It took Wes awhile to get to this point on this particular jungle gym. I had to coach him how to rotate once he got to the top and I was REALLY trying to encourage him to STOP ALREADY. YOU ARE FREAKING ME OUT. But he was determined, so I stood under waiting to catch him if he slipped. But he did it. Without so much as a push from me.
Nikki has always been fearless, so with her it’s always been about the coaching or the telling her point-blank: NO. YOU ARE TOO LITTLE. Because – let me tell you – she does NOT have a normal judgment of danger. She would have climbed that thing at about age 2 and then she would have jumped off.
Wes, on the other hand, is a little bit more cautious. When he’s ready to try something, it’s probably okay. So I stand there to catch him if he falls, but I let him do it. However, I sometimes notice other parents at the playground being even more cautious than I am. Not letting their kids on the monkey bars at all. Then there are the parents on the bench watching from FAR AWAY while their 2yo scales them all.
My question is this: Is this a different parenting style? Or is it different with each type of kid? I didn’t hover as much with Nikki because – with her bravery – came solid skill. She has always been good at playground equipment, if that’s possible. She’s a good climber and she’s agile so I haven’t worried as much. Now, I never felt comfortable sitting off in the distance, but I didn’t hover like I do with Wes who isn’t as confident. (He doesn’t even like to do slides right now.)
What kind of playground parent are you? Do you hate them all together? Do you give all of your kids the same freedom or does it depend on their skill level? Do you hover in case they plummet to their death? Because – while I hover – I do still let them do it. I don’t stop them as long as they are physically big enough to do something. I like to think that makes me not QUITE as annoying with the hovering.