It’s basically summer time, which means pools are opening!
If your kids are still little, this might be their first summer. In order to keep everyone safe around the pool, it’s important to make sure they know how to swim. Here are some tips to make the whole process easy.
1. Make it fun
The first thing you should do whenever you teach your kids something new is make it as fun as possible. You want to build a positive association with the activity so your children will be inclined to try again and again, even if they struggle with it. Remember to keep a positive attitude.
2. Use a special swim diaper
If your child isn’t potty trained, you’ll want a special waterproof swim diaper to protect the pool from any unintended leaks, especially if you’ll be in a public pool.
3. Keep emergency equipment nearby
In case of an emergency, you’ll want some items nearby, like a plastic ring buoy, a reaching pole, your phone, and a first aid kit. You should also know how to perform CPR on an infant.
4. Don’t ever leave your child alone
Even if your child is a strong swimmer, don’t leave him unattended. Children three years-old and younger can swallow a large amount of water quickly, which causes drowsiness and nausea that can lead to drowning. An adult should always be in the pool with eyes on children.
5. Play fun games with lots of movement
Swimming requires a lot of body movement and strong muscles. Get your child acclimated to all the moving around by playing games that require arm and leg movement. Make lots of splashes, throw a pool ball around, and practice floating.
6. Practice submerging
There’s no way to avoid getting one’s face wet in the pool. If your child doesn’t like the sensation, practice by playfully splashing one another. You could also do quick submerges for two to three seconds at a time.
7. Teach the standing-to-glide transition
One of the hardest parts of learning to swim is learning to switch from a standing position to the horizontal, gliding position (it’s unfamiliar and feels unsupported). Practice this in the shallow end with your child pushing off the side and gliding into your arms until they feel comfortable being horizontal. If they are reluctant to push off, drag them gently by their arms around the pool.
8. Remember to hold your breath!
Remind your kids to hold their breath when they first begin swimming until they have stabilized themselves. A few gasps for breath turns a lot of kids off from swimming early, so avoid this.
9. Teach the arm and leg motions
Once your child feels comfortable laying in the water, instruct them to paddle with their arms and kick with their legs. Don’t worry if they don’t have perfect form; that will take some time.