Tips to Help Toddlers Be Polite at the Pool

Pool-TipsWe are in Las Vegas this week. We rented a room at a resort with a great pool. We put on our swim outfits. We headed down to the pool with our blow up thingee for the baby. We staked out a quiet place in main pool. We were ready to have a relaxing time playing with our little one when … a kid we didn’t know climbed OVER us to try and get in our baby’s blow up watercraft. Huh?

We didn’t see him coming because we were focused on our baby and making sure that he was safe in the water … that and getting cute photos. This kid just comes out of nowhere and literally touches my shoulder and puts his leg over mine until he is almost in my lap and reaches for the watercraft as my baby is floating in it. Thankfully, we had two parents present and were able to move the baby out of harm’s way while restraining the other child. The mother comes up after the event and apologizes while explaining that he really likes the toy. This would be a funny story if it didn’t happen at least three MORE times until we finally just left. Is this normal? Kids just do what they want while parents apologize after the fact and we’re just supposed to be okay with it?

Perhaps some parents are unaware of how to guide children during their encounters with other children. No worries. Here are my tips to help toddlers be polite at the pool:

#1 Anticipate. If you know that your child likes to run off, keep an eye on them. Head ’em off at the pass. We all know that toddlers and tweens are a handful, but that doesn’t mean that strangers are responsible for parenting your children.

#2 Be prepared. Bring toys, watercraft, etc. for your child to the pool area (and this really goes for planes, doctor’s offices, waiting rooms, etc.). It might not stop them from wanting to the play with other things, but it is nice to have something to help refocus their attention.

#3 Apologize. I don’t mean saying, “I’m sorry” and then offering an excuse and then allowing your child to continue the same behavior. I mean taking the time to acknowledge what happened AND make a plan to do something differently. For example,

I’m sorry for…
This is wrong because…
In the future, I will…
Will you forgive me?

#4 Change plans. If your child won’t behave appropriately at the pool, then perhaps they need to return to their room for a bit. Please don’t subject the whole pool area to a child what wants to crawl over strangers and endanger the lives of other children (he was reaching for my child’s watercraft as said child was sitting in it. The baby definitely could have fallen out). It’s hard to get up and change plans in the middle of on activity but our job as parents is to teach our children how to interact with other people. It’s tough work, but lessons must be learned.

Have fun and be safe at your local pool.

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