Playground Etiquette?

Yang Mommy

I’m actually laughing at myself as I write this; I mean really, is there such a thing as “playground etiquette?” Sure there are rules, like don’t run in front of the swings, but etiquette? I’m not sure.

See, here’s the thing. The other day we were at the playground. It was a gloriously sunny day and the place was busy, but not packed. I was helping my little girl navigate the stairs up to the slide and there were several older kids around us. I’d say they were about 7 yrs old or so.  Anyway, we were next in queue when one of these other kids moved in front of us. Her mom, who was down below and in full sight of what was going on, said, “Wait your turn.” But the child ignored her mom and proceeded to move past us and went down the slide along with her 2 friends/siblings.

For once, I was at a lost for words. I was amazed, actually. I think the mom did the right thing by saying something, but still, her child didn’t listen and cut in front of us. I suppose it’s one thing for a kid to cut in front of a younger child, but an adult too? And once the kids got down, their mom didn’t say  boo about what they’d done (and yes readers, she saw).

So what should I have done? Should I have reinforced their mom’s call and said “Yes, please wait your turn?” Should I have stepped up and pushed them aside so my tot could go? Should I have said, “You may go ahead of us this one time but next time, wait your turn?” Should I have said anything to the mother, or have thrown her “the look?”

Because this was the first time this has happened to us, I did nothing. Again, I was rather amazed. Perhaps it’s because this is my first child and I’m learning the playground ropes myself. But I’m curious, dear readers, what have you encountered on the playground and how have you handled it?


4 responses to this post.

  1. Hi, I’m a Mom of three now. One five year old girl and twins(a boy and girl) that are two. I have found that when it comes to kids that are older and bigger than my own, sometime they can be “over-eager” at the play ground and don’t listen to their parents. I have said on a few occations, “Exuse me, but I think your Mom told you not to do that.” Because then it looks like I’m reinforcing what the Mother has said, and hopefully I don’t get the other Mother mad at me, but you never know, sometimes it could backfire. Also sometimes kids will listen to another mother better than there own. So it not just their own mother harping on them, “Someone elts said something too, so maybe I better listen, and do what I’m told”.
    Hope that help a little?


    • Posted by yangmommy on May 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Lisa, I love your idea about reinforcing what another mom has already said; I’m storing that in my noggin for future reference. Since posting this, I’ve found my “inner mama bear” and I have nicely~~but firmly~~ reminded the older kids to wait their turn or not to push by, etc. I’m still learning the ropes myself about playground rules, let alone motherhood, LOL!
      Thanks so much for dropping by, too!


      • Posted by yinmama on May 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm

        Thanks Lisa for the great suggestion. Yang Mommy asked me to post my opinion about this but I explained to her that since I work most Saturdays my husband is the one who takes our daughter to the playground so I have nothing to go on. There was one incident where a boy who was about 2 years old hit our daughter because his mother had told him to wait his turn for the slide. I asked my husband what he did and he said he got mad but the little boy’s mother gave it to him and made him apologize to our daughter. That was acceptable to me because we really can’t control our children sometimes but we can react and try to teach them the right thing to do.

  2. Hi ladies,
    There’s pretty much nothing that annoys me more than a parent who tells their kid to do something and then doesn’t follow up when the kid fails to obey. Because they’re the same people who whine and complain that their kids just won’t listen to them. But I’m off topic. I have a bunch of tough, mentor moms who I now attempt to emulate in these playground situations. And everywhere, frankly. I figure, I’m an adult, and it’s my societal duty to help children learn how to behave appropriately. So yes, I’m the meanie who reminds teenagers to watch their language in front of young children. And I’m the hard ass who shuts down bigger kids on the playground. But I’m with Lisa — if the parents have said something, back them up. If the parents are there and not doing a thing, I guess they also don’t mind if you take over their job.


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