Playground Etiquette
  • LiquidPeppermintLiquidPeppermint
    Posts: 841Member
    It's starting to get warm again (at least here--and by "warm," I mean, over 40 degrees), and DD2 and I have started going to the park again this week.  Sitting there the past few days, I've wondered how other mommies feel about certain playground issues.

    What would you do in these scenarios (which have all happened to me in the past year):

    1.  You're pushing your 2 year old on the toddler swings.  Another 2 year old whose parents are watching but out of earshot asks you to lift him into one of the swings and push him.  Do you do it?  Do you ignore him? Do you signal to the parents to ask if it's okay? 

    2.  Your child has a little trouble navigating the equipment.  The park we go to is geared to toddlers under 5.  But at 1.5, of course my daughter had a little trouble climbing the stairs to get up to the slide.  Another child *tries* to help, but you are afraid that this four-year-old will actually end up putting your kid over the side.  The other child's parents are uninterested in what she's doing and aren't stopping her.  Do you ask her to stop?  And if you do, and she doesn't, what then?

    3.  You spot a 2-3 year old toddler.  She appears to be alone.  No parents on the playground claim her, though there may be a parent in a vehicle.  She is dressed ONLY in a diaper with disheveled hair and a drippy boogerface.  It is 98 degrees out, and she has been trying to engage your toddler in play.  She is nonverbal and will not indicate whether mama, daddy, grandma, or another adult is responsible for her.  Do you call the police? Blow her nose?


    4.  A bigger kid is bullying your 2 year old.  Shoving her.  She's holding her own but doesn't push back.  Do you stop the bigger kid? Tell your kid to hit back? Just remove her from the situation?

    5.  You see another mother with a 2 year old and a (maybe) 8 month old.  She has made several phone calls to different people, and she's talking loudly enough that you realize that she left the house without formula for the baby, food for the older child, diapers, her purse, or her house keys.  It's a bit after noon, and her husband won't be home until 6 to let them back in the house.  Do you offer to bring her to your house?  Offer your own diapers and snacks?  Take her and the kids out to lunch? 
  • TorturedbyTWINSTorturedbyTWINS
    Posts: 1,543Member

    1. I had the same situation, I told the toddler to go ask Mommy to swing.  I'm not about to pick up or push an unknown kid in a swing.  People are way too sue happy in this country, what if she fell?  It sucks, but it's true.

    2. You walk the playground and climb it with your child.  Give the helper a big friendly "Thank you, but I'm gonna help him/her play today" 

    3. I would ask other parents kinda loud... is this your baby?  Anyone know who's baby this is???  Then if there's no response after intense questions and thorough looking, wipe nose, call cops. Comfort kid. 

    4. Remove bully from on top of your kid, say "That's not very nice!  Can you apologize?"  Then bring it to the attention of their parents if it happens once more.  If nothing else, remove your kid from the situation.  Don't ever tell your child to hit another one (at this age... I suppose older kids may have to hit for their own protection one day)

    5.  Suspicious.  Give her a diaper and some wipes, maybe some kid snacks and walk away.  Strangers in your house or even car can seem a little risky.  Then again, it depends on the woman and kids.  To me this is all about the "vibe" I get from her.  Do I feel she is just having the shittiest day ever and she is sucking at being a mom today, but is otherwise a potential friend and great mom?  I'll take her home.  Does she strike me as someone who does this often and may be preying upon helpers?  Ignore it. 

    These are all responses from my "gut".  I have no idea what's right or wrong according to playground rules.  I make shit up as I go.  The only one I am unsure of is the toddler wanting a push in the swing or up to swing.  I love kids and would love to just help them out, but I would hate to get attacked by some parent freaking out that I'm touching their kid.  UGH, the playground drama! 

  • irishlassirishlass
    Posts: 7,057Member
    1. Depends on the kid. Usually, ill check to see what parent they came from. If the parent has another kid, ill push em.

    2. Ill let the big kid play a while, and hover like a helicopter, then tell the big kid that its time for me and my kid to move on, we will see them another day.

    3. Try as much as possible to talk to them. Find out if they have an adult with them, then clean them up, give them a snack from my bag and a cuddle, and either send them with the adult, or call the police.

    4. I'm a big ass momma bear. Touch my boy and you WILL get a rolicking. The child will apologise, and mean it, or I will accidentally trip them later.

    5. Depends on the mother. In my city, everyone knows everyone, at least by association, so I would suss her pretty quick. Regardless I would do something to help, probably give her nappies and snacks and have a chat.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
  • irishlassirishlass
    Posts: 7,057Member
    What did you do!?
    "Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
  • irishlassirishlass
    Posts: 7,057Member
    Oh also these depend on what I am doing, if I have my boy, or the twins, or my boy and the girl I mind, or what my comitments for the day are etc.
    "Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." - Dr. Seuss
  • LiquidPeppermintLiquidPeppermint
    Posts: 841Member
    I have sort of a strange situation here.  I largely would answer the same, but my area is kid/family friendly in a weird way.  A way that sort of excludes me.  I live on the edge of an ENORMOUS Native American reservation.  They are family-oriented in that they live in large, almost communal families where everyone watches the kids.  Many times, I've seen people not related just asked to watch a child while someone runs to the car.  At the same time, these kids are allowed to run wild a little bit.  They are largely unable to speak until age four or so and sometimes (at least to me) appear to be a little neglected.  They actually EXPECT other people to push their kids on swings, etc, and will get angry at the biligaana (white person) who doesn't do it.

    I am always very reticent to touch another person's child, because I know I don't want strangers touching MY child.  In the case of number three, though, I felt (after asking every single person on the playground and in the cars in front of the playground and receiving no taker on the little girl) that it was necessary to touch another person's child, just to blow her nose and comfort her, after I had called the police to report an apparently abandoned toddler.  The moment I did this, the girl's nana came running out of a house a block away telling me to leave her baby alone.  I did, and I waited to talk to the police, now that I knew where the lady lived who was letting a 2 year old go to the park basically unsupervised. 

    As for the mama with two kids and no way into her house, that happened to me today.  She had a vehicle and was able to go places.  I gave her two diapers, a pack of travel wipes, and offered to take her and the kids to lunch at McDonald's or to Big Bounce (a place with a bunch of bouncy house things).  She declined and said that she would just walk around Wal-Mart until her husband got off work.  I think she was exaggerating on the phone about not having formula for the baby. 

    For the kid that was helping my daughter, it was up in the top of the McDonald's play place, where I couldn't go.  I finally just asked the girl to stop helping my daughter up because she couldn't get back down by herself.  Fortunately, when she didn't comply, her mom called her down. 

    The bullying thing is a hard one for me, too.  My daughter is very, very shy around other kids, but I want her to become more social and able to handle herself in different situations.  I hope it's not bad parenting, but I will let another kid push mine around a little bit, if it makes her engage and learn to defend herself.  But only a LITTLE bit. 


  • WinginItWinginIt
    Posts: 242Member
    1.  When this happened to me, I told him "Make sure it's okay with mommy, first!"  Then when he went over and asked I just smiled and waved.  She just shouted over "I don't mind if you don't!"  
    I would want someone to do the same for me, and I would probably answer the same as long as she/he already has a kid that doesn't look kidnapped :)  

    2.  I would just thank them for their help and see if I can get both of them into something a little less concussiony.   

    3.  Wiper her down, let her play, then start asking around if no one comes by and claims her.  Then, cops.  My first reaction was cops, but I know kids wander, so I'd give a little leeway.  Not much, but enough to count.  


    4.  I got in a lot of trouble with the kids mom over this, but I'm standing by it, I told a bully kid that no one would ever like him if he acted like that, because no one wants to be friends with a jerk.  

    5.  I have definitely wandered out of the house unprepared.  As long as she doesn't start to get excessive, I'll share my baby fixins.  She'd be screwed on the formula, but I'd do what I could for her.  
  • somanyboysandmesomanyboysandme
    Posts: 361Member
    1. I would signal to the parents and help him up there if they agreed
    2. Harder question. I would say something along the lines of "thanks, but I know you came to play so let me help her so you can." If she wouldn't stop I would try to direct my child to some other area to play in for a while while cussing her parents in my head.
    3. No parents around at the park?? Obviously they want you to call the police so DFCS can help them improve their parenting skills. Wipe the nose and try to keep them comfortable until the cops arrive.
    4. I've sortof had this issue before. I have no problem telling someone else's child to stop their bullshit. Obviously their parents need a little assistance in teaching them how to behave around smaller kids. I would not tell my child to hit them. If the little heathen continued to bully I would find whoever was responsible for him and take it up with them.
    5. I'd offer up whatever I could share with her. I've been that mom who forgot to bring a diaper and it sucks.