he plays on the equipment, I keep them in my pocket or hands. Is it okay that he brings these to the playground? On a few occasions, other children have pointed to them (in his hands) and screamed to play with them. A few times, older kids have come right over to him and snatched them away from him. My son doesn’t get too upset and doesn’t cry, but usually he looks confused. Whenever this happens, the mothers don’t say a word to their kids (even if they see it) and I end up having to beg for them back after a few minutes when it’s time to leave (or if by that point my son is getting upset and wants them back). Of course I want to teach him to share his toys, but this usually happens while he’s playing with them. Sometimes I get dirty looks from the mothers.

    Is it bad etiquette for him to be bringing toys from home if he’s going to be the only one playing with them? I want to do the right thing here!

  6. I say yes, he can absolutely bring them, but if there’s a situation where other kids are trying to get them, etc. I would have him decide to either play with them over BY you, or have him put the toys away.
    🙂

    I hope others have an opinion as well!

  7. This should be required reading for parents. I think I’ll make several copies and keep them with me to hand out as necessary. 😉

  8. This is hysterical! LOVE it. JC, good question. I don’t think it’s a black and white issue. If it helps, I’ll tell you our rule. My child is not allowed to bring any toys anywhere that he isn’t willing to share them. I’ll ask him, “Are you willing to share those?” If not, he understands that he shouldn’t bring them. However, SHARING does not mean that other kids are allowed to TAKE his toys. It does mean that if other kids want to play with them, too, they can play with them together. Too often, we don’t stick up for our kids when others take their things and we tell them, “It’s okay. You need to share.” Well, taking is not sharing and it’s not okay. Don’t know if that’s helpful, but that’s what we do. More often than not, my child decides to leave his toys in the car when faced with the decision. 😉

  9. This is so true! Love it! One more thing I would add for the indoor playground is for the kids to take their shoes off. Once my son was playing in the indoor playground and a big kid who was still wearing his shoes pushed his foot down into my son’s face as he was climbing the stairs. Also, it is difficult for your child to understand that he is not to climb up the slide from the bottom since everyone else is doing it.

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