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Pools & Aquatic Centers - Handling Rowdy Kids Process Template

This template outlines the process for maintaining the safety of the pool area when managing rowdy kids.

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Pools & Aquatic Centers - Handling Rowdy Kids Process Template

This template outlines the process for maintaining the safety of the pool area when managing rowdy kids.


Why We Have This Process

We are dedicated to providing a safe, enjoyable, and respectful environment for all visitors. This commitment extends to addressing the challenges that can arise when children exhibit rowdy or unruly behavior. This process is designed to equip our staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to manage these situations effectively, ensuring the safety and well-being of all patrons, including the children themselves.

We get it — kids get excited about getting the chance to go to the pool. But managing rowdy behavior among children is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps maintain a safe environment by preventing accidents or injuries that can occur when children run, push, or engage in other hazardous activities. Secondly, it ensures that all visitors can enjoy their time at our facilities without disruption. Lastly, by addressing rowdy behavior promptly and appropriately, we teach children the importance of respecting others and following rules, lessons that are valuable both inside and outside the pool area.

This process is not about punishing children but about fostering an atmosphere of respect and safety. Through understanding, patience, and clear communication, we can guide children towards more positive behaviors, making our pools and aquatic centers welcoming spaces for everyone.

Identifying Rowdy Behavior

Examples of Rowdiness

Rowdy behavior among children at community pools and aquatic centers can manifest in various forms, posing safety risks and disrupting the enjoyment of other visitors. Here are some definitions and examples to help staff identify and address these behaviors effectively:

  1. Running on Pool Decks: A common form of rowdy behavior, running can lead to slips, falls, and injuries, not just for the child involved but also for others around them.
  2. Excessive Splashing: While some splashing is expected in a pool, excessively targeting other swimmers or bystanders can be distressing and unsafe, especially for young or nervous swimmers.
  3. Diving in Shallow Areas: Diving in non-designated or shallow areas of the pool can result in serious injuries and poses a danger to the diver and others.
  4. Horseplay and Roughhousing: Engaging in aggressive play or physical altercations, such as pushing, shoving, or dunking, can lead to accidents and injuries.
  5. Ignoring Pool Rules: Disregarding lifeguard instructions or posted pool rules, such as not using slides or diving boards properly, increases the risk of accidents.

Children becoming overly competitive, challenging rules, or ignoring lifeguards' instructions also signal that interventions may be needed to prevent accidents or conflicts. Recognizing these signs early allows staff to intervene promptly, ensuring the safety and well-being of all pool users. 

Response Strategies

Setting Clear Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries is an essential initial response to managing rowdy behavior among children at community pools or aquatic centers. When a child begins to display signs of rowdy behavior, it's important for staff to approach them calmly and assertively, making it clear that safety and respect are non-negotiable. Here's how to handle the situation effectively:

  1. Approach Calmly and Assertively: Make your presence known by approaching the child(ren) calmly but with confidence. Your body language should convey authority but not aggression. This approach helps in gaining the child's attention without escalating the situation.
  2. Communicate at Their Level: Physically lower yourself to the child's eye level. This non-threatening stance makes you more approachable and helps the child feel respected and heard. It's crucial to maintain eye contact and use a firm yet gentle tone of voice.
  3. Set Clear Boundaries: Clearly explain the rules of the pool area and why they are in place. Use simple, concise language that children can easily understand. Emphasize the importance of these rules in keeping everyone safe and ensuring that all visitors can enjoy their time at the pool.
  4. Explain Consequences: Let them know the consequences of continuing their disruptive behavior in a way that they can understand. This could range from taking a break from the pool to being asked to leave for the day, depending on the severity and frequency of their actions.

By setting clear boundaries and communicating effectively with children, staff can create a safe and welcoming environment for all visitors, ensuring that everyone enjoys their time at the community pool or aquatic center.

Redirecting Energy 

Engagement techniques are crucial for managing rowdy behavior among children in community pools and aquatic centers. These strategies aim to redirect children's energy positively and involve them in activities that promote safety and fun. Here's how to implement these techniques effectively:

  1. Positive Redirection: When children display rowdy behavior, it's often a sign of excess energy. Staff can redirect this energy into more positive, structured activities that are safe and appropriate for the pool environment. Suggesting games or swimming contests that require following specific rules can channel their energy constructively.
  2. Involvement in Activities: Engage children by involving them in pool activities that capture their interest and require their active participation. Activities like water polo, relay races, or treasure hunts under supervision not only keep them occupied but also teach valuable lessons in teamwork and respect for others.
  3. Offer Choices: Giving children choices between activities can empower them and reduce instances of rowdy behavior. By allowing them to choose, you acknowledge their preferences and interests, which can lead to more enthusiastic participation.
  4. Encourage Peer Support: Encourage children to work together in teams or pairs for certain activities. This fosters a sense of community and responsibility among them, often leading to a natural reduction in rowdy behavior as they focus on cooperation and achieving common goals.

By employing these engagement techniques, staff can effectively manage rowdy behavior in a positive manner, ensuring the pool remains a safe and enjoyable place for all children to play and learn.

Involving Parents or Guardians

Approaching parents or guardians is a delicate yet crucial step in managing rowdy behavior among children at community pools and aquatic centers. It’s essential to communicate concerns and observations effectively to ensure a cooperative and positive outcome. Here’s a guide on when and how to approach parents or guardians:

  1. Timing: Choose a moment when the parent or guardian seems relaxed and open to conversation, avoiding times when they are busy or the child is having a meltdown. It might be beneficial to suggest a brief meeting at a convenient time.
  2. Privacy: Ensure the conversation happens in a private or semi-private space to avoid embarrassment or defensiveness, which can arise from public confrontations.
  3. Factual and Non-Confrontational: Begin the conversation with positive observations about the child, then gently introduce the specific behaviors noted, emphasizing the situation's impact on safety and enjoyment for all. Use specific examples and avoid labeling the child.
  4. Collaborative Tone: Express your commitment to the child's well-being and enjoyment of the pool. Ask for their insights into what might be causing the behavior and discuss possible strategies that can be implemented both at the pool and at home to address the behavior.
  5. Solutions-Oriented: Focus on finding solutions together, offering suggestions for how behavior can be managed in the future. It’s important to convey that the goal is a positive and safe environment for their child and all other visitors.

By approaching the conversation with empathy, understanding, and a focus on solutions, staff can foster a collaborative relationship with parents or guardians to effectively manage children's rowdy behavior at the pool.

Consequences for Continued Misbehavior

In situations where rowdy behavior among children does not improve despite initial interventions and engagement with parents or guardians, it becomes necessary to escalate the situation and enforce consequences to maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for all pool visitors. Here’s a guide on escalation and enforcement:

  1. Document Behavior: Keep a record of the behavior incidents, including dates, times, and actions taken. This documentation will support any decisions made and help in communicating with parents or guardians.
  2. Clear Communication of Consequences: Inform both the child and their parents or guardians about the specific consequences of continued misbehavior. This could include time-outs from certain activities, a temporary ban from the pool, or other actions consistent with the pool's policies.
  3. Immediate Escalation: If behavior poses an immediate risk to the safety of the child or others, escalate the situation by removing the child from the pool area and involving a supervisor or manager to discuss the next steps with the parents or guardians.
  4. Enforcement: Consistently apply the outlined consequences if the behavior does not improve. It’s crucial that all staff are aligned on the enforcement of these rules to ensure fairness and consistency.
  5. Review and Adjust: Regularly review the situation with supervisors and, if necessary, adjust the approach or consequences based on the child’s response and feedback from parents or guardians.

By following a structured approach to escalation and enforcement, community pools and aquatic centers can ensure that all visitors enjoy a safe and pleasant environment, while also supporting the positive development of children’s social behaviors.


Have Questions?

In conclusion, effectively managing rowdy behavior among children at community pools and aquatic centers is crucial for ensuring a safe, enjoyable environment for all visitors. Our process aims to address such behaviors through early identification, clear communication of boundaries, positive engagement techniques, and appropriate escalation when necessary. It's important for all staff to feel supported and empowered to implement these strategies confidently. 

If you have questions or require further guidance on handling specific situations, please do not hesitate to speak with your supervisor.

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