Summer is arriving slowly out here on the west coast, but we have faith it will arrive. And with it will be water play of all sorts.It’s refreshing and fun to play in the water, but we also need to be careful with our children.
So, let’s take a look at some basic safety issues.
Water Safety With Our Kids
Canada is a land of water. We have oceans, lakes, pond, streams, and pools. And when the summer weather begins, we head to the water.
And that’s a good thing. But we are so comfortable with water it’s easy to forget that we need to be very careful with our children around the water.
No matter what body of water your child is in, you need to be vigilant. There is a myth that if our child gets into trouble they will yell and we will hear them. But, that’s not true. They quickly slip under the water and cannot make any noise that we hear. So, you need to be paying attention.
Typically, we are likely to be paying attention when we are at the beach because it’s not as commonplace as our backyard pool. The more regularly we swim at a certain location, the more relaxed we tend to get.
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 is accessible through the house or garage. The pool should have its own separate fence; which small children can’t open. It needs to be difficult to climb and have a latch that is at the top and too high 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 pool and 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.
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 who knows them should supervise.
Develop obvious rules: no pushing or holding kids underwater, no peeing in the pool; if you can’t touch bottom, 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.
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are now also in digital format.
For busy parents, digital is often much more convenient. You can pull out your phone on transit, in a waiting room or while holding a sleeping baby.
When we are raising children we know that we need to give them roots and wings. Then we need to consider their particular and unique temperament.
Who’s in Charge Anyway? Talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women. And Vive la Differénce takes a look at different temperaments of children and what that means for child raising.
All three are readily available on my website.
In the summer we think about reading great, fat beach books. But spending a little time also reading about parenting is not a bad idea.
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.