Park Etiquette 101: How NOT To Be The Ass Everyone Hates

Oh, the park. How I love thee, and your rolling green hills. Your trees, the only survivors of the unstoppable urban sprawl, provide shade from the hot afternoon, post-nap sun (or the drizzle if you live in the Pac NW). Your sandpit, with it’s lot of broken, discarded, plastic toys, is one of few places I can sit still while Baby 1.0 happily digs, piles and eats sand like she is one of those giant angry worms from Tremors. Your swings bring back the memories of the only way we could get our precious daughter to sleep for the first 7 months of her life. And your constant parade of playmates provide a welcome bit of socialization from what can otherwise be a bit of a lonely existence. But it’s not all sunshine and sidewalk chalk rainbows. Every once in a while, someone comes along and sullies the experience. So for you, the clueless, I present to you How Not To Be A Douche Canoe At The Park.



1. Don’t do drugs at the park. You see those tiny humans running around, all giggly, and squealing with delight? Unlike you, those tiny humans are not high. Those tiny humans are kids. These kids are pretty impressionable, in case you didn’t notice, and I think it would be better if they kept playing “Lava Monster” instead of needing to have their daycare teacher answer awkward questions about why you are staring so enviously at their rice cake.

2. While we’re on the topic, don’t sell drugs at the park. I thought this scenario was made up by D.A.R.E officers to give you an example of where you may encounter people to whom you could “Just Say No,” but it turns out people sell drugs at the park all the time. This is bad. Please don’t do this.


You know you were a child of the ’80’s if…

3. Pick up your dog poop. I think we can all agree poop is gross, and kids, much like dogs, are very curious about anything and everything that stands out as abnormal from it’s surroundings, i.e., a pile of brown poop on a swath of green grass. It’s a magnet for mayhem and flies alike. Pick it up.

4. Acknowledge other people. Look, I know stranger danger is a real thing, and the last thing you want to do is strike up a conversation with a weirdo. But if you see the same person 5 days a week, at the same park, with their child? Maybe just throw a nod their way now and again. Chances are they aren’t any more crazy than you are. And if you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge the adult, at least say something to the tiny person standing to your right saying “hi” over and over, like a broken Repeat Pete parrot.

Repeat pete

“Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi.” FYI, this isn’t going to stop until you say something…

5. Parent your kid. The park is supposed to be a fun place where kids can burn steam, so running, screaming, and being wild are to be expected. But when your kid crosses the threshold from “that will need a band-aid” to “that will need a body cast,” maybe step in to bring it down a notch?

6. Don’t bogart a high value play item, like the digger, for an unreasonable amount of time, like the whole month of March. Sharing is caring. Preach it, and teach it.


You want to see a fight at the park, just hang out at the digger for a few minutes.

Anyone have anything else you’d like to add?

Image credits: Park signTremors, D.A.R.E., Repeat Pete, Digger


  1. I love that digger. We have a couple of them at our park, albeit it’s currently under 3 feet of snow. Are there any rules for parents playing, too? My inner kid LOVES the park! Love the term “douche canoe”. I’m going to see if I can sneak that into a conversation sometime. You certainly hit the nail on the head with this one. Common courtesy is dying with common sense these days.


    1. I love the digger too, which is why it pains me when someone camps out there and just scrapes all the sand away until you’re left with a 2 foot trench, and a line of unhappy futures construction foremen. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely! And I actually thought you worded it pretty mildly and being very kind with “bringing it down a notch”. :p You have my backing on this one! There have been times when I had to intervene when other kids (and older too!) are playing it rough..almost pushed my kid off the top of the slide (!) about 2m high. The parents/nanny didn’t even cared. I was quite mad.

        Reminds me of an article I came across a while back on parenting other people’s kid. It was an interesting read. If you are interested I’ll find it and send it to you. 🙂


  2. 5a. Running and screaming in the daytime is to be expected and all of us who live next to the open field have learned to cope. (See earplugs and liquor) Running and screaming after 10 PM is, however, just asking for it on many levels. If you can’t get your kid down, you can borrow my dart gun filled with Ritalin. I’ve got it trained on the six-year-old with the lungs like a howler monkey right now…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Waaaait. You have a dart gun filled with Ritalin? Can I pay you to come over and dart the overly excited patrons leaving the strip club that just opened up next to our apartment at 3am?! Thanks for stopping by!


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