Rules are rules, and when they are broken, playing privileges are an easy one to take away. Here are some ground rules you may want to start with.
1. Pay Attention to Clothing
Children should also be careful about the clothing they wear. Loose-fitting clothing is best, as it is easy to move around in, but they should also avoid anything that can catch on equipment, such as clothing with strings or unnecessary hanging fabrics. Cute little purses and jewelry are best left inside — a necklace even introduces the risk of strangling.
2. Proper Use
Tell your children how to properly use all equipment, and hold them to that proper use. No sliding headfirst. No climbing on equipment with little regard for what side of the safety rail they should be on. No launching off of swings or jumping off the top of structures. Roughhousing, while an important part of children playing, should never take place where other children are using moving equipment.
If you have a trampoline in your yard, enforce a one jumper at a time rule and strictly prohibit dangerous stunts like launching off the trampoline or jumping from a higher structure and landing on its surface.
3. Eliminate Obstacles
While it's your job to set up the playset so that it is well away from obstacles that can become hazards, your children need to know not to leave thing lying around as well. It doesn't take long for the whole play area to become cluttered with toys, sports equipment, bicycles, and who knows what else if you don't address this ahead of time.
Stay on them because it may take a few times — or a few painful tumbles — before they start remembering. And after every play session, have them put their toys away where they belong. It is a good lesson.
4. Note the Weather
Your children should always take the weather into account before they play on the equipment because different weather introduces different hazards. If it has been raining, metal slides become way too fast, and even wooden beams and steps become slippery, creating a risk of a painful fall.
Metal or even plastic equipment can become extremely hot to the touch on a blazing sunny day — metal slides were notorious for this when I was a kid. Instruct them to touch it with their hand before using if it is hot out.
5. Safe Jumps
Children will often bound off the equipment time and time again, and while it may make us wince a little bit, it's a natural tendency for kids to do this. As long as they aren't jumping from anything too high, just make sure they are jumping properly.
Instruct them to always look out for passersby before they bail, and teach them to land square on two feet without locking their knees. A slightly bent knee for absorbing the impact is always best.
More rules and guidelines may come into play as you notice your kids pushing boundaries that you never would have even considered — that's just what kids do. This is why adult supervision is so essential. But these are some decent ones to start with, and with a little work on everyone's part, your yard can become a safe place for everyone to play.