Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tips on Keeping Your Kid From Being a Fast-Food Playland Jerkasaurus

1. Keep a Lookout
Please don't be the parent who checks out mentally while drinking your McCafe. I hate when strangers "parent" my kids, so I try not to do it—but if you are off in la-la land while your kid is bullying mine? Imma do it.

2. Check out the Playland Guidelines
Are shoes allowed? Is there a height limitation? These are all good things to note, because tread marks on my kid's face from your teenager's Doc Martins aren't a good look for him.

3. Use the Close Quarters to Teach Good Manners
Most playlands are indoors, which means that there is not the pure square footage that a park allows. Kids will literally be crawling all over each other because there is not a lot of room. Kids of any size can always improve their manners, so look for times when you can help them apologize for pushing or practice patience when someone is too scared to go down the slide.

4. Make Sure That All Playing is Space-Appropriate
Due to the previously-mentioned close quarters, a rousing game of tag may not be appropriate for the indoor playland. Also, review the indoor voice/outdoor voice idea so that ear-popping screeches don't constantly fill the air. If you spy something that might be hindering the other kids from playing, suggest something else to do. There is nothing that causes my blood to boil like a parent who approves of kids shoving/tripping/teasing smaller children and saying, "It's all just kid stuff. They're just having fun."

5. Don't Raise Annoying Kids
Talking about integrity in this setting seems silly, but your kids are going to act at the fast-food playland in the same manner they act everywhere else. So, if you let your children act like Grade-A brats at home and hope that they will act better in the real world, you are fooling yourself. I am completely aware that kids have their ups and downs; my children have had their fair share of jerkasaurus behavior. But I lay the smackdown on those actions real fast. You can, too.

These tips brought to you by field research done by myself and my husband. I know that your kid couldn't possibly be one of the kids mentioned here, but if you know someone's who are, feel free to pass it along and blame it on me.

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