This past Sunday, my best friend and her kids invited me along to a playground. I took this opportunity, as I often do, to observe parents and sitters with their kids.
I spent some time watching a woman push a child on the swing. She wasn’t pushing the swing particularly hard, and nothing seemed troubling about the situation.
Then, after a few minutes, her cell phone rang.
Did she answer? You bet she did.
And the kid? Distracted by the sound, the child also reached for the woman’s phone – and just then, the woman pushed the swing again. Before she had the time to react, the child tumbled off the swing and ended up with a face full of sand.
You would expect the woman to get off the phone and rush to her child’s aid… and you’d be wrong. She kept the phone glued to her ear as she scolded the kid for not hanging on.
Must I continue…
When I’m out with the kids, I have a strict no-phone policy. I will never answer a call when I’m watching the kids – unless it’s from the kids’ parents. Even then, before I reach for my phone, I make sure the child is 100% safe. I’ve even assigned different ringtones to the kids’ parents – that way, I don’t even have to take my eyes off the children long enough to check caller ID.
And what about first aid?
I waited for the woman to get off the phone and walked over to ask if she needed some ice for the child’s eye. She said that would be great. I asked her if she had a bandage. She looked like she’d never heard the word before.
When you visit your children and their sitter or nanny at the park, notice whether:
- the sitter or nanny is playing with your children;
- she or he is talking on the phone, jeopardizing your children’s safety (you might even want to write down how long the sitter or nanny spent on the phone);
- she or he is spotting your children when they climb the playground equipment;
- she or he spends long periods of time sitting and talking to other people instead of playing with your children;
- she or he is aware of all the safety factors at the park (for example, wearing socks when climbing will cause slipping)