1. On your feet, lose your seat
Target number one is obviously picnic tables, but don’t even think about sitting at one if you’re less than three people. Second target is benches. Will it be in the sun? Is it too close to the bin? But remember, if you get up you can’t reclaim that hill. ‘On your feet, lose your seat’ is a very real thing.
2. Ironic shirts and New Balance trainers are no excuse for blocking the fun
If two cool dads are deep in chat and blocking the slide/tunnel/swings for your kid, only moving when their kids come though – judge them like there’s no tomorrow. And yes, this happened to us. Can you tell?
3. Show me where you’re hurt
If your child falls and they are not injured you’re not technically required to get up (*see rule 1.) but you must shout ‘g’hört dazu’ so everyone knows you’re a responsible and caring Viennese parent.
4. Accept that there is no one way to parent
When you see a toddler eating a Twinni on their own, resist the urge to call child services and just wonder how parents can get it so wrong.
5. Give credit where it’s due
When a group of older kids vacate half the football cage so you and your toddler can stare at a Paw Patrol ball you optimistically brought, remember there’s hope for the future.
6. If the referee doesn’t see it…
There’s always one overly physical kid at the playground. We all know that kid. It’s totally ok if your kid happens to ‘accidentally’ push back. Once or twice is fine. We weren’t looking!
7. Speak German for quicker integration
However, if your kid does get caught, always publicly admonish them in German so all other parents know you’ve got Deutsch in the locker too. You’d be surprised how many parents want to chat if they know you can speak their language.
8. No smoking or drinking – within reason
Most of us like either a smoke or a drink, or both. Enjoy anything stronger than a Radler or an e-cigarette during your time at the playground, though, and you risk being severely (and rightly) judged – unless you’re at a Freibad, in which case anything goes.
9. Locals only brah!
Be moderately welcoming to playground tourists. After all, it’s not their fault there’s no decent children’s facilities in their local area. However, make it known that this is your territory and the reason you have a nice playground in the first place is because it’s LOCALS ONLY BRAH!
10. Looking after number one is ok
Your child is your responsibility. If someone else’s kid is about to fall off the climbing ropes while their parent looks at their phone… It’s your call if you help, but no one’s going to judge you if you don’t.
11. Age is not just a number
Parks are a great place for children of all ages to let off a bit of steam. Unless your child is the youngest and therefore most entitled to be there (or so we think). Feel the surge of power and exhilaration that comes with telling a group of tweenagers to get off the swings!
12. Abgeholt ist Abgeholt
Flout the ‘Ruhezeit’ regulations at your peril. Go over the allotted time by one minute in a built-up area and expect to be heckled and admonished out of the place by Viennese Omas from windows both high and low.
13. The sandbox is a theater of diplomacy
If another child steals a sandpit toy from your child, remember to tell the parent it’s ok, they can use it, while you make plans to coat all your kid’s playthings with SmartWater, hire a private investigator to follow this sandbox bandit and send their details to Interpol.
14. Lastly, there are no boy games and girl games, DAMMIT!
Girls climb trees and play football; boys pick flowers and hold hands. Stop bringing your small-minded, outdated attitudes towards perceived gender roles into the playground. If you, as a grown-ass adult, can’t handle that kids can and will play with each other without expectations or boundaries, get out of our playground!