Should kids climb up the slide?

Climb up the slideI’ve seen a few comments and discussions online lately about climbing up the slide at the park. One mom mentioned seeing another mom teaching her child to climb up the slide and suggested it was kind of an asshole thing to do.

Well guess what? I’m that asshole.

I’ve climbed the slide with my kid and handed out a high-five the first time she did it on her own.

I think being able to climb the slide is an important kid skill. And it’s just plain fun!

I’m not advocating that you teach your son or daughter to be a dick, but why is there now only one way to use the park?

Playgrounds are meant for physical and social exploration and kids have a way of working this physical and social stuff out just fine on their own

We used to use the side bars of the swing set to do flips, jump off things that weren’t really meant for jumping off of and race up the big metal slide. No one ended up sad-faced at the top because they couldn’t go down. Sure, they might have gotten a little mud on the butt, but that was a badge of honour for a day well-played. We didn’t need mom and dad to police the playground.

Why can’t we just let our children play, have fun, make their own rules and sort themselves out a bit? These are great skills and the park is a great place to learn them. Climbing the slide teaches balances, coordination, courtesy and that some rules are conditional.

Think of a swing. Some kids like to sit on it and pump their legs, some like to sit on it and have a buddy twist up the chain to make it spin, and others like to go superman-style on the stomach. If my daughter was doing any of these things and another kid wanted to use that swing he/she would have to wait his/her turn. How is climbing up the slide different?

Sure, suggest to little Tommy that he wipe some of the mud off his shoes first. Make sure he knows to take turns,  to get out of the way when someone else is coming down (although he might learn that lesson quickly and effectively by getting a sneaker in the nose) and to maybe suspend his slide climbing when the park is busy.

Then, let him climb up the slide.

The smile on his face when he makes it up for the first time will be priceless.

Some days there may be some tears, but just like the dirt, they’ll wash off.

Okay, rant over. What do you think?

  9 comments for “Should kids climb up the slide?

  1. Kim Jones
    July 2 at 12:19 pm

    Great article! It’s funny because I have just recently had this conversation with another mom. My answer is that she can’t climb up the slide because they are not allowed at daycare so I try to keep the same rules so she will not be confused. I have been sort of doing the “it’s ok when there are no other kids around” thing. You make some good points though! Where is my instruction book to raising a toddler book?!

  2. kellyserjeantson
    June 24 at 12:55 pm

    I provided a mom with a lightbulb moment 8 years ago when she told her child to stop climbing the slide because another child wanted to go down.
    When I said,” Why should she stop? The other can wait her turn,” it was as if I had lifted the weight of the world off this mom’s shoulders.
    My kids are all kids of crazy at the park and I had a firm rule of ‘If you can’t do it yourself, you shouldn’t be doing it.’ No helping on the slide, no lifting up to monkey bars either.
    Kids learn best when we leave them the heck alone…
    That said, CHEO is a frequent stop for us as there have been a couple of broken bones 😉

    To the moms who freaked out when my 3 yer old was running along a ten foot high wall in a park – that kid can now unicycle, pogo up and down stairs, and climb a tree like nobody’s business…

    • June 25 at 11:16 pm

      I love this comment because sometimes I find it hard to resist the urge to intervene and I want to be able to just let my kid do her thing. My 3 year old is a crazy climber who loves to jump off and hang upside down from everything. I’ve gotten quite a few concerned looks at the park and I’m sure a few broken bones are in our future.

  3. June 24 at 9:13 am

    Here, here! I agree with the comment above. It is not up to adults to dictate what fun looks like. As long as they are taking turns and not injuring anyone else, I’m all for it. My boys (5 and 7) have made up a game where they run towards the swings and jump towards them and land (most of the time) on their bellies on the swing. They pretend they’re flying. It’s awesome! There have been minor injuries to themselves (and some mouthfuls of sand) but they love it! I’ve gotten a couple of comments from concerned parents but I’m getting better at not getting too fussed about it.

    • June 25 at 11:26 pm

      That does sound fun! I remember some of the ridiculous games we made up as kids and shudder a little. I need to get better at not getting too fussed about the looks and comments. Sometimes it makes me step in when I probably don’t need to.

  4. June 24 at 8:35 am

    We’re lucky because we have a slide at home. The kids are all allowed to climb that one with the same rules as going down – one at a time (so many 3 kid pileups!! 🙂
    At the park I try to discourage them from doing it when other kids are using the slide but the rule but that’s generally only when there are kids that seem younger or more timid than mine.

    • June 25 at 11:19 pm

      That seems fair. The kids learn how to take turns and be mindful of others without an outright ban on slide climbing.

  5. June 23 at 9:59 pm

    Absolutely! Parks are for fun and it is not for adults to dictate what fun looks like. My daughter recently discovered that she could make it to the top of the slide by running up it and she was so proud of herself. So long as she lets other kids have a turn with using the slide in their own way I am not going to interfere in her fun.

    • June 25 at 11:28 pm

      Great! I love the double slides because me and the little one can race each other up 🙂

What do you think?

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