Now that the weather is becoming increasingly summer-like I wanted to talk about backyard swimming pools. Let’s enjoy them but make sure they are also safe for our children.
But first, I want to talk about child temperament. We know that all kids are unique and different and need different parenting solutions. So let’s take a quick look at the mini guide e-book for your summer reading.
Are all four-year-olds alike? Absolutely not!
Sarah is shy, Jared is bossy and Pat is Easy-Going. What do we need to know about different temperaments?
Every child is unique and different. My mini guide e-book, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments addresses some of the temperaments we see in our kids.
I looked at my two children who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a textbook example of different. Now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments. The guide is available on my website.
Swimming Pool Accidents are Preventable
When the weather gets hot and muggy, there’s nothing like a dip in the pool. If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in the backyard, so much the better. While swimming pools are great, there are some safety factors parents need to consider.
Just as pools and fun go together, pools and accidents also go together. I really hate to pick up my local newspaper and read about another child who has drowned in the backyard pool. It’s usually preventable and always a tragedy.
It is easy to forget that children can drown in a backyard pool as easily as in the ocean or a lake. We also know that babies can easily drown in the bathtub when Mom turns her back for a minute or runs out to quickly answer the phone. Like the tub, the pool becomes familiar. It’s easy to overlook the potential danger and it’s easy for parents to let down their guard.
So what are the considerations when you have a backyard pool? Even if you don’t have young children, kids come to visit so the rules still need to be in place. As a matter of fact, when it’s visiting kids you need to be extra vigilant because they won’t know the rules and expectations. They may be extremely excited at the possibility of swimming in someone’s backyard and you are not aware of their ability or experience around water and water play.
• Pools should be enclosed by a fence; in most municipalities this is the law. But often, the fence encloses the whole backyard, which means the pool itself is accessible through the house or garage. The pool should have its own separate fence, which small children can’t open. The fence needs to be difficult to climb and have a latch that is at the top and difficult for kids to reach. Then unsupervised youngsters (or for that matter dogs) can play safely in the yard.
• Pool play needs to be supervised. Once children can stand easily in the deepest part of the pooland can swim, they don’t need an adult on the deck at all times but no one should ever swim alone and an adult should be within easy call. These rules will vary depending on the depth of the water in the pool. A pool with a deep end requires more vigilance.
• Don’t leave to answer the phone. Either let it ring, install a phone jack outside or use your cell. You think you will just be gone for a minute but we all know that calls can extend in length before we know it.
• Make sure visiting children have permission from their parents. It’s also a good idea to insist that all children bring their own towels (thus ensuring that they go home to tell their parents and reducing your laundry pile).
• When there are visiting children you don’t know well or lots of children, an adult should supervise‑
• Develop obvious rules: no pushing or holding kids underwater, no peeing in the pool; if you can’t touch you need an adult with you. Make sure you go over the rules with the kids before they get in the pool. If they are returning friends, just have them tell you the rules to remind them of the expectations.
• Pools are also lots of fun and can be the focus for many a summer barbeque. Invite friends and colleagues over on a sweltering, muggy day and let them relax, cool off and have fun.
• A swim at bedtime is a great way to ensure a good sleep. As a matter of fact swimming is good exercise for the whole family.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.