Sometimes when I watch my children at the park my heart flutters. The park is one of the best places to take your kids, but they can also lead to some of the worst childhood memories. I remember when I was at the park as a child. Most of the time it was fun, but every so often I would be left with horrific stories that would follow me for the rest of my life. They taught me to watch out for my own children and they taught me to watch for the warning signs.
“Never Assume Everything Works.”
Public parks are run by the local community and you think that your taxes are going to mean everything there is safe and it works. When I was a kid that wasn’t the case. I remember one story where I was sitting on the swings and the chains just snapped.
I hit the ground hard and ran home crying. Thankfully, I wasn’t injured, but before I let my own children on any equipment I thoroughly check everything out first.
“Lice are Rampant.”
Before you organize a play date at your park with the neighbors you may want to make sure that they’re not getting too close. Head lice in Calabasas are a real problem, and it’s one that I know from experience. Every time I got lice as a kid it was always after coming home from the park.
I can’t completely stop my kids from getting lice, but I can make them aware of the risk before they play with other kids.
“Watch for Signs of Bullying.”
No parent ever wants to believe that their child is being bullied, but it does happen. I was bullied at the park by a couple of older girls and I didn’t tell my parents for ages. As soon as I did, after an unfortunate incident involving gum and my hair, my parents spoke to their parents and I never had any problems again.
Never turn a blind eye to bullying and make sure that you watch for any signs that your child might be being excluded.
“What’s at the Bottom of the Slide?”
The slide always dominates the playground at the park, but it’s always worth looking at the bottom of it before you let your kids go down it. I remember once sliding down on one Saturday morning and crashing into a little puddle left by the rain from a few nights ago.
It never hurts to check!
“Check their Shoes Before They Go Home.”
Sadly, people just don’t clean up after their pets. I lost count of the number of times I stepped in what the local neighborhood dogs leave behind and then tramped it into the house. Get into the habit of checking the bottom of your kid’s shoes before they get into the house.
Conclusion – It’s Easy
Parks sometimes come with bad experiences, but they’re also fun. Just think about some of the bad things that could happen in advance and you can make sure that they won’t happen.
What’s your worst childhood story from the park?