Thursday, April 26, 2012

Power parenting

So Little Brother is in the backyard, playing soccer with two of the Street Urchins (boys his age who live down the block.). I'm listening with half an ear to the goings-on, since twice already this week that soccer ball has scored a direct hit on the pool filter, disconnecting the hose.

And my mom had dinner all ready, so she headed out the back door to call Little Brother in. When he didn't follow, I called him out the window and that's when my mom told me that one of the boys was telling Little Brother to stay outside.

I've found this child ignoring his own mother more than once when she's come to tell him it's time to go. He has flat-out refused to leave with his older sisters one day when they were sent to get him.

In a few short weeks it'll be summertime, and all the Street Urchins will want to swim in my pool. I hate being the Bad Cop all the time, but somebody has to. With a pool in the yard, there are safety issues. You have to supervise and know who's there and who's in the water. You have to make sure they play and swim safely. (And you have to require kids who live on your block to bring their OWN towels.)

I think, before summer, I need to come up with a game plan. Suggestions are welcome.

UPDATE:  Thanks to some GENIUS suggestions in the comments and from a neighbor, I've worked up this template.  Sharing it here for other families in my spot--and I'll amend this as necessary.  But kids will have to leave one with me before they swim here.


Nancy said...

I know that having a pool in the neigborhood makes you a huge target!! Safety definitely has to be number one! Perhaps you could designate one particular day of the week as the "pool day"...everyone must bring their own towel and something to share (snacks or drinks). could do two days a week, say from 1 to 3. I would not leave it open ended to where anyone can show up at anytime just to swim...that's just not fair to you and your family. Set limits and don't hesitate to send somebody home if they aren't following the rules. Somehow...I don't think you have a problem with doing that!!

Bean said...

I like Nancy's idea. Our neighbor across the street did a similar thing, they actually did swim lessons and had open swim in the pool two or three afternoons per week. The rest of the time it was family only. It worked well, everyone had a good time, and the family also enjoyed their pool.

As to kids who don't listen. Set the rules the first time over, explain that they have to listen and do as they are told. They get one chance, and after that a one week ban from your house, or whatever time length you think is suitable. Kids are pretty smart and most do not like to be banished :)

Sara said...

I like Bean's advice. I was going to say something similar: Over here, we follow the rules. You follow my rules, and that means you leave when your mom calls you! And then banish 'em. I'm always kind of pleased, in an evil way, when I have to banish the neighbors because my house is so peaceful afterward!

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

We don't do much "family" swim in the pool because my kids are so spread out in age. That means I let the neighbors in a good part of the time.

Believe me, I send that child home as soon as I find out someone is looking for him. It's not something I put up with. But the mom comes up the block looking for him. I think next time I see her I will hand her a paper with my home and cell numbers and tell her to just call. Then I can send the child home. She was up here last night 1 1/2 hours after we sent him home...who knows where he one looked for this child from 4 until almost 8 PM?!

Parents like that are the reason we'd rather have the kids playing over HERE.

nicole said...

I think you have some good suggestions here. We have a neighbor kid that is having a little too much influence on my middle son. Just inappropriate remarks and actions here and there that give me pause. So I'm trying to encourage playing over here, but he doesn't always like dealing with my younger kids and I don't allow too much exclusion. Also, neighbor kid has a trampoline and we do not, so the appeal is lacking on our side of the street sometimes. I'd be okay if he decided he didn't want to play with my boys that much.

Michelle said...

How about a list of pool rules that the kids have to have a parent sign before they can use your pool - things like hours they can come over, a traffic light signal indicating if guests were permitted or not, emergency contact information? You can include your phone number and other information for them to keep on their fridge.

Or charge $1 per swim.