Since summer is in full-swing, if we are lucky, most of us our spending time at the pool and beach. But before packing up our bathing suits and sand-buckets, it’s important to lay down a few etiquette ground rules to guarantee enjoyment and safety for all.
Nothing is more upsetting than a child (or parent) not playing by the rules or disrespecting someone else’s property. We have enough stress to contend with during the school year, so everyone appreciates a little extra thoughtfulness during the summer.
Keep a Watchful Eye.
A word to parents – keep a close eye on your children at all times. It only takes a split second for something to go terribly wrong. If kids starts pushing each other or stealing toys, be the grown-up and step-in quickly to resolve the situation before it escalates into a scene from “Lord of the Flies.” Before heading to the playground, remind your children not to talk to strangers and to stay within earshot. If they go swimming, make sure they actually know how to swim and are being watched carefully by an adult.
Say “No” to Rough-Housing.
Outdoor fun should be playful and friendly. When children get too rowdy or aggressive, trouble can ensue – especially in the pool when innocent play can turn dangerous. Kids need to be conscious of each other’s personal space and learn to stop when someone says, “No.” They must understand that waiting patiently for their turn on a swing is just as important as graciously offering to share their pool toys when other children are around.
Make New Friends.
Pools and playgrounds are excellent venues for kids to meet new friends. Encourage your children to smile and introduce themselves to other children their age. They can invite them for games of hide-and-seek on the playground and Marco Polo in the water. Some of the best friendships are formed during summertime when kids are more inclined to express themselves outside of the confines of the school ecosystem.
Heat and fatigue can take a toll on young bodies, especially when they are distracted and having fun. Pack plenty of water to hydrate active children. Water is the key word here, not soda or other sugary beverages, which do nothing to replenish thirst. The water will help to restore and rejuvenate them and lessen the chances of illness due to overheating or exhaustion.
Handle Bathroom Matters.
Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and locate the nearest bathrooms. When swimming, don’t encourage your child to just pee in the pool (believe me, it happens!) – have them go beforehand or hold it in. Make sure all children who are not potty-trained, wear proper swim diapers. When on the playground, don’t let little Johnny just pull down his pants and pee on a tree. Take him to a park bathroom or hop in your car and run to the nearest restroom pronto!
Be Responsible for Your Mess.
Whether it’s a bottle of leftover sunscreen or a package of uneaten snacks, don’t leave the playground or pool without picking up after yourself and taking all of your trash, toys and belongings with you. Eat at the perimeter of the areas and teach your little ones to use the garbage can.
Lisa Gaché is a certified nationally recognized etiquette expert in Family, Home and Entertainment who provides practical solutions for modern day living to improve social skills and enhance lives. Considered by the entertainment community as the “go-to” resource on the how to’s of good manners, The Los Angeles Times named her company, Beverly Hills Manners the place to send your children to learn to be polite.” A self-described work-in-progress who wrestles daily with her brash New York roots and the casual Los Angeles lifestyle, Lisa delivers tips, tools and guidance for every person in every situation to help people refine themselves to better define themselves. Follow her on Twitter @90210manners