The playground or park should be a happy place for the children that play in it, but it can be as packed with drama as an episode of Neighbours or East Enders!
There’s not much that can be done to stave off simple personality conflicts, but sticking to the unspoken rules regarding playtime etiquette can assist everything to run smoothly.
Here are some of the simple rules to follow:
1. Don’t feed other people’s children. You may think that allergies are exaggerated, and that there’s nothing wrong with giving children a peanut butter and jam sandwich, but that doesn’t mean that your opinion is one that will be appreciated by other parents or even one that’s based on fact. Parents are well within their rights to impose dietary restrictions on their children, and they don’t need you to fill their little ones with processed snacks, probable allergens or sugar when their back is turned. If you didn’t bring the child, don’t feed the child.
2. Pack healthier snacks – Following on from above, try to think about other children when you pack your children’s playground snacks. You may be in favour of chocolate and fizzy drinks, but it is very possible that other families are trying to instil healthier eating habits into their children, and you may start a playground war! Try to save the sugary snacks for the privacy of your own home, and make the decision not to negatively impact the efforts of other parents by waving sweets and chocolates in front of other children.
3. Clean up your own mess – Leaving your sweet wrappers, plastic bags, wipes and tissues behind you isn’t just unsightly, but is also terrible for the environment, and a dreadful example for the children in your care. If you’re teaching the children to tidy up after themselves, then you need to do the same.
4. Keep your voice down! While happy shrieks and noise are the wonderful soundtrack of the playground, bellowing adults are just plain disruptive. Perhaps yelling is a tactic you resort to in order to get the children’s attention at home – but you should look for another way to do so when you’re out in public.
5. Only discipline the Children in your own care – If you see a child that refuses to share or is being rude to the other children, it’s not either your responsibility or your right to correct their behaviour. Just direct your child away from him/ her, and use that behaviour as an example of how NOT to behave. Telling off a child who isn’t your own, will be seen as interference by his parents, who aren’t likely to take kindly to the implication that they aren’t parenting properly. However, if a child under your care is being bullied or has been hit or pushed by the child of another, stepping in and informing his parent or caregiver is the right thing to do.
6. Make sure that you play nice too! The other parents and Nannies at the playground may get on your nerves, but you can’t very well expect your children to play nicely with their peers if you’re actively instigating trouble with your own peer group. Remember the old adage – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!
7. Take responsibility for your own children – A crowd of adults doesn’t absolve you from the responsibility of looking after the children you brought. You’ll quickly become a figure of resentment if you establish a reputation for ignoring your children, because you expect other parents to supervise them.
8. Stay off your iphone! It’s difficult to give your children the attention they need when you’re playing candy crush or any other game on your smart phone at the same time.
9. No Nanny poaching! Watching the perfect nanny interact with her charges day after day can be so tempting; all you want is to find a nanny like her for your own children! No matter how wonderful she seems, remember that nanny poaching is a playground no-no, and can only lead to trouble for yourself.
10. Keep your opinions to yourself! Remember that providing parents are not actively harming their children, they have the freedom to raise them as they wish. Of course you won’t always agree with the way that other people parent their children, but it doesn’t matter how wrong you think they are – keep your judgments and observations to yourself unless they ask for your opinion directly. Even then, be careful how you word things. Feuds with other parents on the playground are easy to start, but can be almost impossible to resolve.
I hope that you have found this blog informative and interesting.
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I look forward to speaking to you soon,
Norma Lewis Nannies
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