Toddler Wars: Playground etiquette for parents

Toddler wars are a daily feature in our lives right now.  If we’re in a public place and there are kids around you can bet your bottom dollar that the toddler will end up in some kind of scrap or another.  Raffy is too young to get involved but can often be found cheering Coco on from the sidelines!

I'll 'ave ya!
I’ll ‘ave ya!

The first time I saw Coco have a little set to with another child was at a local singing group.  There she was, toddling around enjoying a rendition of head, shoulders, knees and toes, when a older girl bold as brass strolled over and gave her a push.  Then she did it again. To witness this was a little bit like taking a bullet.  Coco seemed pretty non plussed, I on the other hand was having an internal mummy meltdown as I searched frantically round the room hoping the little darling’s mum would intervene. As with all these episodes it was over in a flash, but the sickness at seeing my baby being pushed around stayed with me for the rest of the day.  Fast forward a year or so and now it”s Coco doing her fair share of shoving. But what is the best way to handle these sticky situations? (Spoiler alert: I don’t have the answer!)

Most of my encounters with mum’s of the opposition have been friendly enough, with both parties having clearly rocked the position of referee more than once before. But occasionally you get come across a mum or dad who adopts a slightly different parenting style when it comes down to how they handle their Master/Miss Shovy McShoverson. The first and funniest time I met a parent such as this, was during a morning in the sandpit at Victoria Park. Coco and I were sat minding our own business making a Mr Sandman face (we’re quite the creatives I know), when mini Godzilla comes bowling over, tramples our signature sandman creation and in doing so, kicks sand in my face, and gives Coco a bop on her bonce with his spade.  Slightly shellshocked by this unprovoked attack, I kept quiet until Dad came bounding over, but instead of being full of apologies, he just muttered “sorry, he’s still learning”.  “Learning what exactly!? How to be a little SH*T!?”  I was gobsmacked but also slightly amused by the absurdity of it.

Recently on our trip to Greenwich Park, Coco got in a couple of small scale fisty cuffs with two toddlers.  One had nicked her bucket and spade and the other was trying to push her from behind the wheel of the wooden car she was driving.  Not one to back down, Coco had retaliated in the best way she saw fit…by snatching and giving them a sharp shove.  Both times I intervened and took her back to the picnic blanket as she wailed like a wild banshee, and both times no other mother/brother/grandma was to be seen. Not that I should judge, I’m sure that on more than one occasion Coco has got away with a sly smack or two whilst I was no doubt whinging about my lack of sleep or something else equally interesting, but I’d like to think I’d always step in should see things getting physical.

Now the baby brother is becoming less baby and more “I’ll have that thanks”, I am also now umpiring a toy tug of war approximately every three minutes at home too. If I had a quid for every time I uttered to Coco, “caring is sharing!” I would be able to buy out Toys R Us and the little buggers would still be fighting.  That’s the joy of these terrible toddlers, they are incapable of sharing at this age, so should we just allow the little tikes to fight it out (closely supervised of course) or intervene at the first sign of trouble?  My guess is as good as yours!

IMG_2031_2
Minutes before a scuffle…

I would love to hear your thoughts.  What do you think should be the standard playground etiquette?

Gemma x

I'm linking up with Honest Mum at #brilliantblogposts x
I’m linking up with Honest Mum at #brilliantblogposts x
I'm linking up with Modern Dad Pages #wineandboobs
I’m linking up with Modern Dad Pages #wineandboobs

9 thoughts

  1. Haha mine (2and1/2) isn’t quite into hitting others on the playground yet but she does give her little sister a lil smack when she’s mad! She definitely gets in trouble for that. Trying really hard to end that hitting phase. Now I have to prepare for the hitting on the playground too!! ugh haha #wineandboobs

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  2. Interesting to read this. I am like you and feel like I have just taken a bullet. BUT my little man laughed it off when it happened last time, and when the little boy (who was older and bigger than my H) did it again, he pushed the boy back who then fell over and H fell on top of him thinking it was a game of “pile on”. It was hilarious as the bully just didn’t know what to do when he didn’t get the reaction he expected. I am glad I didn’t step in, even though every fibre in my body wanted to strangle that bully at the start! #brilliantblogposts

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  3. I am so terrified of these occurrences. It’s always been the part of parenting that scares me the most. My little one seems to take the soft approach atm and doesn’t really stand up for himself, I’m hoping that changes soon. I was bullied so badly in school and it’s my biggest fear he goes through the same. x

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    1. I think all you can do is stand in if you feel it’s getting too much. It is heartbreaking seeing your child get pushed around, especially if you’ve also had a bad experience. Thanks so much for the comment x

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  4. I think parents should watch their freaking kids! I teach my kids to be kind and not steal toys from others. However, they can stand up for themselves if some little shit is mean to them or their siblings. But yeah, if my kid is mean (which they can be), they are removed from the fun they were having and I deal with it.

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    1. Ha ha! Coco definitely knows how to handle herself too and I like that as I know she will be able to handle others in later life, but I try not to let it come to fisty cuffs if I can. Thank you for the comment! x

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  5. I loved your blogpost! I experienced this last week when my little angel gave another child a big shove – the other child started wailing and ran to her mum. I waded in, firmly told my little girl off, and asked her to apologise – BUT the other mum wouldn’t make eye contact at all so there was no opportunity to make amends.. I thought it was a bit OTT- she’s only 2 after all! Mostly though I let the little ones sort it out amongst themselves and hope for the best!

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment Elaine. I do wade in if things are getting a bit too pushy shovy, but I hope that the other parent also does the same so we can collectively tut and roll our eyes about our kids, rather than have one person point the finger of blame. Like you say, they’re only 2! x

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