You can almost hear the groans after reading that title, can’t you? The “just five more minutes” refrains? The “but mu-u-u-m, I wanna stay in!” As much I’d like to help you with that, you’re on your own. That’s Parenting 101. But what I can help you with is assisting you in the physical part of getting out of the pool.
Where Are the Exits?
With a toddler, you must make sure that they know the location of the shallow end, stairs, or ladder. It’s one of the first things they should be taught about any pool they are going into. Hint: When you say it’s time to get out, the shallow end and steps are in the direction opposite the one in which they are heading. Redirect them towards the appropriate exit.
Use the Wall
As discussed previously, moving around in the pool is easily accomplished via hand-over-hand motion along the wall. If you aren’t in a hurry, let them take the long way around… it might make the actual pool exit easier.
Navigating the Ladder or Steps
Climbing up a ladder is much easier than climbing down. Ensure that you stay close in case your little one slips on the rungs. Steps are generally easy to navigate with a hand or handrail for balance. If you’ve gone through this exiting process before, you will be expecting the “accidental” fall back into the water. This may happen several times before a complete exit is accomplished.
Big Kids Don’t Need Ladders
Older children enjoy pulling themselves up onto the side of the pool to exit. They generally plant their hands on the side and pull up and swing themselves to a sitting position on the side or pull up and plant one foot and then the other to exit the pool. This requires much more coordination than the ladder or steps.
Okay, I’ll Help
Those moans and groans about getting out of the pool are perfectly normal. There is no magic formula for circumventing them, but here are a few ideas to try:
- Give a five minute warning – when the child knows that exit is coming, they are more likely to make the most of the rest of the time and get out with less fuss.
- Remind your toddler that part of the privilege of playing in the pool is following directions. This includes when they can get in or out.
- Try making a game of getting out. One step up, two steps back and so on until you are out of the pool.
- Play “Mother May I?” or “Simon Says” during the exit.