Purchasing a quality trampoline mat and safety equipment is just the beginning of ensuring your family remains safe while having fun. Before anyone takes the first bounce, parents should establish a clear set of trampoline rules for kids and anyone else who may wish to use the trampoline. The rules should be posted near the trampoline. They should be written in plain and simple language that does not allow the children to invent loopholes in the rules. It should also be made clear that the children will lose jumping privileges if they ignore the house rules on trampoline usage.
Create trampoline rules for the kids playing in your backyard
This article is designed to help parents write their own trampoline rules for kids and to ensure that everyone can enjoy their time on the trampoline without any injuries or misunderstandings.
Make a sign-up list for the children. Explain to them that by signing the trampoline rules, that they are acknowledging that they understand the rules and will abide by them. Make it clear that children may only sign in your presence. And, before letting any child use your equipment, teach them how to safely stop jumping by flexing their knees as they land and explain that they must jump in the middle of the mat. The idea here is to encourage the kids to be responsible to each other and learn about making promises and keeping them while making it clear the rules will be enforced.
Check the trampoline for safety first
The first trampoline rule for kids should be the one most strictly enforced – no one jumps until an adult has inspected the trampoline including enclosure. Additionally, unless your household includes a responsible teen, no one should be allowed to jump without adult supervision. It might even be a good idea to include a list of who you consider qualified to supervise trampoline usage.
As part of the first rule or as a rule of it’s own, it should be made clear to children that the trampoline is not to be used when the mat is wet. If the grass surrounding your trampoline is wet, be sure to dry each jumper’s feet before allowing them to jump.
What is the minimum jumping age?
The second rule you need to establish may be the hardest one to keep. Small children, generally those under six, should never be allowed to jump. Young children, with lower body weights and generally less coordination, have been known to literally bounce uncontrollably off of the trampoline. Jumping with someone who is older should also be prohibited in your trampoline rules. For kids, the rule of not letting little kids jump and never jumping together may be one of the hardest to enforce. Find safe activities for the smaller children that will keep them at least six feet away from the trampoline.
Pets, just like small children, should never be allowed on or under the trampoline. Your rules should make it clear that the family pet or any other animals are prohibited from being on the trampoline mat. They could be injured or injure a child. Their claws could also damage the jumping mat.
Enforcing trampoline rules for kids in a fun way…
Make it fun for children by allowing each one to be in the spotlight while jumping. That way they’ll be more apt to abide by the one jumper at a time rule. Maybe set time limits for each jumper to ensure everyone has a turn. If you do treat each child as a performer, make it clear in your list of trampoline rules for kids that they are to never do somersaults, flips or any other stunts that places their head lower than their torso.
Keep a box or bin nearby. Require jumpers to empty their pockets. Ask the girls to remove clips and decorations form their hair that might damage the trampoline mat or cause injury if landed upon. Belts, pins, jewelry and other items should also be removed. We’ve all seen those bins at McDonald’s for the children to place their shoes in. Create something equally as fun so that children will be happy to comply with this particular trampoline rule. And make it clear that no toys or other objects are permitted on the trampoline when jumping. Be sure to collect shoes and socks from each child. Just like it is Risky Business to wear socks on a highly polished or glossy floor, socks can and will slide on the surface of a trampoline.
When writing your trampoline rules for kids, find an item in your yard to identify as a height limit for the jumpers. The rule can be something like, no jumping higher than the roof of the house, the dogwood tree, etc. Just be sure that if you are using a tree or bush that all of the children know precisely which one is being referred to.
Who supervises the jumpers?
Offer children a clearly designated watching area. That way they’ll be no arguments as to how far is far enough away from the trampoline to wait their turns. When it comes to setting out trampoline rules for kids, the more well-defined you make each rule, the easier they will be to enforce. Just be on the lookout for cleverness. If the rule is that the non-jumpers must be sitting at the picnic table, make sure the picnic table is not moved closer to the trampoline. Of course, if you are supervising the kids, that shouldn’t happen in the first place.
Place the trampoline away from temptation. It will be far easier to enforce a trampoline rule about not jumping to or from the porch onto the trampoline if the trampoline is placed away from the porch. Same goes for trees, sheds and other perches that may be higher than the trampoline’s surface.
As much as we all hate the wait an hour after eating before swimming rule, you should establish a similar rule for jumping.
Speak the kids’ language.
When writing your rules for trampoline use, be mindful of the language you are using. While you may know what horsing around or rough housing means, your kids or the neighborhood kids may not. Depending upon the children involved, you might have to be extremely specific. However, if the children are properly supervised, this shouldn’t really be an issue for you.
One thing that many parents overlook is to discuss with young jumpers about tongue safety. Even bouncing safely could lead to a child accidentally biting their tongue if they jump with their mouth open. Make a joke out of tongue safety and the kids will be unlikely to forget this rule.
The main thing when writing and establishing trampoline rules for kids is to be clear, be consistent and still keep it fun and lighthearted. Use humor whenever possible. Include children’s names, pet’s names and inside jokes within the family or neighborhood. The idea is to ensure everyone’s safety without dampening the fun of jumping.