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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 Rules for the Playground: For Parents

1. Remember that you are here for the kids to play. Fussing at them about getting dirty is pretty silly, given where you brought them. If you think it's the end of the world for them to get a little dirty in whatever you brought them to the park in, you either need to chill out or leave the park and come back another day, in another outfit.

2. If it's possible for a child to climb up on something and jump off, he will probably attempt it(this one might be just for boy moms, I'm not sure). So, keep your eye out....even if you decide you will let him try, just don't be surprised that it is attempted.

3. If you bring snacks and drinks to the playground, do not leave them lying around after your child wonders off to play again. A random toddler will view an open juice box and cookies sitting out on a picnic table as an open invitation for his own personal snack time. Do the other mamas a favor and put all of that away so that they don't have to spend all their time keeping their children away from the open snacks.

4. If you must bring your dog to the playground, that dog is your responsibility. It is not okay to tie said dog to one of the few park benches available and then go to the other side of the playground. Someone might want to actually be able to sit down. And now you've forced other moms to be the ones to stand guard over your dog to keep their children from playing with him.

5. It is expected that if you are near a child who is about to fall you should step in and catch them instead of letting them tumble to the ground at your feet. HOWEVER, that's not the rule here. The rule here is that if you see a mom standing near her child and SHE is not concerned enough to step in to stop her child from doing whatever he is doing, then you shouldn't either. Maybe you wouldn't let your 2 year-old climb up the rock wall, but maybe the 2 year-old in question is perfectly capable of this. If mom is within catching distance, it is not your problem.

6. No comments about other people's children. Unless they actually do something to harm yours, remember that no child is perfect. Also remember that they are there to play, so if you are loudly complaining about a child making noise or running around...um, they're outside at a playground- they need to get that all out somewhere.

7. Yes, I know it's tempting to talk on your phone, check your blog comments, or even read a book when you are on the playground- especially if it is a fenced-in playground and you are sitting right beside the only exit...but remember that you do need to actually watch your kids. That also helps with the snide comments about your kids mentioned in #6. But, if you aren't paying attention to your kids, you should expect snide comments about you.

8. Do not bring sick children to the playground. They might be driving you crazy at home, but that is no excuse for bringing them out to share their germs.

9. Be nice to the other mamas. If you expect your kids to play nice, you better play nice, too. Otherwise, we might call you a motherbitch.

10. Just like kids don't follow all the rules all the time....us mamas probably won't either. And sometimes, having your children run around a fenced-in area is such a relief that we forget about everything else.



Blogger Cristina said...

I love your rules. All common sense, but it's amazing how much common sense some lack. I actually once heard a mom tell her kid not to be so loud because he was being too loud even for the trees, LOL the kid was NOT being that loud and I seriously chuckled on the inside. Like you said, if you can't let it out on the playground, where can you?

November 23, 2010 at 7:18 AM  
Blogger Oka said...

I'd like to add, don't expect all other children to walk on egg shells because you decided to bring your one year old toddler to the playground during the busiest time of the day. If you must bring them to play on the equipment, bring them when there are less kids at the playground. The other kids are there to play.

I do wish parents would use more common sense when bringing kids to the playgrounds. I grew up in a situation where we had a huge playground without direct adult supervision and I swear things went so much smoother then than they do now with all the "mommies" at the park.

November 23, 2010 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great rules! Though the parents that frequent the playgrounds in my area are rather different in that they are never more than 2 feet away from their kids at any given time. Personally, I like to watch from afar and make sure my kid is playing nice but I don't want to guide her every step at the playground, and some of the other parents look at me like I'm the most detached parent in the world. Isn't the playground supposed to be a fun/happy place?

November 23, 2010 at 7:45 AM  
Blogger jules said...

Can we get these posted at every playground?

November 23, 2010 at 7:53 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Great rules/advice. Uptight moms drive me nuts!

November 23, 2010 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger KristinFilut said...

Hahaha! I can't stand uptight motherbitches!

November 23, 2010 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Kmama said...

Yeah, we pretty much don't go to the playgrounds. Everyone else pisses me off too much and my boys pick up bad habits.

My biggest playground pet peeve is when kids are running UP the slide while other kids are trying to go down. I WILL say something to the kids in that situation.

November 23, 2010 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Evonne said...

I may print this out and take it to every playground I go to.

With the playgrounds we go to, parents either ignore their kids or they hover and don't let their kids try to climb stuff. That second group are the ones who give the evil eye to parents that let their kids climb.

November 23, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Di said...

Wait I'm not the only one that goes crazy at the way the mom's act at the playground? Thank goodness. I also love it when the mom's get upset that my husband is out there running around and actually playing with his son! You know - parenting!

November 23, 2010 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger MommyLovesStilettos said...

I love them all but my fave is #9!!

November 23, 2010 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Masala Chica said...

I never want to be accused of being a motherbitch after the park. I will adhere to all these rules. Thanks for the primer, Shell . . . ;)

(And yes - most of these are common sense but my guess is that you have seen some recent idiocy which has lead you to create this primer)

November 23, 2010 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Good rules ... I'll have to keep these in mind as our playground days are quickly approaching!

Although, as a mom of an almost-one-year-old, I might add that you could give us new, inexperienced, overprotective mamas a break. We need a couple of times to get our feet wet before we let go of being so uptight. I promise, the first time my toddler heads for some super tall contraption, I will most likely suffer a small stroke.

November 23, 2010 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

you said it all!

November 23, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger BNM said...

soooo true! you said it perfectly

November 23, 2010 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

As a former retail manager can I point out that several of these (except the ones about the kids running around and letting energy out) can be applied to shopping trips? Please moms, I beg of you....

November 23, 2010 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I want to post these at our playground. Great list.

November 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So very true. Everyone of them! Although, I have been guilty of talking on my phone. However, it was while my hubby was away with work. Still bad I know.


November 23, 2010 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger MommaKiss said...

dogs? not allowed. i'm sorry - but some kids just freak out over dogs, and unless you're at a dog park - don't bring the thing (i'm a dog love and dog owner - it's just common courtesy).I know plenty of girls who are just as rough as my boys on the playground. lil monsters love to jump no matter the gender :p

November 23, 2010 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

My sister brought her daughter to the playground in flip flops and then spent the whole time yelling, "don't run" at her.

Appropriate footwear should be a rule, perhaps a little mention in the dirty clothes bit?

November 23, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Macey said...

Number 4 makes me so mad! And number 9. I prefer to ignore all other parents unless they talk to me. But I've seen women actually talking ABOUT other parents and it ticks me off.

November 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM  
Anonymous reagan said...

Great advice. I can't stand when caregivers take kids to the park and then don't watch them as they throw rocks at my kids or walk in front of them while they swing.

One time my daughter was swinging, a toddler walked in front of her, and before I could grab the swing, the toddler got hit. The toddler's mom yelled at MY kid. I pretty much freaked out. If she was texting she could have stepped in. I haven't seen that lady at the park since. :)

Oh, and climbing is for all genders :)

November 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

You probably wouldn't like me at a play ground. I am always the one reading, tweeting or just day dreaming. Anything but watching the kids. ;)

November 23, 2010 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I need to copy and paste this to my blog so people in my area can read it! I can relate to all of these!!!

November 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Las Vegas Mama said...

Good advice! I still reserve the right to text while watching them tho!

November 23, 2010 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Go Mommy said...

They should make a sign for the playground for parent rules!

November 23, 2010 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Renegades said...

LOL to funny of a post. But so much truth to it.

November 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Emmy said...

Oh great rules! There was a group of moms that came to the park and were discussing some school fund raiser or something and were not watching their kids at all! They were not watching when their kids began acting like a gang and attacking the other kids, they also did not notice their kids right by the fence and the way out until one of them ran across the street. Some moms are just stupid.

November 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

my complaint about moms and parks is the same as the mall playlands...too many moms use it as a "babysitter" and think they don't need to watch their kids. and those kids who aren't watched usually are also the kids who don't play nice with others at the park. or shove. or practically trample the younger kids. Grrr...

November 23, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Hutch said...

This should be posted and/or handed out at parks everywhere!

November 23, 2010 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Great rules, Shell. You know I'm a fan of 5...Lots of idiot moms out there not paying attention to the child teetering on the side of bridge with no walls to contain them. :)

Have you been by to see our new design? Can't wait to hear what you think.

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

November 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Ma What's 4 dinner said...

Great rules, Shell. You know I'm a fan of 5...Lots of idiot moms out there not paying attention to the child teetering on the side of bridge with no walls to contain them. :)

Have you been by to see our new design? Can't wait to hear what you think.

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

November 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Kir said...

what a great list....I can't get over the fact that people actually have to have someone tell them these "Common sense" things. WHOA :)

November 23, 2010 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I may print these rules out & randomly leave them at parks we frequent.

I love the 1st rule. LET THEM GET DIRTY I say! Makes bath time that much more fun. :)

November 23, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Wow, you covered that all pretty well. Nothing is worse though then those indoor playgrounds at the mall that say "if you're taller than X you can't play in here" and then parents let their 10 year olds play in a 2-5 year old play area. Grrrr!

November 23, 2010 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What about when your kid is bullying another kid, do something about it, don't just sit there and watch while the parent of the kid BEING bullied scolds your child! .. that's one of my pet peeves, haha.. I don't like to have to scold other people's children; the parent should be doing that!!

November 23, 2010 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

What do you mean I need to watch my kids?...well, my kids are little bit older, but back in the day, it was perfectly acceptable to neglect...ummm...I mean talk on the phone while the kids were pushing each over OFF the play structure. It's character building...sure, they may break a bone or two, but in the scheme of things, it's quickly forgotten!...Of course I'm kidding Shell!
Great post as always! I'm with you on the one about letting mothers decide what is appropriate for their child to do at the park.

November 23, 2010 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I love #5 b/c there are a lot of things that my son can do that people would think were crazy (including Husband). On the other hand, my daughter isn't quite there (even though they're twins).

Sometimes it's so hard to know which kids belong to which adults though! I wish we could color code everyone...not only would that be practical, but it would also be pretty!

November 23, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Katie Hurley, LCSW said...

Great rules...if we aren't watching our kids, who is?!!


November 23, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger TLF said...

amen!! Love this!

November 23, 2010 at 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted on FB once that people shouldn't bring their sick kids to the nursery at church. One of my friends said, "Yes they should! It'll help your kid have a better immune system! They can't live in a bubble!" OK. Then I'll let YOU chase him down and wipe his nose from September to March. Not sick is always better than sick!

November 23, 2010 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...


November 23, 2010 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Emilie Glyn said...

Love this list. All of these are appropriate, and common sense, but who has that these days?! Can I add? Mind your own dang biz! I once had a Mom (I use this term loosely) say to me (mother of 2 crazy boys) "wow, your kids are active. are they allowed soft drinks?" Ack! I replied "nope, we skip the small stuff and mainline meth before we hit the park". Served her right. Ask a stupid question...

November 23, 2010 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I'm soooo with you on the snacks and sick things!

November 23, 2010 at 6:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I only go to the playground at the church & still have to deal with this kind of stuff!

November 23, 2010 at 6:46 PM  
Anonymous SharleneT said...

Excellent rules. Common sense? Nah, it's not really as common as the name implies... As a retailer, let me add: do NOT leave your child in a boutique shop while you go shopping in the mall! The shop owner is not a babysitter. This used to happen to me in my shop at least two or three times a week. Then, I started calling the police about child abandonment and we'd BOTH be waiting for mommy to return... May seem heavy-handed but shop personnel are there to serve customers and toddlers can get taken in a flash... too much responsibility to put on anyone...

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and come visit when you can...

November 23, 2010 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Mimi N said...

Ugh, I agree. Watch your bratty child and if they are being bullies or bratty, YOU need to step in because if you don't I will be saying something to your child. YES, I will absolutely give you a chance to parent you're child, but if you don't get off your...butt...I'll be glad to take care of things.

At my DD's tennis banquet there were 3 brothers sitting @ a table watching the awards. Littlest bro (5yo?)was totally annoying big brother and being ANNOYING! Sister at the table behind them tried 2 get him to stop and brother kept asking him to stop. They were in my line of site. I kept looking around for a parent to do SOMETHING! I finally put my hand on his arm and told him to STOP! The rest of the night the boys kept looking at me to see if I was watching. Well of course I was, I wanted to watch the ceremony! All the while I'm looking for parents checking on these boys...NADA! I had to shake my head at him a number of times. UGH!

Next day my BFF told me the mom was glaring at me! WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Get off your butt (1 hr of the awards) and parent your obnoxious child! I was so irritated!

November 23, 2010 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger natalee said...

Amen Sister!!!!!!I love these rules.. im soo printing them out and handing them out as people enter my usual playground..lol

November 23, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
Anonymous Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Man, I'm glad I just take my friends to the playground, this sounds quite involved!

November 23, 2010 at 8:18 PM  
Blogger Foursons said...

Do you have pictures to go along with your rules? I think I may need pictures. You know, 'cause it'd just be plain funny but also 'cause yeah, I just want the laugh.

November 23, 2010 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Honey B. said...

Seriously, its ridiculous that you should have to actually SAY any of it...lol

November 23, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Michelle @Flying Giggles said...

Love the rules. We should all print them out and post them at parks everywhere!

November 24, 2010 at 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sums it up pretty well.

Speaking of snacks, do bring them. No, I didn't bring enough for your child. No, he can't have some. The one you see sitting there, that no one is eating, is for me to eat later in the dark, not so your overfed, under-parented offspring can scavenge for his enjoyment. Make him go play.

November 24, 2010 at 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Jennie @ Modern Mamaz said...

A motherbitch. I am so totally going to steal that. I already have the perfect person to nickname.

November 24, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Babes Mami said...

I love the rules!

November 24, 2010 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I really don't like it when one mom tries to tell another she's doing something wrong.

I mean, if the kid is on fire and mom is sipping her latte, that's one thing.

If the kid is a master at the monkey bars even though your kid falls down a lot, let that kid make the monkey bars his bitch!

November 25, 2010 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Goodnight moon said...

I absolutely LOVED this post!!!!! you hit ALL the topics of playground rules! I think you should print this off and put it on the pole at the playgrounds! Seriously!!!!! Awesome job! Have I mentioned that I love you! There...I said it out loud!

November 27, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Awesome write. As for jumping... ummm guilty.. My son is four and has autism. Another little girl got her foot stuck and as I picked her up to bring her to her mom my son, who has no fear, decided to jump four feet off the playground equipment. Head first!!!! He fractured his nose, but he couldn't tell me that. I only turned my back for a second but grr....

November 30, 2010 at 10:02 AM  

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