I have a love-hate relationship with taking my kid to the park. He loves it, but hates when he was to leave. I love it until I want to leave, which he hates. And then we usually end up hating each other all the way home. Get it?
Things I love about the park
We’re pretty lucky when it comes to parks. We have a lovely big one just a couple of minutes’ walk from our house, full of all the usual stuff that kids go mad for. It’s got a big colourful playground with loads of swings, a couple of climbing frames, a decent slide, a fireman’s pole, a roundabout, and a few of those boingy little seats attached to giant springs that catapult you backwards and forwards. So if your kid can stand on their own two feet and hang on to something well enough to stop them falling off/out of it, you’re in business.
Even better, our park has loads of wide open green spaces to charge around in, kick footballs in, ride bikes, climb up trees, jump in puddles, kick leaves, roll in mud – and do all the other crazy stuff that kids love doing outdoors. I’ve basically been a frustrated kid for the past 20 years, and having an energetic little toddler means I can finally get back outside and do all the stuff I loved doing when I was younger.
So if I’ve got a spare hour and no epic adventure plans for the weekend, taking my kid to the park is always a winner. It’s a short trip we can do in pretty much any weather, it doesn’t matter if we get muddy because we’re so close to home, there are loads of other kids for Sonny to interact with, it gets him outdoors and lets him connect with nature, it burns off some of his crazy energy, and it means I get to play on the swings, climb on climbing frames, and basically do loads of fun stuff that I’m not normally allowed to do!
Things I hate about the park
So that was all the good stuff, but here come the negatives.
- There are always loads of other mental kids charging around and smashing into each other. So as well as having to keep an eye on my own little hell-raiser, I’ve also got to worry about everyone else’s off-spring.
- Despite all the lovely stuff I wrote above, parks are actually pretty boring for adults. You’re probably too big to go on pretty much everything, so you’re going to need lots of patience because you’ll be pushing that swing and watching your kid go up and down that slide A LOT.
- I’m generally quite tolerant of other parents, but I also like being able to get away once the conversation runs dry, which is pretty much impossible when you’re all being held hostage in a small play area. Go armed with your best smalltalk, because trust me you’re going to need it.
- Leaving is always a problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s dark, raining, freezing cold, or if your kid has picked up an injury worthy of a trip to A&E, just try convincing them it’s time to leave the park. I’ve tried every kind of bribery or distraction tactic I can think of with Sonny, but it always ends with a teary tantrum and blood-curdling scream-fest before we can finally pack up and go home.
Why, despite all that moaning, I’ll keep taking my kid to the park
Because he loves it. And because little trips for adults make big adventures for kids, and ultimately that’s all that really matters. I love taking Sonny outdoors and seeing his face light up when he swings on swings or slides down slides, so even if it bores me half to death after a few minutes, how can I deny him that awesome bit of fun and pleasure?
My parents did it for me, so now it’s my turn do it for this little dude. And deep down, despite the moaning, I love it too.