Posted in Parenting Culture

Parent playground etiquette

While at the mall today I let my little girl who is 20 months play on the playground there. There were other kids some of which were a little older (7-9 yrs old). Eventually the older ones started playing tag, causing them to run, jump off the equipment, & so forth to avoid being "it". Several times they caused my daughter to stumble. One child (who looked to be the oldest of the group) ran straight into her, knocked her down hard and the one chasing him almost stepped on her. Neither stopped and the game continued. With the exception of one parent nothing was said to any of the older ones to watch out for the smaller kids. Be aware of their surroundings or to apologize to those who were knocked down, kicked, or almost landed on. There were plenty of younger ones other than just my daughter. I really wanted to say something to the older kids. Just simply and politely ask that they be more careful. Am I out of line or over reacting? Should I have said something?

  • Elle
    Jan 01

    Ooh I personally struggle with this dynamic. I always hope Ill be strong and courageous, diplomatic and savvy... (bc who else do our little ones have? They depend on us! And also, they watch and emulate how we deal with different social dynamics).... I guess two things can help: 1) having some preprepared responses and 2) being OK with potentially accidentally seeming ruder than your ideal reply (if you'd had more time to process). Next time, you could go over to the parents and say something to the effect of, "hey there, see that little girl over there? That's my daughter. I just saw her get knocked over by the bigger kids, *by accident.* I'd like her to be able to play safely. Could you please let your kiddo know to give the baby some more room? " Aaand... If they don't comply (and ideally apologize to you ask well...), that would be crazy... And also well then they're a POS. I'd remind them, unamused and sternly, that " I intentionally didnt adress their kid because it's best to address the parent. Don't knock over my kid, she's a baby!" And if they still don't comply, then you're totally in the right to yell over to their kid and tell them to give the baby space. "Hey kids! No running near the baby! You just knocked her over. Cmon, you know better. Go back over there and help her up."

  • Hunter
    Jan 26

    I ALWAYS speak up. Safety matters more to me than potential conflict or societal norms. I use phrases like “Let’s all be careful with little ones around.” “Hi friends! Do you mind watching out for her (pointing to toddler) she’s not quite ready to balance like the big kids!” Usually I get across with a cheerful tone & simple phrases... other times, I say “excuse me, you just pushed my daughter. I would appreciate it if you did not do that again.” And if I see a kid who needs their adult for behavior modification or anything else I say “Hi friend, will you point to your grown up please?”