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Chronicles of Parenting

Additional Pool Rules for Kids

With an August heat wave forcing us to find relief inside or in the water, it’s important to review pool rules with our kids and perhaps add to them.

For example:

No Running: Additionally, no skipping, jogging, or that speedwalking that’s actually faster than running and carries with it the exact same risk of tripping. Note that, yes, we see you doing this, and when you look back to see if we see you, you’re actually in danger of speedwalking right into the deep end. So, we will also add: please look where you’re going. 

No Roughhousing: This includes pushing, shoving, and all that WWF training (though we do admire how hard you’re working on that). We also discourage “epic medieval battles” whether you are brandishing pool noodle swords or invisible ones.  

No Screaming: First of all, this hurts our ears and it’s annoying while we’re trying to converse with another parent or attempting to read a few precious paragraphs of that book we never finished last summer. Second, your screams have the “kid who cried wolf” effect: we will eventually start ignoring them. Your dramatic pretend screams might “drown out” (pun intended!) actual cries for help. FYI, we are fine with a nice wholesome game of Marco Polo, but if you could keep your voices to more of a whisper while playing, that would be great.

No Food in the Pool Area: This includes the pretzels you snuck into the pool bag, the gummy bears hidden in your bathing suit pocket, the potato chips crumbled into the palm of your hand, and the bubble gum you flattened onto the roof of your mouth.

Absolutely No Peeing in the Pool: In fact, starting this summer, you will not be allowed into the pool until you pee in a cup. Please hand your cup to the lifeguard on duty upon arrival. The lifeguards are not thrilled about this new policy, but they weren’t happy about the gallons of pee in the pool either, so it nets out. While, of course, we believe in hydration, especially during hot summer months, we recommend not drinking any liquids while at the pool. It would be ideal if you refrained from swallowing your own saliva. Along these lines, do not drink the pool water, no matter how thirsty you get. Finally, for children who are not yet potty-trained, swim diapers are required. (In fact, we ask that your child wear three pairs of them at a time and that you change them every three minutes far, far away from other guests.)

Keep the Gate Closed: We ask this even though that latch is incredibly fiddly, extra-difficult for small hands to both open and close, and even more challenging for parents carrying a mountain of towels and floating devices. We don’t want any little ones to escape, nor do we want any deer, bears, or even the most well-meaning of coyotes to wander in.

No Splashing: We’ve noticed that when you excitedly splash water on one friend, you often end up also splashing water on everyone in a 50-mile radius. It might be difficult to understand until you’re older, but some adults do not want to get their hair, glasses, or even their bathing suits wet. Furthermore, we realize that jumping into the pool is the epitome of childhood exhilaration, but the resulting tidal waves around the periphery of the pool can be disastrous. If our laptops or phones get water-logged, we will have to dip into (read: withhold) your allowance for the next 10 years. 

Finally, the most important rule is: HAVE FUN! Please just do so quietly, slowly, and with minimal visits to the emergency room.

Jocelyn Jane Cox is a local freelance writer and author. She is working on a memoir about birth, death, figure skating and…zebras. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to her Highly Informative Newsletter.




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