Pools and Kids: fun times or headaches?
- July 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm #23649
Growing up, I always wanted a pool in my backyard. As my son has grown he too has taken well to swimming, and naturally I have started to think that putting a pool into our backyard might be a great idea. On one hand I see a great chance for family exercise, social gatherings, summertime relaxation, and so on. On the other hand I see a huge liability. What if he becomes too comfortable, and tries to sneak in without supervision? What about when he has friends come over, or other kids in the neighborhood want to use it?
Does anyone have any experience with this? Do you think the worry/risk is worth the fun? If so, what precautions (outside of a fence) do you recommend?
Any advice is appreciated!July 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm #23651
My husband and I priced a pool out last year for many of the reasons you noted. My sister has a pool and it makes for wonderful social gatherings with her children (they have 4 kids and have had a pool since the first child was 4). They have a locked gate around the pool and have never had any problems. Their oldest is 12. As a parent, my concern is more when the kids are 18 and decide to have a pool party while you are away but that’s not the real reason we didn’t get a pool. In our case, installing a pool was going to run us around $90K about twice the cost of a normal installation (we are close to wetlands and have lots of trees to cut down, etc, etc). We decided that for that price, we could put a down payment on a vacation home and get the same benefits, it would just be a longer wait. So we are saving for that…
That being said, depending on where you live, I HIGHLY recommend a heated pool. On the east coast, my sisters pool gets about 4 months of use. Non heated pools would likely get about 2 months. Although that is an added expense to keep in mind. If you have a pool, you will definitely be entertaining more so that’s important to factor in too. My sister often comments on how expensive summer is between feeding various kids and quenching the thirst of various adults. But, I can say, she would NEVER change it. Most days in the summer, she knows where her kids are and always has. She entertains a lot because of the kids, but doesn’t have to drive them from one house to the next either, everyone comes to them. As her kids age, she will always have an attraction. I suspect when her kids are older and come home from college, they will hang by the pool in the summer (we hope having a summer home will have the same impact) and as her kids get married and have their own kids, they will surely bring their kids to her home for summer swims. I personally was not as fortunate to have a pool growing up but I know in the summer I often flocked to homes with pools and I know my friends did too. If my sister lived closer, I’d spend my weekends there!
If you haven’t yet, price it out to see if it can be all that you want. I also caution to make sure you plan to stay in your home awhile as pools are known for decreasing property value (which I’ve never understood – well, I do, but I’m a swimmer). Whatever you decide, as a former lifeguard and swim instructor for many years, swimming is a wonderful activity everyone can enjoy!July 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm #23652
One more comment, if you do get a pool and decide to have a kid party, definitely get a lifeguard! I used to do that when I was in high school and I think it brought a lot of comfort to parents for an inexpensive fee.July 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm #23653
If you’re still unsure about whether your son (and you!) are ready for the whole pool experience, why not start with one of those small, above ground pools. Many are very easy to assemble yourself. While they still require supervision, they are much more managable (not to mention, far less pricey!). Starting out small with something like this might be a good first step if you want some more time to decide on your pool approach. You can also seed the concept of pool safety through this experience. And, you’ll still stay cool for the summer!July 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm #23654
Thanks, Mary. That is some great advice – I appreciate your experienced perspective!
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