Pool Safety – Make The Kids Aware, But Don’t Scare Them
You want to talk to your kids about pool safety, but don’t want to make them afraid of the water. How can you find the balance – make them respectfully aware of the nature of water, and the inherent dangers, without making them scared to go in the pool?
No scary stories. Some parents might think that by telling their kids about the boy who drowned in the water and other scary tales, that they are making their child aware of how dangerous the water can be. But think about it – kids aren’t as able to logically think through things, so now all you’ve done is to make them afraid that something similar might happen to them.
Don’t get agitated. When the parent gets all worked up telling the kids about how they must watch out in the pool, it only escalates their anxiety. Instead speak calmly and clearly, and let them know you just want them to practice safe habits at the pool.
Emphasize their safety. In that calm voice, just say “I’m concerned for your safety when you’re at the pool, and I want you to understand that the rules we have for the pool are to keep you safe.” The kids will be more likely to listen and retain when you tell them why you are talking pool safety. The calm voice and demeanor will signal to the kids that this is a serious topic of discussion. Here are some great articles on the safety measures that need to be discussed, and how to keep the kids safe at the pool:
In a family meeting. If you sit by the poolside and try to give the kids their first talk about pool safety, they will be looking at the pool, and be distracted. Go inside, have everyone sit down in the living room, and calmly go over the rules for your family pool. Let them know what you expect of them, and make the safety concern a key item. If you see the kids pushing boundaries out at the pool, have another sit down about the rules, and if necessary, go over the rules a number of times until you see they are retaining what you’re saying.
Show them the safety features of your home pool. Tell the kids the gate has a lock on it, so they aren’t supposed to go into the pool area when you aren’t there. They may think of climbing the fence, but that’s not acceptable, because you don’t want them to go swimming when you aren’t there. Let them know it is fine to swim underwater, but point out the pool drain, and tell them that they should not swim near that. Don’t make it a scary place, by describing entangled hair, but just emphasize that it’s a place not to go.
Orient them to the community pool. The kids will likely spend a lot of time at the community pool with their friends. Take them for a visit, and point out things like the depth markers, which signal how deep the water is at that point. Let them know that one of your rules is that they only dive from the diving board, and never from the side of the pool. Show them how there is water sitting on the concrete by the side of the pool. Ask the kids what they think might happen if one of them ran through that puddle and slipped. Show them the lifeguard tower, and let them know that he is there to keep them safe, and they are to obey what he says.
Developing a safety culture for your kids around water doesn’t have to make them afraid at the pool. Having serious but calm discussions will help the kids learn to appreciate the need for safety around the water.
Kaitlin Gardner writes for AnApplePerDay.com. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature. She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.