I’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?