10 Things That Always Happen At The Pool With Kids


The sun is out, the kids are ready. Their sunscreen’s applied, goggles are on and you’ve got a bag full of waterguns and snacks. It’s pool day! Who doesn’t love a day lounging by the pool, really? But before you romanticize your afternoon by picturing yourself immersed in a gossip magazine with a frozen drink in your hand without a care in the world, remember these 10 things that always happen at the pool with kids

1. You will never have applied enough sunscreen. There’s all kinds of it, now – sprays, lotions, gels. There are ‘waterproof’ formulas that claim kids can stay in the water for hours without needing to re-apply. Still, you’ll re-apply. And still, your child will end up with a goggle-shaped paleness pattern around their eyes, outlined in firey red. And then you will be judged by the legions of professional sunscreen applicator parents whose alabaster-skinned children ate organic kale salad for lunch.

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2. Speaking of sunscreen, you’ll fret about the aerosol kind. Every year, there’s some new story in the news about sunscreens that are deemed unsafe or probably unsafe or yeah-you-might-as-well-just-slather-your-kid-in-Crisco-if-you’re-gonna-use-that-brand. Sprays are particularly under fire, not only because some reports say they can cause more harm than good, but because when you spray, it gets everywhere. The person sitting next to you will glare at you as a waft of 50SPF comes at them like an Arizona haboob. Your child will complain because some got in their mouth. Meh, you’re just doin’ your job, moms and dads.

3. There will be a game of Marco Polo. Or, its newer, updated for 2014 version: Hashtag, YOLO (yes, this is a real thing, my son played it the other day in the pool with his friends and I nearly choked on my drink when I realized what they were saying). Either one of these games has the same concept: One person swims around with their eyes closed, shouting “MARCO!” (or “HASHTAG!”) while trying to locate the others who are swimming away from the seeker, shouting, “POLO!” (or “YOLO!”) to indicate where they are. It’s super fun for the kids, but when you’re trying to read or carry a conversation, it ranks pretty highly on the ear-grating scale. And then, of course, you have to concern yourself with the adults at the pool who didn’t come with kids and who surely don’t appreciate the game going on for an eternity. It’s very stressful.

4. Your child will make friends with an adult in the pool and it will make you nervous.Not necessarily because you don’t trust the clearly perfectly normal adult (although there’s always that thought, too), but because you’ll stress that your kid is bugging them as they pepper away with questions: “Wanna watch me bellyflop? Can you time me from this side of the pool to the other? Will you throw this torpedo so I can go find it? Did you see my somersault?” You’ll feel like a very disengaged parent watching from the sidelines, but hey – you could use a break. Go with it.

5. There will be rude kids in the pool with your kid. Don’t you love how children are so good at making friends? My son sees a kid his age and instantly goes up with, “Hi! Wanna be my friend?” I wish adults did this more often, it would be a far better world. That said, be prepared for the kid that says, “No thanks” to your sweet baby’s offer of friendship. Or the one who won’t let your kid join in their game. Get that stink-eye ready, moms and dads, and hope that other parents will encourage their kids to be kind.

6. You’ll worry about drowning – and secondary drowning. Even if the deepest part of the pool is only four feet deep, you’ll fret if you don’t see your little one’s head bobbing around with everyone else’s. Or if they suck up some water unintentionally and start coughing. There are always stories about secondary drownings, too, where a child seems fine at first, but then later took a turn for the worse. As such, your worries will continue well into the evening hours as you eagle-eye your kid for symptoms like ‘fatigue’ but then rationalize your child is just tired from swimming all day.

7. You’ll be asked to swim, too. Hey, I happen to love swimming, myself. But there are times I don’t feel like playing cops and robbers or Dolphin/Minnow (my son first called this game Whale and Minnow and you can guess how long that lasted). There are times you’ll just want to stand there with your face soaking up some serious Vitamin D. There are days when your hair is very important and mustn’t be squirted, doused, or otherwise splashed in any way. This will not compute for your children, and y’know what, they’re probably right. You can always wash it…again.

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8. Someone will stub a toe, scrape an elbow, or get stung by a bee. And you won’t have a band-aid with you. Or in your car. Always pack band-aids. You are welcome.

9. Then, there’s the bathroom. Oh, the bathroom. It will not be pretty, people. It will not. There will be masses of wet toilet paper goo on the floor. There will be no discerning between pool water and urine in the bathroom stall. It will be a mess, and you will have to deal with it – that’s assuming your kids didn’t decide to just go in the pool. And this is a perfect segue to number ten…

10. Your child will not be able to re-dress themselves. It doesn’t matter what kind of swimsuit they’re wearing. Boys will not be able to pull up their wet trunks. Girls will not get their suit back up. There will be lots of whining, shimmying, shoving and otherwise shoe-horning your child back into their wet swim clothes. Can someone please get to work on a material that only gets more slippery when hit with chlorine? Right?

Related post: The Moms You Meet at The Pool

About the writer

Dynamom is lighting up the internet with a sensible flameless candle. Follow her on Twitter, chat with her on Facebook or follow her blog, The Dynamom.


Aimee Halihan Baum 2 years ago

#1 is so true!

Tiffany Casey 2 years ago

The worst part is getting out and cleaned off and dry and dressed. I hate doing it for myself, but now I have to for 1-2-3 kids at a time before I can even get to myself. plus I’m starving, and tired.

Lori-Lyn Graham 2 years ago

The rude kids – heartbreaking… My 5 year old had her princess makeover at Disney and later that evening we went swimming at the hotel pool. Three kids kept making fun of her and it ripped my heart out. My girl was too little and was feeling too pretty from her makeover to notice. I tried to ignore them – but I did tell them they were being very rude – of course no parents to be seen… little monsters.

Debbie Maydak 2 years ago

They immediately say Im hungry after teh 1st break, when you fed them a huge breakfast before you left.

JD Katsonis 2 years ago

My biggest fear, yes even greater than drowning, was that my daughter would poop in her suit. Occasionally we would spot her with a “tail”. Gross, I know. Sorry.

Erin Myers Cohen 2 years ago

Your baby, or WORSE, your toddler, will have an explosive swim diaper poop.

British American 2 years ago

Yes! My kids have swim class this week so I will add:

Another child starts playing with your kids’ pool toys. Your child is OK with that but eventually tries to join in by adding a ball to the bucket or splashing water out of the bucket. The other kid starts freaking out and repeatedly yells “NO!!!!” at your child for ruining their game! Apparently the bucket now belongs to the stranger kid who has made up his own rules of play. Random child’s parents are nowhere to be seen, so you now have to explain how we share and play nicely to an angry kid that doesn’t belong to you.

Victoria Goldstein 2 years ago

I’ll glare if you spray sunscreen

Dynamom 2 years ago

Thanks for featuring my piece today! Happy swimming, y’all! :)

Kelly 2 years ago

What about your kid (or a kid) but let’s be honest, your kid will find a parent with better snacks and ask for them.

Allison Diehl 2 years ago

I would add that someone will freak out over a dead bug in the pool or a live one hovering above it.

Waiting for September 2 years ago

#4 always. I can deal with the stranger dad but the guilt creeps in when it’s a dad from school or someone I slightly know. I know I should just get in the pool and join in but the chlorine, the cold, the water…

Marnie Chan Demeterio 2 years ago

My son’s name is Marco. He avoids the pool like the plague…

Marnie Chan Demeterio 2 years ago

You forgot: the ice cream truck will come and there will be a meltdown. If not from your kids (mine always bring a few dollars) then from someone else’s kids…because your kids have foresight and brought money or the other kid’s parents are heartless people LOL.

    Nicole Slaughter 2 years ago

    heartless??? people like you are the reason i avoid public places. when i am down to my last 3 dollars in the bank account, and i dig up change to pay my daughter’s way into a pool so she can enjoy herself, then i get called heartless because i can’t afford to buy ice cream too??? SMH….

Theresa Sorrentino Seitz 2 years ago

#7..omg…the whole time. ..im like “do you NOT see I brought my bff Kindle with me?” Lol…

Phoenix Fourleaf 2 years ago

Pool bathrooms make my skin crawl, but I feel good that my kids get out of the pool to pee.

Mari Kristine 2 years ago

Secondary drowning! I don’t sleep…

Kitty Hill 2 years ago

Thanks for introducing me to the nightmare of second drowning. Now I will panic every time my child takes a bath.

Jana Brunet Tucker 2 years ago

Oh my! This is our pool experience!

Christine DeRoss 2 years ago

I am so happy I have my own pool.

Elizabeth Dellevigne 2 years ago

shark and minnows is what we call it. scarier 😉

Debra Goetz Hydock 2 years ago

Love this!

Colleen McDonnell Benson 2 years ago

What about “Your children will turn into bottomless snack pits”? It may just be my kids, but we are getting to the point where I feel like I need to strap a dorm fridge to my back before we leave for the pool!

    Liz 2 years ago

    It’s definitely not just your kids! Mine do the same thing. I can pack 10 snacks for each kid and they blow through them in 20 mins!!!

Gina Iacano Ebbert 2 years ago


Amiria Savea 2 years ago

Soo good !!

Rebecca Clare Davies 2 years ago

My 10 month old fell asleep in her support floatation ring thing in the pool on Monday! It was definitely a first for me!

Jasmine Veretto 2 years ago

#3…really?? Oy.


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