How should i deal with other kids in the playground?

18 posts in this topic

Recently i had an experience regarding kids playing in the playground which i'm not sure how to handle correctly!  

 

My son (4.5 years old) is used to play on the swing in a nearby playground, usually for 5-10 minutes. I always tell him to be nice to others, so whenever we see another kid who wants to get on the swing too i tell him to share it with them so everyone can enjoy together. Well, it's a big swing and 4 kids and fit into that easily. 

 

Nevertheless, there are 3 girls in the neighborhood who don't like to share the swing with him. So whenever they arrive they ask me to take him out by saying "we are more, so he should leave" or "he is small he can't play with us" and etc. And when i said lets play together (with smile of course) they tried going so high and shaking the swing to the sides so eventually he was scared and tried to get out of the swing. 

 

Now, whenever he finds them coming toward the playground he just gets out of the swing like if they are the boss around and he is afraid of them.

I never tried to interfere with them as i though they are some kids too and generally i'm nice toward kids, but i'm not happy when i see my son feeling helpless and frightened in situations like this. 

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Are the parents of those girls around? If not I´d try to explain to them that others have a right to use the swing as well. Maybe by asking them how they´d like it if they were chased away.

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what is it with little girls? 

 

I have a playground right outside my window and there is this gang of three little girls who are absolutely HORRID.

 

the boys are rambunctious as one would expect, but never mean or aggressive - just boisterous.  These three girls are the very opposite -  just little shits.  I don't get it.

 

anyway, what works with these three is to be "mean" right back.  By that I mean bossy, stern and uncompromising, but of course "correct", in so far as I'm correcting really awful behavior with a few words.  I feel terrible about it but so far, so good.  They seem afraid of me at this point which I don't like, but whatever.  I have not heard endless shrieking, crying and fighting for the last several weeks since I adopted this tactic.  Now all I have to do is look pointedly at them through the window when they start to get obnoxious again and they settle right down and seem to still have a good time.

 

I apparently am now the "crazy old lady" :)

 

yeah.  well I'm not the one taking off my pants and making a show of peeing all over the slide, am I?  Sometimes kids need to be told in no uncertain terms what's what.

 

 

 

 

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I'm with Acton. There's no reason to expect kids to have fun together on a swing (or anywhere else), esp. if they don't know each other, are different ages/have different motor skills and relationships to risk (seeking or aversion), for example.  Turntaking is the way to go, whether it's the swing, the slide, or any other part of the playground.  If they happen to find their way to playing together and enjoy it, that's great. But no need to push it, esp. if some of the kids are clearly not interested.  Keep an eye out to make sure no kid/group of kids monopolizes any particular piece of playground equipment to the exclusion of others for more than, say, 5-10 minutes  if others are waiting, but then those waiting for a specific piece of equipment need to queue up and wait (which is a drag but demonstrates their commitment) or at least verbally negotiate who is next with the monopolizing party.  (This kind of negotiation is standard for playgrounds I've been to and helps to make sure everybody knows who is waiting for what, and that kids using equipment realize they need to move on before getting in the literal/figurative queue again to take another turn. Occasionally kids or parents don't follow this procedure, but usually somebody else sorts them out.)

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7 minutes ago, Acton said:

When your son is on the swing and the girls arrive, tell the girls they must wait for 5 minutes. Then they can have it for the rest of the time. Make them wait.

ok, i try that. Thank you! :)

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37 minutes ago, liebling said:

if others are waiting, but then those waiting for a specific piece of equipment need to queue up and wait (which is a drag but demonstrates their commitment) or at least verbally negotiate who is next with the monopolizing party.  

 

Good advice, thank you! :)

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15 hours ago, lisa13 said:

what is it with little girls? 

... there is this gang of three little girls who are absolutely HORRID.

 

... if they can get away with it. Good on yer for not letting them! My lo has sadly had plenty of exposure to such types. Yes, they can be 'orrid. I tell her to give them a wide berth and move on. Not all kids are little shits.

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15 hours ago, lisa13 said:

what is it with little girls? 

... there is this gang of three little girls who are absolutely HORRID.

 

... if they can get away with it. Good on yer for not letting them! My lo has sadly had plenty of exposure to such types. Yes, they can be 'orrid. I tell her to give them a wide berth and move on. Not all kids are little shits.

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Maybe a taste of their own medicine is an idea.

 

When they come then you sit on the swing, and tell them that you are bigger than them, you are older than them, so you have priority and they can't go on the swing.

See how they react.  After I had made my point, if I though they had realised the impact the were having then I would then make a point of giving up the swings and saying "of course I'm a nice person and will share with you, and we can take turns, because that's what nice people do". 

 

Sometimes people need to realise the impact of what they are doing by treating them the same way.  Especially kids who are learning such skills.

 

 

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1 hour ago, dj_jay_smith said:

Maybe a taste of their own medicine is an idea.

 

When they come then you sit on the swing, and tell them that you are bigger than them, you are older than them, so you have priority and they can't go on the swing.

See how they react.  After I had made my point, if I though they had realised the impact the were having then I would then make a point of giving up the swings and saying "of course I'm a nice person and will share with you, and we can take turns, because that's what nice people do". 

 

Sometimes people need to realise the impact of what they are doing by treating them the same way.  Especially kids who are learning such skills.

 

 

Come on, that’s never going to work, all that’s going to teach them is that the bigger and/or older you are, the more you can bully those smaller or younger than you.  Maybe one or even two of the girls would play nicely with a 4-year-old boy, when they’re on their own, but when there’s 4 of them together, the chances are that one of the girls is the queen bee and the others haven’t learned how to deal with that yet, in fact, some of them never will.

 

In a perfect world, all children would play nicely together, but we don’t live in that perfect world. Children are brought up differently, some with lots of love and care, some with less, and even more with almost none.  The idea that it takes a village to raise a child is long gone, studies have shown that most parents will not accept another adult telling their child they have done something wrong.  I'm not saying any of this is right, but it's the way it is and has been since my children were that age.

 

I would agree with the suggestion of telling the girls to wait until he’s finished, that’s really the only way to handle this, anything else could lead to bigger problems.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Tap said:

Come on, that’s never going to work, all that’s going to teach them is that the bigger and/or older you are, the more you can bully those smaller or younger than you. 

 

 

 

That's why I would make my point first acting the same way and then make a point of giving in to be fair to everybody.  If talking to them and explaining and being nice has not helped then a taste of their own medicine is  sometimes what it takes to make then realise the consequences of their actions.  And I am not talking about acting out physically against them (never would condone such a thing) but simply standing up to them and refusing to move. 

 

You are right that sometimes it will not work, but other times it does.  Sometimes you need to stand up to the bullies and tell them no, let them have their tantrum, just ignore them, and next time they might realise that such a tactic does not get them what they wanted and they will try a different, nicer way.

Of course other times, they are just arseholes!

 

 

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I still believe that actions speak much louder than words.

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7 hours ago, optimista said:

 

... if they can get away with it. Good on yer for not letting them! My lo has sadly had plenty of exposure to such types. Yes, they can be 'orrid. I tell her to give them a wide berth and move on. Not all kids are little shits.

 

absolutely - most kids are really delightful, even when they are being loud and running around.  I'm on very good terms with most of the kids who use the playground - they come over and want to help me when I'm gardening or just to say "hello", show me a new toy or whatever - a bunch of sweeties. These girls are definitely "special" ;)

 

I also agree with Tap's assessment about upbringing.  The girls' parents are...not my favorite people.  They live in a neighboring building yet they have been sending their girls over to OUR (private!) playground through a hole in the wall for a couple of years.  Mind, the oldest is about 7 so they were quite small when they started appearing over here unattended.   They live close enough that I can hear interactions with their parents and the parents are generally ignoring them as much as humanly possible.  The girls talk to them and they don't reply for very extended periods of time, they only respond once the kid(s) is shrieking...that kind of thing.  Very sad and even distressing to overhear at times.  Originally when they were over here they were just grating with a lot of screeching and shrieking, but in the last year they have simply become mean and inexcusably obnoxious (like peeing on the slide, beating up on each other, etc).  I don't think it's their fault they are turning into little jerks, but that doesn't mean I have to like them (at all - I've really tried to find their charm.  uhuh) or be friendly or even nice with them.

 

anyway, to be clear about being "stern" and "mean" in response to kids like this - in the OPs case I think what I would do is the following:  I would tell them in no uncertain terms that they have NO special rights to the swing just because they are larger or older than my kid. or because they outnumber him.  I would possibly *offer* (depending on the vibe) to let them share the swing provided they control their "advanced motor skills" to take it easy so as not to terrorize my kid.  If they could not agree to nor accomplish that, "raus!" and wait your turn.  Forget 5 minutes, make it 15 (especially with this aggressive swinging show)!

 

I think that is quite fair, it's reasonable and non-bullying (we were there first) and also offers a learning opportunity as the ground rules are very clear and you've given them an opportunity to join in so that everyone to gets something they want.  Their choice if they want to play along. If not, they have to wait.

 

In any case, no matter how that played out, there is no way in hell I would let "being nice" trump my kid's sense of safety.  I think it's too late for that now as the child is already really afraid of them and they effectively put one over and claimed the swing by attrition.  I think you have to nip these things in the bud.

 

 

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OP, whereabouts in NRW?  I feel the need to come and hog the swing myself. I would share nicely with your boy :)

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9 hours ago, dj_jay_smith said:

When they come then you sit on the swing, and tell them that you are bigger than them, you are older than them, so you have priority and they can't go on the swing.

 

I suspect at least one of them will point out that since they are children and it's a playground, actually they have the priority here. 

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Tee, hee. And who's gonna implement that rule? The absent parents?

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