Safety is always important on the playground. You may recall, we previously posted tips to make sure your playground is safe. Since it is National Playground Safety Week, I’d like to discuss an integral element to playground safety: adult supervision.
Supervision on the playground doesn’t have to equate to helicopter parenting. Simply put, it’s about keen observation skills. The National Program for Playground Safety recommends that anyone supervising children on a playground follow the ABCsTM of Supervision:
Anticipate—Prevent problems and hazardous situations by examining equipment and play areas for broken equipment, broken glass, trip hazards or other situations that could cause an issue. If you happen to be on a Playworld playground, look around to find PlayPodTM. Through this tool you can report maintenance issues on your playground instantly, right from your mobile device. It will help ensure the playground stays in tiptop shape.
If you’re overseeing a school or daycare playground, channel your inner Boy or Girl Scout and be prepared by carrying items on the playground such as a whistle, band-aids, latex-free gloves and garbage bags, to name a few. This is also good advice for moms, dads or caregivers who take children to a playground.
Behavior—Let children know what behaviors are considered appropriate and inappropriate on the playground. As a supervisor, you must be alert and attentive to take action in case of any situation that may arise.
Context—Sometimes things seem to be something they aren’t. Remember that children playing could be misconstrued as fighting or even bullying. Children have to find constructive ways to communicate and learn to work out their differences in safe, respectful ways. By remembering to keep everything in context, including the area where they are playing, you will be able to make informed decisions as you maintain healthy play on your playground.
Above all, you need to have someone present at all times to maximize the safety of the playground. While schools and daycares may have dedicated playground monitors, public places do not. Parents and caregivers should supervise and help keep the playground safe for all. More information about supervision can be found at playgroundsafety.org.
What will you do during National Playground Safety Week to ensure safe, healthy play at your playground?