Got kids? Then you have one hugely compelling reason to get a backyard swimming pool.
Actually, it’s more than one reason. Pools are beneficial to children in many different ways – some obvious, some not so much. If you’re a parent on the fence about getting a pool, we’ve put together a list of benefits to add to the “plus” column.
But first, it’s important to note one potential minus. Swimming pools, as we are reminded every year during Water Safety Month, can pose a serious hazard to children. Before installing a pool, make sure you have a safety plan, including barriers, floats, rescue equipment, and most importantly, swimming lessons.
With that said, here are ten advantages of getting a swimming pool for your kids. For many parents, these benefits make a swimming pool worth the cost and the extra precautions.
1. Your kids get more exercise (without knowing it). The health benefits of taking a dip in the pool are well documented, and a child can actually swim in the typical residential pool (as opposed to a crowded public pool, where they might be lucky to turn around without bumping into someone). That said, your kids don’t have to swim to improve their fitness level – just horsing around in the water is great exercise.
2. It’s probably cleaner than the public pool. If you need another reason to shun public pools, think about the germs. Wherever there are lots of people in a small body of water, there’s a risk of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) caused by bugs like Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Shigella. Let’s not even mention the fact that a shocking number of people pee in public pools. That’s not to say that private pools can’t also turn into cesspools without proper maintenance. But at least that’s under your control.
3. It’s convenient. Keeping the kids entertained can be a job in and of itself. If you find yourself driving all over town taking your children to activities, you can appreciate how convenient it would be to have a fun attraction right in your backyard.
4. It’s a reason to be more social. In an age when many kids are glued to electronic devices pursuing their own diversions, swimming is still an activity that’s most fun with a group. And for shy children who have a tough time making friends, being able to invite other kids over to swim is a great way to break the ice.
5. It gets them outdoors. Sometimes just getting kids out of the house is a big deal. On hot summer days, a swimming pool is one thing that can lure kids out of an air-conditioned house.
6. It keeps them close. When you have a pool, kids are more likely to hang out in your backyard rather than down at the mall or God-knows-where. This is huge for parents of teenagers, as well as grandparents who want to see the grandkids more often.
7. You get more family time. Swimming pools offer something for everyone. Maybe Mom likes to relax by the water, Dad enjoys barbecuing on the pool deck, and the kids want nothing more than to splash around. As long as everyone is doing what they like in the same place, that’s quality time.
8. Swimming helps with many health issues. Besides the fitness benefits that everyone can enjoy, swimming is great for children with specific health challenges. For example, kids with asthma may be less likely to suffer an attack while swimming compared to other types of exercise. Also, the weightlessness of water makes swimming ideal for kids who are obese, rehabilitating from injuries, or have disabilities that limit their mobility.
9. Bedtime goes more smoothly. Is bedtime a nightly battle at your house? With a swimming pool, kids are less likely to resist. Why? Because swimming is a notoriously tiring activity. In fact, after a day of swimming and spending time outdoors, don’t be surprised if they ask to go to bed earlier.
10. It creates memories. A pool isn’t necessary for a happy childhood. But for all of the reasons above, it can help create a positive environment for your kids as they grow up. You can’t put a dollar figure on that.
As you can see, there are some awesome advantages to getting a pool for your kids. However, it’s important to note that there are also considerable downsides, many of which aren’t obvious to the uninitiated. It’s up to you – as a homeowner and a parent – to weigh both sides of the argument and make the right decision for your family.