The past two years have not been kind to anyone especially since it was a tough time for a family with small kids, every now and then lockdown and so many restrictions where do you take your children?
And for us, it was even harder because we move to a smaller town in Germany where we didn’t know anyone and all my son did was stay at home the whole day. Until my husband discovered a big playground next to our house it was always my husband taking Robin to the playground until one day I decided to also go and I meet two lovely mothers. Sitting there I realized that I need to write about the Magical Playground Rules that no one talks about but are great and if you are an expat, these might just help you too.
The playground is an all-year-round affair:
It will not be wrong to say that even when everything was under lockdown in Germany playgrounds were only closed for 2 months or so. In Germany, you will find playgrounds almost everywhere some might be small and some might be slightly big but you will always find kids playing with their parents. And trust me come Rain, come Snow or even on a bright Sunny day you will always find kids playing there from Dusk to Dawn. And what is Magical about this place this is not just for children but parents use this place to get together and if you are lucky like me you might meet some like-minded moms . But like I said this place is not just for children or moms to meet up but like my husband, lots of dads take their kids there to spend some quality time with their children.
So if you are new to a town in Germany and are looking for some playmates for your children try to go and spend some time at the playground and I am sure you will end up meeting lots of moms of a similar age.
Always carry Snacks for the Kids:
Again something I have only seen here: the mothers always carry some fruits and some small Snacks with them. When you go to the playground it’s like a small picnic always, if you want you can Also carry a picnic blanket which you can spread out and sit on. I think it’s a great idea as then After playing for some time your kids can take a break eat a little and then again go and play. You can also take time to relax and enjoy nature while your child is playing with the other kids.
Generally, you will always find a sandbox in most the playground and hence I would advise you to Always carry some sand toys, it is not necessary to buy expensive toys and carry them you can get Really good toys at the Euro Shop or Teddy. My advice is to carry a few toys not too many as most of the children carry toys and the toys can get mixed up or can even get lost in the sand. Having said that you will also see that it is ok for most of the parents to let other kids play with their children’s toys but make sure that when their child is playing with someone else’s toys you return it to the owner before leaving the playground.
Also, some of the playgrounds have a water area which is generally fully functional during Summer and don’t be surprised if you find kids making puddles in the sandbox and playing in them. Just as a habit now I always carry spare clothes for my son. You never know what can happen at the playground, it’s best to be prepared.
Let the kids do what they want:
This one was something that I could never imagine, coming from an Indian Family it would be not wrong to say that my parents were overprotective of me and hence if ever I went to the playground to play there was a set of rules the do’s and don’t’s and I think it’s also normal to be Concerned about your child.
But here in Germany, I see parents giving full freedom to climb on walls and roofs of some structure, I mean I still remember when my husband encouraged my son who was just 22 months old to climb a huge playground structure, I was so scared but Robin was not at all afraid. He went up and even slided down from there, again something that I would never allow.
In Germany parents let their children explore and overcome any fear, something I feel is very unique to this country.
So my advice to you all the new expat moms will be to try and sit back and relax while you see your children interact and make new friends.
It has worked for me and I am sure it would work for you too!