Some of the best childhood memories are made at the playground. It’s a time to burn off energy, play with other children, explore, exercise and just have fun! Here are some tips for taking your child to the playground.
1: Keep a first aid kit in your car.
Statistically, children are more likely to get hurt at the playground. Although city officials try to ensure that playground equipment is safe, there is is still the risk of injuries. I highly recommend keeping a first aid kit in your car. If you child ever falls and scrapes his knee, you’ll be grateful you have it around. You can also be a good Samaritan and have it available if another child gets injured.
2. Wear sunscreen.
Don’t forget the sunscreen! It’s best to apply it on your children before you leave for the playground, or in the car just after your arrive. Not only can sunburn make your child grumpy and grouchy, it is not healthy. Just one blistering sunburn can double your child’s risk for skin cancer (melanoma) later in life. For more information, visit www.skincancer.org.
3. Bring water or juice.
Vigorous playground activity, and exposure to the sun will make your child thirsty. It’s important for children to stay well hydrated. I recommend bringing a sippy cup or water bottle. It’s always a great way to encourage your child to take a break. Also, if they do not want to leave, and resist it, they might be more likely to go home if they know they will get some water or juice.
4. Encourage your child to play appropriately with other children.
In order to keep a happy environment for all, please monitor your child’s behavior. If you see him/her do something wrong (such as hit another child), please discipline him/her and redirect the child elsewhere. If you child seems to have more of a difficulty playing with other children, perhaps its time to take a temporary break from social interaction. You might only visit the playground when there is no one there, such as very early in the morning. Or try to stake out playgrounds that are less frequently visited. Try again later, and closely monitor for inappropriate behavior. In some cases you might need to leave if thing child is not behaving well.
5. Bring and use hand sanitizer.
This one is optional, but can lower your child’s risk of catching an illness such as hand, foot and mouth disease. After (and perhaps during) play time, apply some hand sanitizer to your child’s hands and lower arms. Also, as a general rule, try not to take your child to the playground if he or she is sick. It is also a great idea to bring wipes.
6. Always bring your cell phone, if possible.
If you have a cell phone, be sure to bring it. This is for the safety of your children and yourself. Also, if there is a serious injury you will be able to reach 911 much sooner. But, for you child’s sake, don’t talk on your cell the entire time while they play! Play with them, don’t just be on the sidelines the entire time.
7. Don’t forget your camera!
The playground is a fantastic opportunity for photos. Be sure to take your camera. The candid snapshots will look cute on the fridge. Also, if they are playing with friends they know, this is a great time to get photos of the kids together. Don’t forget to share them through email or Facebook.
Happy Playing! Enjoy!