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That 8 is too young for a child to be unaccompanied in a gym changing room

(12 Posts)
Captainladder Mon 17-Oct-16 12:22:19

DS is almost 8 and the gym where he has swimming lessons has seperate male and female changing rooms. Children over 7 are not allowed in the opposite sex changing rooms. There is a disabled changing room which connects both changing rooms but its grotty and the shower facility doesnt work well.
I (mum) take DS to his swimming lesson and swim while he has his lesson. Then we both shower in the female changing room, which has frosted glass cubicles, and then use a partitioned off bit in the otherwise open plan changing room to get dressed.
I dont like the idea of him going into a male changing room by himself at this age. Although he is capable of showering and dressing by himself he also has ASD traits that mean he can drift off into his own world and not be aware of what is going on around him. Plus I can admit that I'm somewhat neurotic and scenarios such as him slipping and cracking his head open do cross my mind.
He says he is fine to go by himself but I think its too young. So... AIBU? what age would you let your child go into a changing room you couldnt go into by themselves?

LooseSeal Mon 17-Oct-16 12:29:34

My DD is 8, but nearly 9. She's been getting ready for swimming then getting out and showering and dressing by herself for about six months now. However the place she has swimming lessons is a small, private health club not a huge council run pool, and the other people using the changing room at that time are almost exclusively children having lessons and their parents. While I don't expect others to look after her I know if she did get herself into difficulties someone would come out and find me.

SunnySomer Mon 17-Oct-16 12:29:40

I deliberately started sending DS alone into the men's at the gym when he was about 7.5 or so as I felt it was a safe environment for him to learn to change independently before having to do so in an unknown space. There were always other children around which he liked, and staff available to go and hurry him up if necessary. But it is very difficult to just dispatch them like that, especially the first time.

Every1lovesPatsy Mon 17-Oct-16 12:29:41

Your choice, but the age of reason is 7 so I think 7 plus they should start being able to cope in a changing room by themselves.

Our local activity centre runs Summer camps and Halloween camps and the youngest kids 5-7 do their swimming last. The idea being that all kids are collected at 2.30 and the swim class is scheduled at different times during the day, the youngest kids are last so that when they are collected the parents can go into the communal changing rooms to make sure they are dressed/showered ok. The 8 year olds and over have to sort themselves out, earlier in the day.

coffeetasteslikeshit Mon 17-Oct-16 12:30:10

I can't comment on your DS specifically, but I think that 8 is generally old enough yes. So YABU.

Captainladder Mon 17-Oct-16 12:35:41

Am entirely prepared to accept that i'm being a neurotic fruit loop. I think I might get my DH to take him a couple of weeks and report back to me on what the changing room is like, which will hopefully put my mind at ease.

BikeRunSki Mon 17-Oct-16 12:38:58

I am in exactly the same situation, except our gym has totally separate male and female changing areas/showers, no interlinking disabled shower.

DS was 8 last month, but very tall, and passes for 10 or 11easily. He is incredibly easily distracted, although no (yet) diagnosed ASD.

During the summer holidays I just bit the bullet and sent him off alone. SH came with us. He doesn't swim, but I wanted him there to rescue DS if needed. I need not have worried The first week he bought his bag to the poolside. After a couple of weeks he asked to take a padlock. So far, so good! He swims twice a week and always gets changed alone now. I really do understand your hesitancy, but at 8, DS is thriving on little bits of independence. I always take his swimming hat and goggled off him when we part company though, too easily left behind.

RoseGoldHippie Mon 17-Oct-16 12:40:22

I hated going into the men's changing rooms as a child with my dad! I remember being stupidly happy when able to go into the woman's unattended although I can't remember what age I was, probably around 6 or 7.

Rhythmsticks Mon 17-Oct-16 12:46:03

I think 8yo is definitely too old to be going into opposite sex changing rooms and i think most 8yo's would manage fine on their own. They have to develop independence and they can't if they're not allowed to!

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Mon 17-Oct-16 12:51:24

I think 7 is old enough to get himself showered and dressed without your supervision. However, if he has additional needs, I can see it might be difficult.

The problem is, many woman and girls won't want a boy of 8 or older in their changing room. I wouldn't.

Why don't you give him a trial run and see how it goes? If he really can't cope, perhaps the grotty disabled changing room is your only option for now (and petition to have it improved)

Cisoff Mon 17-Oct-16 12:56:20

My son is 9 and I wouldn't let him go in alone. Partially for neurotic reasons and partially because I can't trust him not to leave something behind. I agree it's too old for the female changing rooms though, so the simplest option is to simply towel dry as best we can, put on a tracksuit over damp swimmers, and shower at home.

RhodaBorrocks Mon 17-Oct-16 13:02:47

Thankfully we have unisex changing facilities at my local pool. My DS is 9 but has ASD and is socially like a 6-7 year old. I still help him to change otherwise he gets in a state or takes forever.

He has started using public toilets alone now though. But I have to give him strict instructions on where to stand and wait for me because he has just wandered off in the past because he's forgotten I've gone to the loo too and has gone looking for me.

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