What Is Proper Playground Etiquette?

Do you break the rules of the playground?

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #154

The other week, I posted on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook wall about an experience I had at the playground and when so many people commented, I knew I had the next topic for an article.

In my post I mentioned how a parent yelled at me when her kid bolted behind my daughter, who I was pushing on the swings, as if it were our fault that her son ran in front of mine.  We didn’t see the kid coming and my daughter was already in midswing, away from me. Still the parent thought I should have defied all laws of physics and used my super powers to stop my daughter from swinging. The child--or as we deemed him--“The Bolter” was not hurt, just a little scared… of his mother.

What Is Proper Playground Etiquette?

Even though, I passed this off as simply an annoyance, I started to notice some other inappropriate playground behavior around me. The behavior was so bad, in fact, that Axl Rose’s song “Welcome To the Jungle” started playing in my head.

So, in this article, I will give you my top three tips on how to have proper playground etiquette. This is by no means the end all be all, so please drop me a line on my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.

Playground Etiquette Tip #1:  Keep An Eye On Your Children

My first tip dives right into the nastiest habit of all--parents not watching their children. I am not talking about being overbearing and not allowing your children to play free and have fun. The issue here is when parents just drop their kids off and head for the nearest bench to socialize or use their BlackBerryies. 

As a parent I can tell you it’s great to find parents at the playground who I can talk to while our kids play, but that doesn’t mean we sit and talk and forget about our kids. It doesn’t take being a professional multitasker to be able to watch your child and talk to someone at the same time. When parents socialize and don’t watch their children, the child often ends up getting hurt—or ends up hurting your child.

If you ever witness a rude parent not watching their child, unfortunately there is only so much you can do. You should never, ever touch or reprimand another child. However, when you do see another child behaving badly, you should alert the parent. And if you see another person’s child doing something dangerous, kindly and gently tell the parent you think their child might need a hand on the playground. Tell them you wish you could (even though you don’t) help their kid, but you have to watch your own kid. Gasp, the thought!

Tip #2:  Obey the Age Limit

Every playground has a suggested age limit, which often times goes ignored—and this is one area that drives me nuts the most. For starters, bringing older kids into a playground that’s specifically for younger kids is a sure way to have kids get hurt.