01 Jul
Play Date Pool Etiquette

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My daughter Sadie is 11 and our neighbor’s daughter Alexis is 9.  Alexis’ grandparents have a pool and Alexis invited Sadie to come swim.  Alexis is used to getting her way so her grandpa said yes. This is the first time in 2 years that Sadie has been invited to swim. I said only 30 minutes because we had plans that day.

My daughter Sadie doesn’t swim well and I was under the impression that the grandma would watch them swim, but based on what my daughter told me, I don’t think they were supervised well. Plus, Alexis begged Sadie to jump off the diving board after I told both of them she had to stay in the shallow end.

I am not technically invited to go to their house, but feel like I need to if she goes swimming. And they may not really want Sadie over there and are just letting Alexis have her way.  So do you think I should go over there to watch her swim? She was invited today and Sadie begged but I just said no. I don’t want to annoy Alexis’ grandparents. What do you think?


Mi Pool, Tu Pool?


Dear Mi Pool, Tu Pool,

My grandparents had a pool growing up and I loved inviting friends over to swim. And I think they loved it too because my grandmother would always bring us ice tea with real mint leaves poolside.  Real mint leaves! Can you imagine that kind of service today?

And yes, there was that small incident when I rode my bicycle into the pool but overall it was pretty stress-free and enjoyable for them having me and my friends over.

I wouldn’t assume that Alexis’ grandparents don’t want Sadie over. If only there was some kind of telepathic way to know for sure. Wait – I’ve got it. And this is better than mental telepathy – the telephone!

Just give them a call and say, “Alexis has invited Sadie over to swim. I wanted to make sure it’s okay and not a bother for you.” And if they agree to have her over with a hearty, “No problem!” then please say the following. “Sadie isn’t a strong swimmer so would you mind if I came over and watched the girls in the pool?” I can imagine them being very relieved that you are taking on the responsibility and they don’t have to worry about their safety in the pool.

And that is really the most important part because WATER IS DANGEROUS.  Please take it from someone whose sister almost drowned, you can not be too cautious around water.  Children (even strong swimmers) need to be watched in the pool because anything can happen.  If possible, I would also sign Sadie up for some swim instruction as soon as possible.  Then both of you can feel more comfortable when she is in the water.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

5 Responses to “Play Date Pool Etiquette”


Comment by Karin W.

I’m a little nervous over pool playdates without me there even at a pool with a lifegaurd. My 9 year old’s friend invites her to the pool we belong to frequently. I always go too – sometimes I’ll socialize with the friend’s mom but not always – I’ve got 2 other kids who like the pool too. FWIW – I don’t invite other kids to the pool without parents either.

I would strongly recommend swimming lessons for your daughter too. It’s a safety thing. I prefer the 2 week compacted lessons to the once a week lessons – the daily repetition helps. My 6 year old just did a 2 week swim lesson and went from “I won’t get into the pool even if I can touch without my swimmies and don’t even think about getting me to put my face in the water” to diving board ready – it just clicked.


Comment by Cait.

If there is water, firearms, knives, open flame, any combustibles, or high speed chasing involved in a play date, the parents of all children participating are allowed to be there.


Comment by MommyTime.

And if they come back with a very generous kind of comment, like, “oh, we are retired and just love to have the kids around; why don’t you use the time for yourself?!” then perhaps you could ask that Sadie simply wear a life vest? My sister has a pool, and we insisted on life vests for all the young swimmers unless an adult was actually in the pool actively supervising. My not-strong-swimming son once went to the bathroom, came back to the pool, and jumped right into the deep end. Fortunately I was in the pool. But drowning is incredibly quick, generally silent, and not limited to small children. I totally agree with Marinka that you should simply talk to the grandparents on the phone. Because Sadie is older than their granddaughter, it probably hasn’t registered for them that she may not be a very strong swimmer, since they are used to a child who has grown up around a pool.

MommyTime Reply:

oops, sorry. I agree with Kelcey here. 🙂


Comment by Roshni.

Lot of ESP going on here! I agree with Kelcey; just call and clarify!

Consider Checking Out...