Your goal is to teach your kids to be safe in the water. What exactly does that mean, though? How will you know that your kids are water safe?
What Water Safety Means
Being water safe means your kids have the skills they need to maneuver in the water with control and confidence. It’s not a guarantee that an accident couldn’t happen. Neither is having a driver’s license. It is a foundation that gives your kids what they need to swim with appropriate supervision in safe conditions.
Good indicators that your kids have gotten to this point are:
1. They can swim the width or length of the pool.
It’s easy for them to take breaths along the way whenever they need them.
2. They can tread water for at least three minutes in any depth.
Three minutes might not sound like very long, but give it a try yourself. If you haven’t mastered the fine art and form of treading, you’re likely to tire yourself out.
If your kids are good at treading water, though, their boundless energy will let them keep going a lot longer than you’d think possible—much longer than minimum of three minutes.
3. They can get into the pool by themselves easily.
Your kids should be able to get into the pool, either by jumping in from the side or from sitting on the edge. (Once your kids are swimming, the real trick is to keep them from soaking you with a cannonball every chance they get.)
4. They can get out of the pool by themselves easily.
This is a big one, because while even a great swimmer can’t tread water forever, it doesn’t take a great swimmer to get to the edge of the pool and get out. Your kids should be able to get out of the pool by grabbing the side and pulling themselves out or by swimming to the stairs or ladder and climbing out.
5. They can pick things up from the bottom of the pool.
This one indicator (that’s coincidentally a lot of fun) shows that your kids have mastered several critical swimming skills, including holding their breath underwater, moving effectively through the water, and surfacing.
Celebrate water safety when you get there, but don’t ever underestimate the power of the water or let your kids swim without supervision.