Friday, June 8, 2012

Swimming manners

It’s time to hit the pool, or beach, or lake, or any body of water that’s just made for the kind of hot summer days we’re having in our neck of the woods. But before you go, take a refreshing refresher course on how to have a good time—by using your manners, of course.

If you’re in water, you’re going to get splashed—that’s half the fun, especially if you’re a kid (or kid at heart). There’s really no way around this if the pool or beach is packed with families. If you envision a peaceful afternoon reading a paperback book pool/lakeside, consider moving away from the water, or at least away from young children.

Parents, set some ground rules: no splashing/squirting strangers or anyone in the face (unless face-splashing is part of the game, and all of the children know and are OK with it). And try to aim them away from child-free adults.

It hurts to get sand in your eyes. We all know this. Even children. And yet they still throw it. Pain can be a great teacher, but it can also ruin the whole day. For small children, set the rule of no throwing sand. And absolutely no throwing sand at strangers. That’s just mean!

We recommend leaving music at home entirely, unless you’re planning on bring earbuds (and staying far away from water), and what’s the fun in that? If you’re determined to bring music, keep the volume very low. Not everyone shares your taste in music.

Before you pack up the dog, learn the rules concerning animals at the pool, lake or beach.  And follow those rules.

Avoid bringing glass, because no one wants to step on broken glass, obviously. If you’re trying to go green and avoid using plastic, we recommend using stainless steel or aluminum containers. Of course, learn if food is allowed at your destination beforehand.

It comes down to this: teach your children to leave other people’s things alone. That might sound harsh. But so is watching middle-grade-aged children rifle through a series of complete stranger’s bags on the beach (while their parents looked on). Of course, if children see a raft/boat/squeaky dolphin that they absolutely must play with, then they certainly can ask permission if they can play with it—maybe they’ll even make some new friends that day. But marching up and taking something without asking is technically stealing. And super annoying. Children lack impulse control, but you can still start enforcing this rule at any age—just keep reminding them (gently—remember, they can’t help their undeveloped impulse control!) and helping them return items that have been “borrowed without permission.”

Clean up when you go
Leave no trash behind!

Have a great time!
A day by the water doesn’t have to be a joyless outing filled with strict rules. Just keep basic manners in mind and everyone will have a wonderful time!

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