Once a week my six-year old son knowingly breaks a rule.
We do it together. Despite the fact I drill into him on a daily basis that rules are there for a reason I encourage him to do it.
I’m not the only one asking their children to break the rules. There are hundreds of us right across the country with exactly the same dilemma. So when is your child too old to be in an opposite sex changing room?
The topic crops up every summer on Facebook parents groups.
“I have a 7 year old son whom I take to swim lessons once a week. At the moment he still comes into the change rooms with me, but at what age should I let him use the men’s change room by himself? Thanks.”
“At my daughter’s swimming lesson today there was a mother in the change room with a seven-year old boy who kept glancing at me. Should I have told her he made me uncomfortable or held my tongue?”
At many swimming schools, including the one I take my children to, signs hang from the doors to the change facilities boldly stating that children must use the designated change rooms. While the majority of swim schools offer “family rooms” these are usually in use (in the swim school we go to, quite often, by the staff themselves.)
So what are you meant to do? It raises several issues and one that as a parent, you can see both sides of while being totally infuriated by it as well.
I have two boys and a girl. My eldest, a boy aged 8, does use the men’s change rooms. He started at the age of 7 but it was at his insistence. To be honest, it stemmed purely from being afraid of being labelled a “girl” if one of his mates saw him enter the “ladies.” (Yes don’t worry I recognise the inherent sexism in that old playground taunt but I’m saving that for another post.)
My youngest son who is 6 does however, use the women’s change rooms, along with his sister aged 4 and myself. He uses them because he is 6 and struggles to get a rash vest over his head. He uses them because he is 6 and struggles to turn the shower on. He uses them because he is 6 and struggles to get his dry clothes on his not-dry-enough body.