Teaching Them Playground Etiquette

By Diane Hernandez

At 6 years of age, I ventured onto a cold school playground in Hartford, Connecticut. The mulch was red underneath my small Puma shoes, and I stared at the lack of leaves in the oak trees. To be honest — I was scared. Everyone knew their way around the playground. I didn’t.

So, I decided to stick to myself. Alone, I balanced on a black plastic edge. The wind would pull me to the right — sometimes to the left. I learned my lesson that day as I unfortunately splat against the floor. A rowdy student disrupted my peace and quiet, throwing me to the ground while running.Earning my first badge of play that day — a throbbing, scarlet bump on my forehead — a teacher rushed me to the school nurse’s office.

It was clear that everyday rules didn’t apply in the wild west — or in this case, at a random elementary school in the north. Children shove, push, cry, scream, manipulate and cheat. Jennifer L. Scott defined etiquette as polite behavior in her book, “Connoisseur Kids.”

Today, we touch on playground etiquette using her tips. How does your child conduct themselves while sliding down blue plastic tubes or while swaying on a creaky, metallic swing? Here’s our guide to peace of mind while trying to not give some random kid a piece of your mind!

1) Communication

Scott’s lessons on communication
come in handy even on the playground. Communication, she explained in her book, is how individuals communicate to one another. The first step to doing so is speaking clearly, saying “please” and “thank you”!When your children communicate, they set up boundaries and advocate for themselves. This is especially important when taking turns on a slide or making friends while playing a game!

2) Thinking of Others First

Playgrounds are heated places of conflict. Who gets to swing next? Who stole
the toy? Why is that kid looking at me weird? All these questions arise when children start to get riled up. As a result, it’s important for kids to know how to empathize.Scott recommends parents teach children to use kind words and to think of what others are feeling. The solution to selfishness, she explains, is thoughtfulness. Children can practice thoughtfulness through reflecting on their day and thinking of good sportsman qualities, such as congratulating the other team.


3) Living Healthy

Playing is exercise believe it or not! Scott recommends children stretch before performing strenuous activities. This prevents muscle tears and helps them come into the playground warm and geared up! In addition, it helps children develop a relationship with their bodies early on — one that emphasizes respect and love.The playground is daunting! But you can prepare your children through teaching them the proper etiquette needed! This is the first step to self-advocacy and becoming a “Connoisseur Kid.” Good luck!


Related Articles:

The truth about ball pits and germs

Why are kids so competitive?