There was outrage this weekend after the City of London (Ontari0) posted signs at their public pools stating that swimmers over the age of three couldn’t go into opposite gender change rooms.
After much criticism, the city removed the signs, but this wasn’t a unique occurrence. Many private pools in condo buildings, for instance, have similar rules in effect. Not only can it be scary for a kid that young to venture out on their own (we’re picturing a kid walking slowly towards a dark doorway, bindle over their shoulder as they give one last glance to their anxious mom or dad), but here are some other issues we see:
1. How many three-year-olds can dress actually themselves? They can do the basics, sure, but they’re not great at it. Will they remember to take their pants off first?
2. Let’s face it: every change room on the planet is a weird labyrinth that’s basically impossible to navigate. I’m an adult (using that term loosely, mind you) and I get lost—but imagine a preschooler trying to figure it out.
3. It’s probably really scary and confusing for a kid that young to have to grasp the concept that they can’t get changed with their mom or dad. They came to the pool to have fun, OK, not to cry.
In many parts of Europe, public baths have communal change rooms, so everyone gets changed together because nudity isn’t weird over there. And we get that things should be separate for other people’s modesty and to make everyone comfortable, but does sending a preschooler to a separate change room make everyone comfortable? Nah.
So how do you handle situations like this?