Did you ever hear the story from your parents or grandparents about how they “learned” to swim? Chances are you heard, “My mom/dad/grandpa/grandma/brother, etc. tossed me into the pool or the pond or creek and said, ‘sink or swim.'” well here I am today so I learned to swim!
Well, we have come a long way baby and we don’t want our children to “learn to swim” that way! In many cases, a swim experience like that will put the child off from ever wanting to be in a swimming pool again in their life and who could blame them!
If your family has its own swimming pool we urge you to take time and ease your children into the pool. Your children should feel safe and comfortable around the water but you also want to make sure they have a healthy respect for it.
Swimming can be taught by the parent or you can sign your child up for swim lessons (when COVID-19 allows for things like that) or you might be able to hire a swimming instructor to come to your home and give the child a few lessons and teach you how to carry on with lessons.
Instilling a love of water is the best way and your child will thank you for a lifetime!
Make pooltime fun. Here is one way!
A kicking contest
- Get everyone together on the side of the pool
- Get into the water
- Hang into the side of the pool
- Start kicking
- Who ever kicks the most and makes the most splashing is the winner!
This helps get kids involved and not afraid of water splashing in their faces because they were having so much fun!
Family Fun In The Swimming Pool
Kids, like puppies, have short attention spans. Children get easily bored and quickly distracted. When you are with them in the swimming pool and want to teach them to swim, be prepared for the lessons to be short – a few minutes at a time — depending on the child’s age. Ensure they remain enthusiastic in the pool. The moment they think that swimming is a chore, you will lose them and might as well just be telling them how veggies are delicious! You know how well that goes.
Lessons should be fun. Your child should be 100% invested. Don’t say, “hey let’s go have a swim lesson.” Instead say, “Hey, let’s go have some fun in the pool!” You know you’re teaching them how to swim, but they just think they’re having fun!
Ask your children’s doctor what age your child can get into the pool and start learning to swim.
Keep Instructions Simple
Have you ever heard of KISS? Keep. It. Simple. Silly! This is the best way to teach a child to swim. Start with getting the child accustomed to being in a body of water that large. Work up to them putitng their faces in the water.
Use keywords such as “Stop, Look, and Listen.”
- Get the child to stop what he is doing
- Get the child to repeat what you said
- Complete the action.
- Never include more than five rules at a time
- Review the rules so they aren’t forgotten
- Use age-appropriate language for the rules.
Make it positive and fun
Focus on one skill at a time and make it fun! Reward the child for a job well done! Shout encouragement and have a delicious snack once the lesson is done.
Turn on the tunes
Ask your child what his or her favorite song or music is then turn it on. Let them choose the music — even if it’s the Baby Shark soundtrack! If they hear music they love it will keep them engaged and being able to choose the music is another treat. If they start getting bored just say, “when this song is done we will get out.” This is a set end time the child can recognize — much easier than saying, “in five minutes we will be done.”
Buy pool toys
As your child is learning to swim get some beach balls and pool noodles — they are fun and bright. For older children who know how to swim get some “diving sticks.” Diving sticks are heavy, come in various colors and are dropped into the pool and the child dives for them. Give prizes to the child who gets the most or who gets the color you shouted out.
Buy a raft and let your child relax on it while you walk next to it, holding on so he or she doesn’t get scared.
No child can resist a rubber duckie! Toss a few brightly colored duckies in the water and let them swim a few strokes out to grab a duck or two.
Blowing ping pong balls across the surface of the water is a fun game and will also make your child more comfortable getting her face in the water.
I’m here for you!
Chances are when your child is first getting used to the water he will want you to carry him in, pressed against your chest — that’s great! After a while she may sit on the side of the pool and slide into your arms. You’re making progress! Once they are comfortable in the water they may just jump into your arms as you take a few steps back. Make sure they are wearing their life vests and then let them know they may go under water a bit but you are there for them. You may want to hold their hands as they gain trust and lose their fear. Work with what your child is comfortable with and you will both benefit.
Pool Safety Equipment Matters
No matter how well your child swims NEVER leave them unattended in the water. It is also a good idea for a child to wear a life vest at all times. Let the child choose his or her own life vest and they may be happier about wearing it. Have a first aid kit poolside. Have an extending pole in case of emergencies.
Most of all have fun in the pool with your child this summer!