Park Etiquette

I spend most of my time in parks. I have a 2.5 year old and a 3.5 year old. I moved from a park in a very deprived part of London to a rather affluent Crouch End one.  I don’t really know anyone in the park so I can make observations in between pushing the swings and stopping Loretta chasing girls with sticks and John John running off into the bushes on his own to pee!

I find the more middle class park the most unfriendly perhaps because there is no sandpit to sit around and the kids seem more aggressive, they run more freely ready to bash other kids while their parents from the nearby school sit around in tight circles gossiping pretending not to see.

I have had all sorts of things happen to me whilst in the park from an alcoholic locking all the parents in the park with the kids in and throwing the key in bush to an altercation with a mum from the local estate who’s child kept hitting Loretta  and running off with her pram, when I took the toy that was causing the problem away a whole group of them turned up bad mouthing me! All sorts really!

Here is my list of do’s and don’t, perhaps you can add more?

1. when coming into the park close the gate. The amount of parents I have seen doing this is infuriating. I usually close it straight away. The last park was next to a road and Loretta ran out once into it! Parents do this more so with babies and older kids. I once closed it so much that in the end I just shouted “please can you close the gate!” instead of getting up and was perhaps a bit rude to one young mum of a baby. I got chatting to the lovely gentle woman with her baby on a swing and found out she was the features editor for the Independent magazine! Just goes to show you should be nice to all people.

2. When you are pushing your kids on the swing and people are waiting for their go, don’t stay on for ages ie more than 5 mins even if you child insists on staying. I recently saw two women swinging their kids gassing away oblivious to the begging eyes of parents around them. Having said this if you are waiting let the parent swinging the child have time to do so.

Something that made me write this tonight was when I was in the park this evening the only person just putting Loretta and John onto the swings, squashing their bodies in and their gangly legs when a mother with her baby in a pram walked into the park and quickly over and stood right next to me staring at me, just as I had put the kids in! WEIRD.

I said nicely at least I thought I did “I’ve just put them in (she saw!) and I’m going to be a few minutes”. Instead of replying she marched off in a huff and kept looking over! I thought maybe I have blood running down my face or something – very odd. When one of the swings became free she put her kid in and ignored my smiles and my noisy kids. All very strange!

3. When in  a sandpit share your buckets and spades and most kids won’t have them and there will be a time when you turn up with out your and your kids will grab a spade and start digging immediately in a frenzy.  Even if they are not playing with them don’t tidy them take them when you are going home.

4. Get your kid a scooter, they will want everyone elses no matter how young they are. That goes for prams and bikes. Loretta and John have them and a little girl kept going to play with Lorettas the other day, it is fairly new and she is very possessive about it as any two-year old would be. Her bearded hippy father kept saying annoyingly every time she came over to collect her pram ” hey it’s the scooter police, hey it’s the scooter police” as if my child was creating the problem! He was so irritating!

5. Babies on slides come first, always grab your 1/2/3-year-old off as the will charge down, let the slow baby and it’s over-anxious parents go first!

6. If your kids hits someone tell them to say sorry and acknowledge the other parent. Loretta was smacked by a much older boy the other day and her mother was too busy in a chat to tell him off, in fact she pretended she didn’t see!

7. Some parents care if their kids get dirty so don’t let your child rub a dirty stick on them or run after them with a dirty stick! I don’t mind my kids looking like savages but I am in a minority.

Think that is about it, have you got anymore? And don’t forget to CLOSE THAT GATE!


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