Families who have swimming pools know that before they can teach their children to swim, they have to first get them comfortable in the swimming pool. It takes patience and perseverance to get your child comfortable in the water and the parent has to offer loving support while doing this. The rewards of patience pay off in the long run when you and your children will be able to spend hours of fun in the swimming pool.
Bear in mind that it may take several hours, days or even weeks to get your child comfortable in the water – remember a swimming pool is a lot more water than a bathtub! Spending your time slowly easing your child into the water will help you reap benefits later as your child learns to love the water.
One of the best ways to get your child accustomed to the water is to simply walk into the shallow end of the water while holding your child. If you are going into the swimming pool by way of a ladder, have someone hand you the child once you’re in the shallow end of the pool. If you’re holding on to her and easing her into the water, she will feel safer. Jump up and down a bit in the water, splashing your hands so your child will associate water with fun. Once she is comfortable with that, hold her under her arms and walk around the water, letting her legs float free.
After your child has become comfortable with this, take her to the side of the pool and teach her to blow bubbles. What you’re really trying to do is get her comfortable with putting her face in the water. She will likely gasp for air at first as she gets accustomed to the water in her face but with patience you should be able to bob up and down in the water with your baby in your arms and she will be able to go underwater with you. If she seems scared or hesitant, it might be best to put that lesson off for another day.
Following the bubble blowing and underwater bobbing, you can move your child to jumping into the water by himself. Take him over to the side of the pool, stand a few feet away and hold your arms out to him and let him jump to you. Naturally, you will want to catch him so he doesn’t get afraid of the water but eventually he will want to jump to you and doggy paddle toward you.
Remember to take time with each of these steps. Don’t scare your child or it could take months or sometimes years to undo the damage that fear may have caused. While you may want to rush the getting comfortable in the water steps, it won’t do anyone any good.
Even after your child has become comfortable in the water, and even if she can swim, you should never leave her alone and you should keep a life jacket on hand for the times when your child just wants to float and frolic in the water. Talk with us to uncover additional safety items you can use in and around your swimming pool.