With a heat wave in August forcing us to find relief indoors or in the water, it is important to review the pool rules with our children and perhaps supplement them.
Do not run: Also, no skipping, jogging, or brisk walking which is actually faster than running and carries 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 are actually in danger of a brisk walk into the depths. So we will also add: please watch where you are going.
No harshness: That includes pushing, shoving and all that WWF training (although we admire how hard you work on that). We also advise against “epic medieval battles”, whether you wield pool noodle swords or invisible swords.
No shouting: First of all, it hurts your ears and it’s annoying while you’re trying to converse with another parent or trying to read some precious paragraphs from that book you never finished last summer. Second, your cries have the “kid who cried wolf” effect: we will eventually ignore them. Your fake dramatic cries might “drown out” (pun intended!) the real cries for help. FYI, we’re fine with a good sound playing Marco Polo, but if you could keep your voice more whispery while playing, that would be awesome.
No food in the pool area: This includes the pretzels you slipped into the pool bag, the gummy bears hidden in your bathing suit pocket, the crumbled potato chips in the palm of your hand, and the chewing gum you flattened on the roof of your mouth.
Absolutely no peeing in the pool: In fact, starting this summer, you won’t be allowed in the pool until you pee in a cup. Please hand over your cup to the lifeguard on duty upon arrival. Lifeguards aren’t thrilled with this new policy, but they weren’t happy with the gallons of pee in the pool either, so it’s over. Although we of course believe in hydration, especially in the hot summer months, we recommend that you do not drink any liquids when you are in the pool. Ideally, you should refrain from swallowing your own saliva. In this sense, do not drink the pool water, even if you are thirsty. Finally, for children who are not yet toilet trained, swim diapers are necessary. (In fact, we ask that your child wear three pairs at a time and that you change them every three minutes far, far away from other guests.)
Keep the door closed: We ask that even though this latch is incredibly delicate, very difficult to open and close for little hands, and even more difficult for parents carrying a mountain of towels and floating devices. We don’t want little ones escaping, or deer, bears, or even the most well-meaning coyotes wandering around.
No splashing: We’ve noticed that when you enthusiastically splash a friend, you often end up splashing everyone within an 80km radius. It might be hard to figure out until you’re older, but some adults don’t want to get their hair wet, their glasses wet, or even their bathing suits. Plus, we realize jumping in the pool is the epitome of childhood euphoria, but the resulting tidal waves around the pool’s periphery can be disastrous. If our laptops or phones are waterlogged, we’ll have to dip into (read: withhold) your allowance for the next 10 years.
Finally, the most important rule is: ENJOY! Please do this quietly, slowly and with a minimum of emergency room visits.
Jocelyne 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 Twitterand subscribe to it Very informative newsletter.