Today I was the mum who.... *gasp*… let her son climb up the slide.
Yes, that’s right. I let my three year old son climb up the slide. And what’s worse – this wasn’t the first time. We are serial offenders.
There were witnesses. Other mothers stood there horrified, whispering to each other about this awful behaviour. Looking at my son then pointedly searching around to identify the neglectful mother. Only to discover that I was right there, smiling and not doing anything about it. Oh, the horror!
The judgement from other mums shocked me. Has everyone forgotten what playgrounds are for? Playgrounds are meant to be a place for children to play. To explore. To have fun. They are not meant to be a production line obstacle course where everything is used in only one way.
Going down the slide is boring for my 3 year old. He knows how to use it “properly” – he has been climbing the ladder and sliding down again since he was 9 months old. He sees no point in doing that anymore. To him, climbing the slide is much more challenging. It strengthens his muscles, develops his coordination, allows him to practise risk-taking and enhances his imagination (today he was pretending to climb into a pirate ship). But most importantly, he is having fun doing it.
He knows to be courteous. He knows how to take turns. If there are other children wanting to slide down, he will happily move away and allow them to do it. But if the slide is free, it’s an open invitation to climb!
So yes, I will continue to be that mum. I will allow my child to move outside the box, even if you worry that it will inspire your child to do the same. Because the world needs more kids who are free to play.