My family was attending a birthday party for one of my son’s classmates, when my husband commented on the kids playing on the backyard swing-set, suggesting maybe we needed one for our own yard. In a lot of ways, he had a point. We have a large yard, we don’t live that close to a playground and our two boys are often quite literally climbing up the walls. A structured, safe, outdoor play space makes a lot of sense.
And yet, I remain hesitant to purchase a, or even accept a donated, swing-set. When I picture owning one, nothing about it feels right to me. I look out my kitchen window, imagining my kids swinging and sliding, and instead of conjuring up happy thoughts, all I see is bad news. Here’s why:
I worry my kids will never play with it
Much like the bajillions of toys sitting around the house while my children would rather rearrange furniture or engage in 80s-style wrestling, my concern is my kids might use the swing set a handful of times and get bored. Even at playgrounds, where the structured play areas are much more elaborate than anything I could have at home, my kids almost always end up wandering off somewhere to play with sticks or dig in the mud. The thought of taking the time to set up a fun swing set only to have it sit outside on unused doesn’t appeal to me at all.
I worry they will play with it too much
As I mentioned, we don’t live around the corner from the playground, so going there involves some effort on my part. Most of the time, my kids are too antsy at home, and need more stimulating activity. If the kids enjoy the swing-set too much, we may not feel a need to leave our home, missing out on opportunities to meet new friends and try new things.
I don’t want the liability
You won’t see a trampoline in my yard, and for good reason. Those things are a one-way trip to the Emergency Room. I realize swing-sets may be less risky, but there are still concerns over kids playing on them properly, and regular maintenance needed to ensure they are as safe as possible. I am all about encouraging my children to test their limits, I just don’t need that to mean them, or one of their friends, flying full force out of a swing.
I don’t want the expense/upkeep
I did a quick search and found a backyard swing-set can cost north of $400. Even, if you get one for much less, or even free, there is still the cost of regular upkeep and parts replacement, especially if you have rough kids like I do. We have enough to worry about already.
We’ve gotten this far without one
My two boys are five and three and, as far as I can tell, they are pretty happy. We have a large yard, which offers both my kids ample opportunity for imaginative play. Sure, I may change my mind, but for now, our yard will remain swing-set free.
A tire swing, however, I could be convinced.
What are your thoughts on swing-sets? Comment below.