Playground fears

Warm weather brings lots of outdoor activities for little ones.  My kiddo is like most in that she loves being outside.  When the mercury started rising last week, I knew we’d have to get out and do something.  She’s asked me time after time about sliding outside again because it’s been a while.  We had a nice couple of weeks in March when we were able to be outside, but then we went into typical, cooler spring weather.  It’s now warmed up again.

My kiddo enjoying some time swinging at the playground. The curly slide behind her was the smaller one that she tried twice and changed her mind about both times.

And being outside means sometimes taking her to the park.  Judge away, but in her entire 2-1/2 years, she’s only been to a playground twice.  The second time was last week.  Last fall, on a random warm day, we went to a park with a playground.  I took her on my own which was tricky.  It was a bigger playground with more activities and more slides.  I was a nervous wreck.  This time we went to one I found closer to home with just a few pieces of equipment that I knew she’d like and I took my mom along.  It’s nice to have a second person so I can do things like climb to the top of the slide with her and stay with her in case she changes her mind and wants to try and climb back down.  She’s not a super physical kid.  She changed her mind twice about the twisty slide and needed help back down.  I can’t be at the top with her and at the bottom with her all at the same time.

Basically, I have a fear of parks and playgrounds.  I have a mom friend who blogged about this very topic not all that long ago.  She had great reasons for being concerned, including that her daughter had gotten hurt.  My fears have much more to do with myself.  I was a clumsy kid.  My mom tells me that sometimes I was just very cautious and would change my mind and back up (just like my kiddo at the top of the curly slide).  Being cautious isn’t such a bad thing, but being over-cautious can lead to problems.  For example, each year from 1 through 5 in my life, I broke a bone: two collarbones and three arms.  While some of those happened other places, a good portion of these injuries happened on the playground.

I never wanted to be a hovering mom.  But, I really would love to put my kiddo in a bubble.  I’d love to never let her climb on playground equipment.  It seems so high compared to her petite frame — and she’s not all that petite for her age being in the 75th percentile for height as of her last checkup.  The kid’s already in size 4T because she needs the length.  That equipment, though, is just so high and big.  I get so nervous.

This new-to-us park I discovered worked pretty well at least.  There was a giant curly slide with a ladder straight up.  That made my palms sweat just looking at it.  Fortunately, my child isn’t overly zealous or brave to try and navigate that one after I said no.  The smaller one made her too nervous anyway.  I was thankful.

Now I’m left with trying to balance letting her enjoy a park and playground safely while not freaking out (for her sake or mine).  I don’t want her to be afraid to play and try new things.  I don’t want her to pick up on my anxieties.  I know that she’s going to get hurt, but I sure don’t have to like it.  For now, I’m thinking my best bet is to take her to the park only when someone else can join us.  Maybe if we ease our way into it, then eventually I can work up to taking her alone once she is comfortable with the playground equipment and I am, too.  I’m pretty sure it will get easier with time and experience, right?

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