Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to preschool aged children at the Crestwood Hills School. I read ‘See Me Bubble’ and then we talked about general pool rules and safety.
While the children are quite young, I was pleasantly surprised by how many safety rules they already knew – basics like don’t run near the pool, never push anyone in, don’t jump on top of someone, don’t pretend you need help when you don’t…
I strongly encourage parents to talk with their children about pool safety on a regular basis. Children love to participate in activities where they get to ‘be the lifeguard’ or ‘be the policeman’ or ‘be the chef’. It’s great to discuss rules that are specific to your home and your family. Especially if you have a pool yourself.
What sort of things would you want your children to remember about pool safety? Here’s one I can offer up as a ‘MUST REVIEW RULE.’ If your child sees another child in the water in trouble, they should NEVER jump in and try to rescue the child in danger. Most times I ask children what they should do if they see another child in trouble, they immediately say ‘jump in and save him’.
Of course, that’s what any caring child would say but as we know, it’s the opposite of what a child should do. So it’s a great idea to have that conversation with yours and ask them what they think they should do and then gently but firmly correct them towards always going for help. This can be particularly relevant if you have more than one child and the big one is always looking out for the little one.
Some other rules to include are what to do if your child is at someone else’s house and there’s a pool. This can present your child with having to make a choice when you’re not around so you want to be super clear about what you expect, what’s okay and what’s not okay.
By the way, when my children were younger, I always, always asked any new potential playdate parent if they had a pool and what their rules were. Then I clearly laid out mine, which was pretty much that my child was never to go in the pool without me there (for families I didn’t know well).
The more we have these conversations, the more water safety stays in the forefront of our children’s minds and the more aware they’ll remain when they’re around pools and water.