Swimming and summer go hand in hand for many of us, but having fun in the water can take a dangerous turn if safety measures aren't in place.
For me, this summer posed a particular challenge with two little ones who don't know how to swim. We've tried various swim classes over the years for my oldest, but nothing stuck. Now that I have a second one to watch in the water, I've been determined to learn new safety tips for swimming!
So before the summer began, we enrolled in swim lessons. I've learned many lessons. Some may surprise you!
5 Safety Tips for Swimming and Success for Kids
- Teach your children. If you can't teach your kiddos on your own, enroll them in a class. Get started as early as you can. As we all know, there are no second chances in the water!
- Do your research. Take it from me, not all swim classes or instructors are alike. Their methods differ drastically. It could be the difference between learning to float in a week versus a year. (Seriously, I'm talking from experience.) Not only would I look up their methods on their website, but I'd sit in on a class before you enroll. Better yet, ask for a trial class!
- Practice! This seems obvious, but after swimming lessons, summer errands and several other activities, the last thing you may want to do is go out in the heat again. But don't let the swimming stop there. If you can, help your kiddos practice what they learn so it will become second-nature.
- Trust your gut and be on the alert! This is by far my most important tip. Listen to that inner voice, mamas. I thankfully did and was by the poolside to reach in to pull my son out of the water when his teacher wasn't looking. I've also heard of (and seen!) other kids flailing under the water when teachers weren't looking during class. After all, it is a business. There may be four children with one instructor, depending on the age group. So you may feel some relief because your child is in swim class, but please never let down your guard, wherever you may be. We always have to be on the alert!
- Make sure your kids are comfortable. Let them know they don't have to do anything they aren't comfortable with, and that there are other swim classes and instructors. You may have to try a few places, as we did. Trust is so important. If your child doesn't trust their teacher, they will have a hard time letting go of that wall and learning how to swim. Find someone you both can trust.
Swimming is such a fun and refreshing activity during the hot days of summer but it also can be very dangerous, especially during these days of distraction with cell phones and iPads at our fingertips.
It starts with us as parents. As soon as possible, teach your child how to swim and be prepared but also remain alert. Never let down your guard. Just because they are in a class and there are lifeguards, there are no second chances in the water. We are ultimately responsible for their safety.
And of course, once you do all of this, try to cool off and relax!
Do you have tips for swim safety and teaching our kids to swim? What method has worked for you? At what age did you start? We would love to hear from you!