I remember how chaotic our first pool was, until we realized we (the adults) were in charge. It was after we established some guidelines for our new pool, that we began to really enjoy being poolside, and how much more we enjoyed having our friends and neighbors visit with us as well. The key to excellent pool enjoyment – POOL RULES.
It was when we decided that we were going to regulate what happened at our pool, that things really improved. So, to help you prepare for your new pool, here are some pool rules. They are meant to be guidelines for keeping things relaxed and joyful as you enjoy your pool. Most of these guidelines are for kiddos, but a few are for adults, and mostly they will help you keep cool and calm while having pool time. Here we go…
1. NO RUNNING, NO SHOVING – this is a really important rule for a number of reasons. Running around on a water covered hard deck, is just an accident waiting to happen. When things get exciting, and games are being played, the in and out of the pool is part of the fun – but running is absolutely forbidden. When a child slips and hits the deck, sometimes the deck hits back, and teeth are broken, feelings are hurt and everything comes to a halt. By demanding that pool players must walk – even though they will walk fast – you reduce the likelihood of an accident and a trip to Urgent Care. When someone is shoved, as into the pool, sometimes that doesn’t work so well, and knees, elbows and heads get cracked. Shoving should mean time out.
2. NO GLASS OUTSIDE THE HOUSE, EVER – If a glass happens to break and the shards get in the pool, or the wind blows that beautiful glass tabletop into the pool, you are going to have to drain the pool and clean it. NOTE: Never drain your fiberglass pool without speaking with the builder or a pool professional first. There is no easy way to clean glass out, no vacuum will get everything, no skimmer cloths or special filters will ever get it all. You must drain the pool and wipe it dry. If you use acrylic glass ware – (Discount stores and warehouse stores usually have a good selection in the summer), you will never have a problem. And, use metal or wooden or PVC tables. And beverage cans, not bottles.
3. DON’T BE THE BABYSITTER – It is a lot of fun to have your children’s friends over for fun in the pool, and that is one of the reasons you got the pool. But if you find yourself alone with ten laughing yelling happy kids, you will wear yourself out in an hour – and it’s dangerous for one person to try and watch that many children. If neighbors are bringing their children over for pool day, it is not unreasonable to expect some help monitoring the pool and the pool players. If Moms are expected to help out when their kids come over for pool fun, it will be a great experience for everyone, and you will have adult conversations – a big plus.
4. EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL – Sometimes things can get a little out of hand when kids are encouraged to let go – to have fun. Jumping and splashing and frolicking can get a little wild, and when things get wild, they get rough and someone gets hurt. A great way to enforce pool rules, is to make everyone get out of the pool, and stand poolside for five minutes… the first time. Ten minutes the second time, and three strikes everyone out for the day. Children need and expect someone to guide them, and you’re it. If players start hitting, or running or aggressively splashing, or crying, you have to throw water on the fire. Five minutes is like an hour to a child by the pool, and as you explain the reason for the time out, and they know the next one is ten minutes, they get the message and things slow down. This really works.
5. NO DIVING – Unless your pool is equipped with a diving board, and is built to accept divers, you need to strictly enforce a NO DIVING rule – and it’s serious. Diving into a pool from the side sets up a situation where a swimmer can get hurt. If the water is too shallow, or they are distracted, or if they are just being careless, they can hit the side or the bottom of the pool with potentially serious problems. Jumping, however is a different story. Feet first means they will have a cushion if they hit bottom, and cannonballs are a great way to show off – but just don’t jump on another swimmer. Keep it in the deep end and jump away.
6. BRING YOUR OWN TOWELS – If you decide to provide towels for everyone who visits your pool, every day, you will be very busy doing laundry. Just the quick phrase that you are welcome to come over and bring your own towels, will make your life so much more relaxing, and after all, that’s the plan, right?
7. CLEANUP IS FOR EVERYBODY – when the day is done, if you let everyone know just before it is time to shut down, that everyone has to help cleanup and pickup, your pool and deck will be nice and ready for the next day. Make it something everyone does, and make it a habit. Pool toys, equipment, eating and drinking utensils – many hands will make light work, and it is a very good way to bring an end to the day. No more, “please mom, just five more minutes” – time to get out we are all going to clean up. This rule works well to finish the day.
8. USE RULES TO ENJOY YOUR POOL – The most important rule is to enjoy your pool. It is the best family and friends time you can find. The rules are just there to make things more fun. You will have the best summers ever, when you think about all the fun and not the work, and if you start out with these easy rules, they become part of the routine and everyone is happy – especially the Pool Police.