I recently attended a family get-together that involved a lot of adults, a lot of toddlers, and a pool. Any time my young kids enter a pool area, I’m immediately on high alert. From one kid to the next to the next, I’m constantly scanning the area and making sure they’re all safe.
Needless to say, a day at the pool is not relaxing for me.
On this particular day, a family member asked why I was watching not only my kids but the other kids at the pool so closely as well. After all, there were so many adults around. I explained that I was watching them so closely precisely because there were so many adults around.
It was a private pool with no lifeguard, meaning there was no designated adult to keep the kids safe.
Have you ever noticed that when your husband gets off work or you take the kids over to Grandma’s, you almost immediately relax and let your guard down a little bit? We assume that because there are other people around, we don’t need to watch the kids quite as closely. Someone else is there watching them too, after all. Therein lies the problem. Everybody else is usually thinking the same thing.
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What does this lead to? Plenty of adults, none of whom are actually watching the kids. Everyone assumes the person next to them is doing it.
That’s why I always have my guard up when we have a gathering at the pool.
I never assume somebody else is watching them unless I ask them to.
Sometimes, my husband and I take a page out of Susie Allison’s book (you may know her as Busy Toddler). When we’re in a situation where the kids need to be watched closely, we sign on and off watch just like airplane pilots.
“Your Ellie,” I’ll announce.
“My Ellie,” he’ll respond to confirm he’s on watch.
It ensures there’s no miscommunication, and most importantly, it keeps our kids safe.
Next time you’re in one of these situations, please don’t assume somebody else is watching your kids. A child’s life may depend on it. It can be tempting to relax and socialize with the other adults.
Before you do, make sure somebody is on kid watch at the pool.
Someday, I’ll enjoy a cold drink again while I float on a raft like I did pre-kids. I’ll soak in the sun, and maybe I’ll even catch a nap. Right now though, I’m not in that season of life, and that’s OK.