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Keeping Your Toddler Safe At The Playground

Slides, swings, climbing frames, bright colours, lots of other children to play with… It is easy to see why your toddler enjoys going to the park so much.

On the other hand is really easy to see why so many parents dread taking their toddlers to the park.

  • Your toddler sees swings - you see them getting hit by one
  • Your toddler sees climbing frames – you see them falling off
  • Your toddler sees a slide – you see them sliding straight off and hurting themselves.

All Toddlers will get bumps and bruises at the park

It is important to remember that every toddler will get cuts, bumps and bruises. How else are they going to have fun and learn about their surroundings?

No one is ever going to think you’re a bad parent for letting your child use the climbing frame if your toddler falls off. It is all part of your toddler growing up and exploring the world around them.

So you know you cant wrap your toddler up in bubble wrap forever, so here are some quick tips to help you put your mind at ease and let your toddler explore and have fun.

Getting your toddler to and from the playground

Teach your toddler road safety ASAP

As soon as your toddler is old enough start teaching them road safety. Keep reiterating road safety to your toddler and practise it every time you go out. Ask questions to keep your toddler interested (are there any cars coming? Do you think it is OK to cross the road here? Why/why not?).

Hold hands or use a harness or lead

Hold hands with your toddler when you are crossing the road is a must, but you cant expect to hold your toddlers hand all the time, they want to go off and explore. So when it is safe for your toddler to not be holding your hand, try using a harness or lead that goes around their wrist. This allows your toddler to have some sense of freedom but you are still firmly in control.

Once your toddler gets a bit older, explain to your toddler they are allowed to go a bit in front of you, but if you call their name, they must stop where they are and let you catch up with them. Explain to your toddler that if they stop when you call their name, they will be allowed to walk on their own again, if they don’t stop, they will have to come and hold your hand for five minutes until they can be trusted to go by themselves again.

Allowing your toddler to walk by themselves or a few steps a head of you will give your toddler the freedom they are desperate for, but you are still in control and can take away the privilege if it is abused by your toddler.

For more tips, have a look at how to stop your toddler running off.

When you are at the playground with your toddler

Is the playground safe for your toddler?

When you reach the playground, you need to make an assessment as to whether the playground is well maintained and the equipment is in good condition. The big question is: would you be happy for your toddler to play on the equipment, or is there a better park somewhere else?

Tell your toddler where they can go in the playground

Before you let your toddler loose in the park find a spot where you can sit, be close to the equipment and make sure you can see all the playground equipment. Tell your toddler that this is where you will be sitting and that they may go off and play, but they can only go on the things where they can see you and you can see them. If they want to go on anything else they must come and ask you first.

This does take a bit of practise, as your toddler will be excited and what to play on everything, not worry about where you are. But stick with it. Give your toddler a warning and time out from playing if they go somewhere they shouldn’t. They will soon learn.

Set an alarm for your toddler to return

When your toddler gets a bit older, give them a watch and tell them they must come back and see you at a certain time (or set an alarm on the watch and tell them they must come back once the alarm sounds and they may go and play again after). This gives your young child the feeling they are trusted and grown up. Make sure you give them lots of praise for coming back at the right time.