The ground was a little damp, enough so that I’d rather not sit on it in my work clothes, but with boots on it was fine. It was threatening to rain, had in fact been lightly drizzling around a half hour earlier. Alright, it was around the classic supper time, but really.
The playgrounds were empty. Not entirely, I suppose. A couple of teens were hoofing around a soccer ball, and a group of women were doing some odd exercise program. No kids. Not a single one.
Cameron’s and my giggles echoed off the elementary school’s walls as we played before finishing the trek home after work and daycare.
I know and understand. At the end of the day the last thing most parents want to do is pack up the kids and head for the playground. Believe me – by this point in the day I’ve dragged an unwilling preschooler to daycare on the bus, put in a full day work without a formal lunch break (my choice), hustled off to pick up Cameron, and trekked back on the bus. I still had to make supper, start laundry, and clean a room. Most parents want to settle in, cocoon, get supper on, read the paper.
Got rangy kids? Cranky, fighting, tantruming? Feeling tired and snappish yourself? Why not get out to a playground and … you know … play? Chase the kids around, giggle and laugh, race, slide down slides. Let the kids direct the play. Encourage them to challenge their own boundaries, instead of the ones you set. Try to not even breathe “no.”
I find it very surprising, and sad, that in a neighbourhood with as many kids as ours has and with the weather mild and promising Spring, we didn’t see another child in the entire 40 minutes we were there.
We got home, and the effects were obvious. Of course, this didn’t put an end to the boundary testing. Cameron even landed in time out once. The effect, however, was on his mood. There were no tantrums, no screaming, no melting into tears. Because of my awesome powers of parenting? Don’t make me laugh. He got to play, outside, with Mommy.
He got a bit of pure, fun, fresh freedom.
Too bad there weren’t other kids there to share it!