Summer safety is essential to having a good time, especially around water. Spending time in the pool to cool off is sure to be your children’s favorite pastime in the coming months. Parents of children as young as a year old can begin teaching pool safety by playing a few pool games.
The first element in pool safety is to learn to respect the pool. We always walk around a pool. Running poses several dangers, the worst being to slip and cause an injury to the head. Even strong swimmers cannot save themselves if they are unconscious. Begin by making sure you say “Walk!” to your children. Many parents may want to say “Stop running!” or “Don’t run!” Early childhood educators will tell you that the first thing that children process is the “don’t” part leading to negative communication that takes more time than simply telling them what needs to be done. Issuing a brief reminder about what we are supposed to be doing will go a lot further.
The next thing your child needs to learn, is how to get to the edge of the pool should they fall in, or go too deep. Many things can happen around a pool, they could slip, someone (or something) could knock them into the pool or they may disobey and find themselves in the pool even when you’ve made the precautions to keep them safe. Accidents happen and getting wet is much better than drowning.
The first thing to teach your child is to know how to get to the side. Do this by first teaching them to blow bubbles. Breath control is essential in a pool; if their first reaction is to breathe in, they will choke. Teaching them to blow out if their face gets in the water will help to prevent panic should they be submerged unexpectedly. Spend hours playing motorboat with your baby in your arms, let them get used to their face in the water and play games of blowing bubbles out their nose.
Next teach them to bunny hop on the shallow steps of the pool. To bunny hop you have to use your legs and your arms. You jump, while using your hands to pull you forward. Adding this game to blowing bubbles will be a great way to play in the pool and learn safety at the same time.
The next thing they need to learn is to jump in, turn and get to the side. Jumping in is either awesome or not. Your child with either jump in fearlessly, or hesitate. Either way, practice having them enter the pool from the side by jumping to you. It is your job to turn them around and show them how to turn their bodies to bunny hop to the to side. Practice this game over and over until they are turning themselves around and getting to the side all on their own.
While this article doesn’t cover all the essentials, use it as a playing guide that incorporates the safety and fun at the same time.
To recap, remember:
•Always WALK around a pool.
•Learn how to blow bubbles with your face in the water.
•Practice bunny hops in shallow waters.
•Practice Jump to parent->Turn-> Side.
•And last, have fun!!
Deanna grew up learning from the best swim teachers in her hometown. Her mom is a certified swimming instructor and Deanna has assisted in teaching dozens of children to learn how to swim.
- Summer Dangers (sheilarmedlam.wordpress.com)
- Water Loving Babies Can Learn How to Swim (moulsinc.com)