1. The playground is a great place to go with a babysitter; however, the playground is not a babysitter. On a nice day, you are sure to run into many other moms, dads and nannies; don't get so involved in your conversation that you forget to keep a close eye on your children. This is obvious for little ones, but just as important for older children. Older children may be able to climb and run without help, but make sure they stay safe and avoid areas where they may "run over" the smaller playground visitors.
2. The playground is not an office. The playground shouldn't 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 actively engaging with them.
3. Pay attention to areas designated specifically for bigger and smaller children, especially for safety reasons. Bigger children play faster, while smaller children don't always look where they are going, get in the way causing tripping, falling, collisions and many "boo-boos"that can easily be avoided.
4. No matter what your parenting style, hitting, kicking, screaming, name-calling, biting, pushing and throwing sand/woodchips should not be tolerated. When these behaviors occurs, intervention by an adult need to be immediate. At times, it is tempting to let children "work it out on their own", however, a public playground with other people's children is not the time or place.
5. Please address your own child's behavior. It is not your job to monitor other children, nor another caretaker's job to monitor your children. If you catch something that another parent missed, you may step in to solve any minor problems, but don't reprimand someone else's child. You should make the child's caregiver aware of the issue.
6. Playgrounds are a great place to be creative and jump around in ways you can't do at home!
7. 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. for future play dates, parent groups or other activities.
8. 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. Don't litter, take all the sand out of the box, swing chains around the poles or engage in any other activity that may harm equipment and/or make the grounds less appealing.
9. Playgrounds are great places to learn the art of "turn taking". Please be courteous and aware. If you see a line for the swings or any other piece of equipment, monitor how long your child takes their turn and then give another child a chance. Remind your child that they can always get back in line for another turn.
10. Be prepared to share. If you bring your own equipment to the playground, such asscooters, sidewalk chalk, sand toys, and balls, they make their way into these spaces all the time. Make sure that your child understands that if other children see it, they might want to play with it as well and it is okay to share. This can be a great opportunity to demonstrate "sharing".
Enjoy your time! Playgrounds can be magical! They are usually free and can be fun for hours. They are a small oasis 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 is one of the best spots to be in the world!