Enjoying the Playground with Your Preschooler: Tips for Handling the Pushy Playmate

September 15, 2014

The beautiful fall weather encourages parents and young children to visit and enjoy the neighborhood parks and playgrounds. But playground fun rarely comes without challenges. How is a parent supposed to handle their preschooler’s “pushy” playmate?

In a preschool setting, it is fairly simple. The teacher has authority over all the children. But at a public playground, parents only have authority over their own child. Many techniques teachers use will work for parents as well.

First, assume the best in all the children who come in contact with your child and stay close to the children as they play.  Sometimes it is even helpful to engage in play with the children in order to foresee potential problems and help guide them in socially acceptable behavior.

Create a gentle barrier.

If the other child is pushy or not being a kind playmate, verbally encourage them while you encourage your own child with words of instruction.  For example, your child is climbing the steps to go down the slide and someone’s child is pushing her from behind.  Kindly put your hand in between the two children and say something to the effect of, “Careful,  she is not quite up the steps yet.”  The insertion of your hand in between the two children is usually enough to slow the progress of the pushy child.

Redirect to something new and interesting

Unfortunately, there are times when the other children will not follow your lead and play appropriately.  Whereas a teacher has authority over all the children and is able to discipline the pushy child, a parent does not.  Therefore, when this happens, the best thing to do is to redirect your child to another area of the playground or as a last resort, go home. Use it as an opportunity to teach your preschooler appropriate behavior and that sometimes other children have trouble playing appropriately.

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Little Footprints
Little Footprints Learning Center is a ministry of Millington Baptist Church in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. We offer a safe, nurturing preschool for 2 ½ to 5 year old children. We strive to provide a quality education in a loving Christian environment and invite you to browse our website to learn more about our program. If you have any questions or wish to have a tour of our facility, feel free to contact us.