The warm weather’s here and your kids are eager to visit the playground whenever they can. It’s where they meet new friends, explore and play!  While playgrounds offer the perfect setting to run free and have fun, they’re also great places to learn. Here are some playground etiquette tips for parents and kids to follow that teach valuable lifelong social lessons and safety precautions on and off the jungle gym:

Keep an Eye on Your Own Kids – It’s nice to sit back and relax while your kids play, but keep a close eye on them at all times in case of an accident or behavioural issue. Every parent or guardian is responsible for their own kids.

Teach the Importance of Taking Turns  –  Turn taking doesn’t always come easy to kids, but playgrounds can offer many opportunities to teach them this important social skill. There are limited swings, slides and monkey bars so, as a parent, it’s up to you to determine your child’s “turn”. While pushing your daughter on the swing you notice a line-up of parents and kids waiting, for example, tell her that she has just five more pushes or two more minutes before letting someone else go on.

Adhere to Age Limits – Age limits are placed on equipment for safety reasons. Equipment meant for older kids, like seesaws or ladders, could be dangerous to young toddlers. And school-age kids may intimidate younger children who are playing on equipment meant for their size.

Don’t Share Food (Without Permission) – Your little ones might want to share their snack with their playground friends, but it’s important to teach them to ask their parents first in case of dietary restrictions or allergies.

Toys are Free-for-All (For the Most Part) – If you bring toys to the playground, expect other kids to want to play with them. And if your child wants to play with someone else’s toy it’s nice to be courteous and ask if it’s OK for him or her to play with it first.  While sharing toys is an unspoken playground rule among parents, keep in mind that some toys, such as infant toys, may be off limits.

Avoid Disciplining Someone Else’s Child – It can be difficult to bite your tongue when another child pushes your son or daughter off the slide or steals his or her toys. But when another kid is acting out, it’s best to approach the parent or guardian directly first. Explain the situation and allow her or him handle the disciplining.

Pack Accordingly – Always expect the unexpected. If you’re planning on staying at the playground for an extended period of time, come prepared with snacks, wipes, a change of clothes and even a portable potty if you’re potty training and a bathroom isn’t close by.

Playgrounds are a lot of fun, but they do come with some unwritten rules. It’s every parent’s or guardian’s responsibility them a pleasant experience for all while teaching kids valuable lessons that will go beyond the warm weather months.