Thursday, October 28, 2010

Proper Playground Etiquette

As a stay at home mom with a Toddler, more often than not I find myself at the playground.  And why not?!  It's a great place for the tots to get some exercise and also ( and perhaps more importantly ) a chance for them to practice their budding social skills. However, for me, it's not always fun and games at the park.  While my little one is running around and having a ball, I am chasing after her, making sure she is safe and also reminding her of certain rules....

For instance -

You need to use the stairs!  Just because you saw some big kids climbing up the slide doesn't mean you have to copy them.  For you, the slide is a way to go DOWN not UP.

Wait your turn.  I know you are faster than some of the other kids, but just because it takes you half the time to get up the stairs, does not mean you get to go down the slide twice as often.  Patience is a virtue...granted not one most two year olds possess, but it's a virtue none the less.

DO NOT run out in front of other children while they are swinging.  As far away as they may seem at certain times, they will be close enough to take you out in one swift motion in a matter of seconds.

Oh yes, and let's not forget to not pick up everyone that is smaller than you.  They may look little and cute, but honey so do you. That half an inch you got over them is not enough to pick them up and carry them around like your new favorite dolly. Also, they tend to cry when you try to....

That's the general routine.  Add to that the small attempts I make to socialize with other moms in between maneuvering my daughter and I am busy, busy, busy.  It also doesn't help my stress level that my kid tends to lean towards children that are older than her.  For some reason children her own age or younger just don't hold her interest for very long.  In general I wouldn't have a problem with this, except of course, for the fact that at 2 1/2 she is not as coordinated as a 4 or 5 year old is.  Unfortunately, that slows her down about as much as it speeds my heart rate up. So, I watch and try not to hover as she tears through the place, running and jumping and climbing just as fast as her two little feet will carry her.

On occasion I have also found that the older children she's so fond of, also tend to be a bit controlling, sometimes even bully-ish.  That has been challenging for the both of us.  She gets confused and doesn't understand why someone is being mean and I get hurt and wonder what I should be teaching my baby.  One day a little boy took her stuffed animal ( it goes everywhere she goes) and held it hostage.  When she came to me, I told her to say please and ask for it back. When that didn't work, I went to get it from him myself.  He proceeded to hurl her little toy up into the air and across the park.  My daughter was in tears and I wanted to shove that little snot into the ground...but I can't teach my kid that.  Thankfully, his mother was right there and once aware of the situation, handled it immediately. But, what do I do in the future?  What if the next bully has a mom who is completely oblivious?  What if the next time, I'm not even there and she's at preschool? I want to teach her to be strong and to defend herself, but how do I do that without turning her into a bully as well?  For now I guess I will settle for working on her communication skills.  If talking to the bully doesn't work, at least she can come and talk to me or a teacher and then it will be up to a grown up to handle things...and if need be - shove someone into the ground.

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