An Open Letter to the Parents at the Mall Playground

Dear Parents/Grandparents/Guardians at the Mall Playground,

I have enjoyed my recent foray into mall walking. Three mornings a week Little Man and I meet our friends and quickly put in three miles. The incentive for my son to behave in his stroller is a trip to the mall playground when we are finished walking.

He enjoys the playground. But I am concerned by some of the parental behavior he is witnessing. So if you are unsure how to conduct yourself at a mall playground, please read the following ideas.

1) Put away your Kindle/Nook/iPad and watch your child. I realize free wi-fi is a great thing, and I, more than almost anyone I know, love a good book. But while you are reading, your child is leaping over benches and kicking younger children in the head. Repeatedly.

2) Get off the phone. I don’t care if you are texting or talking, this is not the place for your conversations. If you are so important that you must take a phone call, you probably do not belong at the mall on a weekday morning. Again, while you are on the phone, your child is climbing up the storage shelves and walking around the elevated ledge running the perimeter of the playground. My child doesn’t understand why your kid can do something that he is not allowed to do. Thanks.

3) The rules “No Shoes, No Food and No Drink” actually do apply to you and your child. Every rule. Every time.

4) Do not leave your child unattended. I do not want to watch your child, most likely even if you paid me to. So do not “run to the bathroom/food court/that store over there” and leave your child alone at the playground. That is just crappy parenting.

5) Do not watch your youngest child only, leaving your oldest to shove younger kids out of his way so he can climb up onto the changing station and wallow around in the diaper changing area. Yuck. If you cannot handle watching both of your children (especially because you are reading a book and on your phone or in that store right over there) than may I suggest you just stay home.

6) If you are not going to watch/raise/discipline/teach your child manners out in public, I will.

Little Man’s Mama

If you remove your child from the playground, insinuating that my Black child is not worthy of your child’s companionship, I will call you on it. Publicly and loudly.

And if you don’t want your child playing with children of different backgrounds, then, again, you should just stay home.

(That happened to Keith; he did not confront the woman. But believe me, I will.)

6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Parents at the Mall Playground

  1. ALLL of these same things drive me CRAZY about our mall playplace. Why doesn't everyone know about these general rules of society–especially since they are posted at the entrance!! Drives me insane!


  2. I believe these are true of children in public places in general. And, I too, have NO issues calling out kids (mine or others) on their bad behavior or poor manners. I never did have much of a filter. 😉

    PS – I hate confrontation, but if ANYONE ever mistreats P for having two mommies, they better watch out. So, I feel you on the PS.


  3. What bugs me more then the parents that don't pay attention to their kids are the people that sit in the play area and have no children there. They kind of worry me.

    We watched a toddler go up the escalator by herself one day and get to the top and an adult there held her hand while hollering down asking whose child she was. Some preteen boy looked up stunned that his little sister got away.

    Um, your ps…. WOW! The nerve of some people.


  4. I love that you wrote this. This kind of stuff absolutely drives me BATTY and is the exact reason we never frequent the mall playground anymore (sad, I know). People need to put down their electronics and actually interact, or at least WATCH their children, not dump them at the play area while they run errands. What awful parenting is that?!
    Okay, and the PS?!!? I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT. I am SO angry for you guys! I am SO sorry that happened!


  5. Get out of TOWN! Some lady said that? Crazy beans! And I've totally been known to take a smoothie in there, but I wouldn't let my kid have a drink to carry. That would end in disaster. I just make sure to hide my smoothie from the Segway Psycho…


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