The lazy days of summer are upon us. So is a major heat wave. What better to do than lounge by the pool or spend the day at the beach?
I think this is a great time to remind everyone that there is such a thing as summer etiquette. Now, I'm not talking about where to place the plastic forks and knives on the picnic table. Rather, I am talking about the dos and don'ts of enjoying your summer days, while respecting others who are trying to do the same.
I must credit my friend Lisa who came up with this idea for a topic as we lounged by her pool discussing our biggest summer pet peeves.
Some of the dos that I would suggest for beachgoers:
Respect personal space. When parking your group, remember to leave a reasonable amount of space between you and other groups that have already established their position. It is rather rude to do otherwise. Also, keep in mind that if you chose a spot close to the water, you are likely to have to move when the tide shifts. You should not encroach on others in your retreat, especially since they were smart enough to choose a spot away from the water.
Keep radio volume low. This is a common courtesy. No need to blare the boom-box. Better yet, use headphones.
Keep the truck-driver talk off the beach. I recall recently sitting near a group of teens who were dropping the F-bomb every other word. There were groups of families all around us. Sorry, it's just inconsiderate of others.
Install beach umbrellas carefully so that they do not blow away and impale your beach-going neighbor. That would be a real bummer, Dude.
Beach attire should be appropriate: If you are going to a family beach, you should leave the thong at home. And, in this area, the banana hammock is a huge fashion no! Sorry guys.
Some of the don'ts I would suggest for beachgoers:
Don't let your children run wild, especially past sunbathers lying on towels; they do not care for having sand kicked in their faces.
Don't shake out your towels near others: Pay attention to where the wind is blowing, because the sand from your towel or blanket can travel far and bathe those around you.
Don't expect the lifeguards to be babysitters. Their jobs are hard enough. Parents should be diligent in watching their kids in and around the water.
Don't litter. All beaches have recycling containers and trash cans at the entrance. Bring a plastic bag with you to the beach and throw your trash away on your way out. If the summer breeze takes your kid's ice cream wrapper with it, go after it.
Don't feed the seagulls. These "beach rats" have no trouble finding food on there own; they do not need your help. And by feeding one, you invite the rest of the rat's family and friends to flock around (and poop on) all of your neighbors. Not cool!
Do you have a backyard pool? If so, you know that your house is a magnet for the neighborhood kids during the summer. So even if you had no intention of hosting several teenagers, an impromptu gathering is bound to occur when you have a backyard pool. If you do not have a pool, then your kids are probably going to someone else's house.
Whether the invite comes formally or informally, there are things to keep in mind to be a good guest. First, it's important to come prepared. Do not expect your host to supply clean towels and sunscreen. While your host may be willing to do so, I can assure you that she is cursing wildly when she's washing all of the wet towels left by the droves of teenagers that have marched through her house.
Second, mind your manners. It's amazing how grown kids seem so inept when it comes to common courtesy. Acknowledge your friend's mother or father with a hello, and be polite. Please and thank you still go a long way (my friend told me her daughters recently hosted 12 teens for a pool party, and only one thanked her on the way out).
Third, obey the rules. If you are told no jumping off of the rock ledge, don't do it; especially with your friend on your shoulders. Your host wants everyone to have fun and make it home in one piece. She would also like to keep her house.
I do not have a backyard pool; as such, my kids are very appreciative to have friends that do. And, as the mom, I realize that it's important to remind my kids to mind their manners if they hope to be invited back.
So as you enjoy the latter part of the summer, remember that etiquette is important. Be respectful of others, whether at the beach or pool, and remind your kids to do the same. It makes it so much easier for everyone to have fun in the summer.