How To Get Kids To Enjoy Swimming
You’ve taken the plunge and invested in a swimming pool for your family to enjoy BUT what happens if your children are scared of the water or simply don’t enjoy being in a swimming pool? Chances are you have heard the stories of children being “taught” to swim by simply being tossed into the water and learning to either sink or swim. Well, hopefully those days are long past and today’s parents are more patient with helping their children enjoy the fun and benefit of being in the family swimming pool.
When you’re introducing your child to the swimming pool, think about how he or she loves – or doesn’t – taking a bath. A child who loves splashing in the bath may not love splashing in a swimming pool simply because it is large and can be frightening. Face it, your bathtub is in a small room and your child can touch the bottom and all the sides, right? When you take away that safety net, he or she may be anxious.
First, don’t ever force your child, kicking and screaming, into the pool. Coax them gently and work at their pace. If your child is terrified of the pool, don’t fret, it’s normal and it can be conquered, but it will depend on your patience, willpower and time.
Here are a few ways to start out with getting your child accustomed to the swimming pool:
- Get them some goggles. Being able to see underwater may alleviate some of their fear.
- Teach them how to blow bubbles in the water. Show them how to do it and make it a fun game.
- Take one of their favorite sand pails or a small cup and slowly pour water over your child’s head. He may splutter and shriek, but you can keep going if you tell he is enjoying it, or stop if he’s not.
- Let him bring a favorite bathtub toy into the pool. This will help him associate that fun toy with the pool.
- Don’t bring your child to the pool when she is already cranky. Schedule fun pool time when everyone is well-rested and in a good mood.
Be patient with your child
Just because you loved swimming when you were a child will not necessarily mean your child will take to it as readily. Be encouraging. Be patient. Make the pool time fun. Don’t force her to “love” the pool. Let her go at her own pace. She may want to simply have you hold her and “swish” her around in the water for hours before she’s ready to kick her feet. Slow and steady will win this race, for sure.
Again, if he has a favorite bathtub toy, let him bring it in as a “safety net” when in the swimming pool.
If you take your child into the pool and the first thing that happens is that he starts crying and is unhappy, don’t immediately jump out of the water. Instead, comfort your child and ask what’s wrong. Try to understand what they’re afraid of so you can work with them to address it and make pool time fun.
Simply making certain your child wears a safety vest every time he is in the pool might go a long way in making him feel safe, even when you’re hanging on to him.
Consider swim lessons
You may be surprised to find that your child will take better to the water if he is being taught to swim by strangers in a swim lesson. Many times children will pay better attention and be on better behavior if a “stranger” is trying to teach them something.
Look for group swimming lessons or hire a swim instructor to come to your home and provide swim lessons – the entire family may benefit from this type of in-pool acclimation.
Try again next season
If your child simply isn’t interested in the family swimming pool, invest in an inflatable pool, set it up poolside and let your child have fun in there while the rest of the family frolics in the pool.
Have the inflatable pool is a great way to get your child to feel confident and more familiar with being in water that isn’t the bathtub. If your child is having fun in this inflatable pool, it will eventually translate to him wanting to join you in the family pool. Bring fun toys to the inflatable pool. Make sure your child wears a safety vest even in the inflatable because this will get him accustomed to wearing it and it will become second nature.
Remember, the pool will be with your family for decades and if your child doesn’t enjoy the pool this summer, chances are he will next summer when he’s a bit older.