Now the weather is warming up and the spring is in the air flowers are the only things in bloom but playgrounds all over the city appear to be blooming with children of all ages. Playgrounds in NYC are very special places and meant to be enjoyed but with so many parents in one place there are bound to be so many “parenting styles”. We have created a list of playground behavior rules that should be followed by all families regardless of your style to make sure playgrounds remain fun and most importantly safe places for play!
1. The playground is a great place to go with a babysitter however the playground itself is not a babysitter. On a nice day you are bound to run into many other mom’s, dad’s and nannies but don’t get so involved in conversation that you forget to keep a close eye on your children. This is obvious for little ones but is just as important for older children. Older children may be able to climb and run without help but making sure they stay safe and avoid areas where they may “run over” the smaller playground goer’s is crucial.
2. Just as the playground is not a babysitter it is not an office. The playground should be the place you go to “occupy” your children while you pull out your blackberry, droid, iphone, ipad or any other “i” item. While an occasional call or text is fine sitting on the sidelines glued to your device makes it virtually impossible to watch your children and more importantly doesn’t allow you to have fun by actively engaging with them.
3. Areas designated for bigger children and areas designated for smaller children should be paid attention to! The reason for this is safety. Bigger children play faster and smaller children don’t always look where they are going. Because of such smaller guys can get in their way causing tripping, falling, collisions and many “boo-boos” for both ages that can easily be avoided.
3. No matter what your parenting style hitting, kicking, screaming, name-calling, biting, pushing and throwing sand/woodchips should not be tolorated. Along these lines when such behavior occurs intervention by an adult should be immediate. It is tempting at times to let our children “work it out on their own” however a public playground with other people’s children is not the time or place.
4. Along the lines of number 3; please address your own child’s behavior. It is not your job to monitor other children or other care taker’s job to monitor your children. If you should catch something that a parent missed you may step in calmly to solve any minor problems but never repremand the other child, do however ask whom they are with and make their caregiver aware of the issue.
5. Have fun! Playgrounds are a great place to be creative and jump around in ways you can’t to at home! Make sure to take advantage of that.
6. Make friends; playgrounds aren’t just a place for children to create new bonds with peers they are also a great place to meet other families, parents, nannies, etc. It can be a great place to meet people you may want to do playdates, , mommy groups or other activities with at a later date.
7. Respect the playground. Please leave the playground the way you found it so that the next time you go it is just as much fun. This means don’t litter, don’t take all the sand out of the box, don’t rope swing chains around the poles or engage in any other activity that may harm equipment and/or make the grounds less appealing.
8. Playgrounds are great places to learn the art of “turn taking”. If you see a line up for the swings or any other piece of equipment please be curtious and aware. Every child deserves a chance and so monitor how long occupy it; remember you can always get back in line!
9. If you bring your own equipment to the playground be prepared to share. Many times scooters, sidewalk chalk, sand toys, and balls make their way into these spaces. If you child brings something make sure they understand other children may see it and want to play with it as well. This is especially true if the child him or herself is currently not playing with whatever it is they brought. Let children know if they are not using something it is okay for another child to use it. In addition if they are using it and it can be shared it is a great opportunity to demonstrate sharing behavior.
10. Last and most importantly, enjoy your time! Playgrounds can be magical! They are usually free and can be fun for hours. They are small oasis’s in big cities where children can be children and adults can watch fine motor, gross motor and social skills develop! On a nice day a playground can be one of the best spots in the world to be!