Supervising Kids: Man to Man or Zone Defense?

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Supervising the playtime of children is one of the most important responsibilities of parents.  Let’s face it, kids move fast and sometimes even get into things that they shouldn’t be getting into.  Just sayin’.

Kids by the Water

The more children you have, the more challenging it can be to keep a close eye on their activities.  So here are a few things to think about:


Communication between adults:  We have three kids now, so it’s important that Susan and I communicate effectively when it comes to watching them.   Do the math.  When you’re outnumbered, one adult must oversee at least two of the small humans.  As a general rule, one adult watches the older two and the other watches the youngest.  The key is make sure, as parents, you know who is watching who.   Ever been to a playground with 20 crazy kids climbing everywhere?  You know what I’m talking about. It takes alert parents to keep an eye on their little angels.

Important:  Never assume that your spouse or any other adult is watching your kids.  You are responsible for their safety at all times.  Parking lots and crowded public places are two areas where adults need to take their alertness to a higher level.  Please communicate effectively and stay at the top of your game.  Here are two strategies for supervising those fast-moving tykes.

Two strategies for supervision

Man-to-Man Coverage

The most common supervision technique  is Man-to-Man coverage (this is a sports term and is not meant to be sexist in anyway) .  Simply defined:  adults are assigned to specific kids, like at the playground or beach.  The parent never lets the child out of his/her sight.  Where the child goes, so follows the parent.

Zone Defense

The alternative to Man-to-Man coverage is when adults play “Zone Defense”.  This method works best in confined areas like when your inside the house or in places where all zones are covered and a child can’t escape from the playing field.  Here’s an example: Daddy could be in the kitchen slaving away while Mommy is sitting on the couch watching TV and eating Bon Bons. (Isn’t it great how writers have the power to skew reality?).

Anyway, as the kids roam from zone to zone (kitchen, living room), the parent supervises the children when they enter their respective zone.  The key to this game is to influence your children into being in your spouse’s zone most of the time.

Child Safety Trumps Everything!

So whatever method you choose, please communicate with your spouse effectively about who’s watching who, and please, never take supervision for granted.   This may sound like common-sense advice  but there is no topic more important then ensuring our children are safe at all times.

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