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Being a lifeguard isn’t easy. Most often, it’s not the job of saving a life that’s hard, but it’s dealing with the people at the pool that is difficult. That’s why we are going to offer some suggestions on dealing both with kids and adults while you’re a lifeguard at a pool.

How to Deal with Kids

One of the biggest things you’re going to deal with as a lifeguard is dealing with rule-breaking kids. There are three ways that you can do this.

  • Have a Serious & Stern Look – Kids often will look up lifeguards before doing something wrong. They want to see if you are looking, particularly if you’ve already told them off. If they’re noticing your looking at them directly with a stern and serious expression without turning away, they won’t be as likely to break the rules.
  • Ask Them a Question – Once you have had to tell a child off, ask that they respond verbally for example, ask a question such as, “You aren’t going to jump off the side again, right?” 
  • Make Them Get Out – If the child keeps breaking the rules, make the child come over to where you are and get them to exit the pool. Then let them know that you’re not going to allow them to get back in until they can stop misbehaving.  if the parents are there, speak with their parents.

Remember that the rules are in place to help everyone stay safe. So you don’t want to discount the importance of the rules.

How to Deal with Adults

Adults are going to follow the rules of the pool, but they’re going to be extremely stubborn and complain. One of the best ways to deal with them is to give them answers that say things like, “I understand your point. Let me talk to my boss and see what we can do about that.”

For example, many adults will complain that the water in the pool’s too cold.  Here are some tips for dealing with this.

1. Feel the water

2. Respond to complaint – say, “It does feel like it’s cooler today than it usually is.” This shows that you are listening to their complaint.

3. Offer a solution – “My boss isn’t here right now, but I will ask that they check the water temperature. It could be because it rained last night (if it’s an outdoor pool), or because it’s early and it takes times for the heater to heat up the water (if it’s early in the morning). 

You may not have changed anything immediately, but you showed the person that you’re listening and that you are going to see what you can do. Sometimes, that’s all they want.

These are just a couple of tips that you can use for dealing with adults and kids while lifeguarding at a pool. You want to make sure that you are keeping everyone safe and that you’re validating the complaints of adults.