Some people grew up around water and loved to be in the pool. Other people may not have dipped a toe into a swimming pool, thank you very much! If you have a swimming pool in your backyard and if you love the pool you want to make it fun for everyone (and make it safe, too!) and we have tips to help make that happen. The best way to help a child develop a love of the water is to introduce them to it slowly and in a fun way.
If you are determined to help your children develop that love of and have a healthy respect for the pool, the first thing you want to do is teach them to swim. You can teach your children to swim or you can take them for lessons, but either way — if there is a pool in the family, swim lessons are a must. EVEN though no matter how great your child swims they should NEVER be left alone. Bottom line.
Keep in mind that to a child, a swimming pool can be scary. It’s larger than the bathtub and in a pool they can’t touch the bottom. An adult may love the idea of being weightless in the pool, but to a child, that is not a plus. To help your child feel safe, it’s up to you to teach them that the pool is fun.
Tips To Make The Pool Fun For Everyone
- Host a “kicking contest.” Believe us, if a child can kick his or her feet and splash someone who is making a big show of how fun it is — they will join in the laughter and it will make the pool seem even more fun.
- Short attention spans need to be catered to. A child has the attention span of a goldfish — they get bored, distracted and then frustrated. Keep swim times and swim lessons short and fun. Once they get frustrated, it’s time to get out. If they think that learning to swim is as bad as eating fish for dinner, then they will come to dread pool time.
- Ask your doctor what age is best for a child to learn to swim. Your doctor may give a thumbs up for a child who is a year old or even younger to learn to swim.
- Make sure your instructions are simple. When teaching a child to swim, use one-word instructions and again, make it fun.
- Positivity matters! If you’re having a good time, chances are your child will too. If you act like you’re dreading pool time, your child will pick up on that and it won’t be fun for anyone. Also, if there are “cheerleaders” on the side of the pool or who are also in the pool that’s even better.
- Turn on your child’s favorite music. Let them choose whatever they want to listen to while they are having lessons. Music will keep them engaged and entertained and it could also give them an idea of “when this song is done then I can do something else.” It’s easier than telling them, “in five minutes we will get out.” Instead say, “at the end of this song we will get out.”
- ou’re teaching your child to swim, or taking him to lessons, make sure the instructor focuses on only one skill at a time. Let your child master that before moving on. Make learning fun and have positive reinforcement for a job well done. You know your child will love it if you’re shouting encouragement from the sidelines — well, they will if they’re young!
- Let them pick out a few fun pool toys.
- Let them choose their own swim suits.
- Give them options on what to do in the pool and for how long. Again, keep it fun!
Pool Safety Equipment
No matter how well your child swims and no matter if he has aced his swim lessons, never leave him alone in the water. Also, you may want them to wear a life vest when they’re in the pool — no water wings.