Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! Here’s wishing you a festive, joyful holiday. To keep safe around the swimming pool today, check out these safety tips. (These tips are good all year.)

  • In any emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If your child is missing, always look in the pool before you look anyplace else. A child can drown in twenty seconds. Scan the surface and the bottom of the pool. Search the area around the pool next. If you leave the pool area to continue searching, make sure the pool area is secure before you leave. A wandering child could return to the pool and fall in after you’ve searched there.
  • If someone is trapped at the pool’s drain, turn off electrical power right away, before you do anything else. Don’t try to pull the person directly from the suction. Instead, break the suction’s seal by prying between the person’s body and the suction, with your hand if necessary.

For more tips, look at:

Time to Play! Going Underwater

Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. Once your kids have the basics of going underwater down, you can use this game to help teach them to be really comfortable with this swimming skill.

Have your child put his head underwater while you say something above the water. Can he figure out what you said? How about if you say it while you’re both underwater?

15 Don’ts When You’re Teaching Your Kids to Swim

If you haven’t already, check out some things you should do–here, here, here, and here–when you’re teaching your kids to swim. Got it? Great! Now keep in mind these 15 “don’ts” and you’ll be ready to start teaching your kids to swim (or reinforcing the lessons their swimming teacher has already taught).

Don’t lose your child’s trust

  • Don’t throw your child into the water to teach him to swim, ever.
  • Don’t force your child into water without preparing him.
  • Don’t deny it if your child has a scary moment.
  • Don’t trick your child or lie.

Don’t send your child subtle messages that he should fear the water

  • Don’t wipe it off if water gets on your face or your child’s face.
  • Don’t prevent him from trying new things in the water.
  • Don’t overreact if he swallows some water.
  • Don’t yell.

Don’t let your expectations interfere with your child’s progress

  • Don’t expect your child’s swimming to be fast, especially in the beginning.
  • Don’t expect very young kids to learn strokes before they’re developmentally ready.
  • Don’t expect your child to pick up right away where you left off at the end of the last lesson.
  • Don’t expect your child to do it perfectly.

Taking Your Kids to the Swimming Pool for their First Lesson

You’ve got all your gear ready to go. You’re well rested, and so are your kids. You’ve read the book and perused the blog, learning how to teach and what to teach. You’re in the car and ready to go. What now? First, make sure you’ve got the kids in the car with you. No? Back into the house for them, then. Okay, ready?

Take it slow. Enjoy each other. Have fun. If you don’t enjoy each other and have fun, it’s going to be hard—maybe impossible—for you to teach your kids to swim. Your first visit to the pool will set the tone for the lessons to come. Use what you know about your child to make it a great experience for him, and he’ll be happy to come back again and again.

Know the Rules

When you get to the pool, show your child where the pool rules are posted and explain them, even if he can’t read yet. Make sure he understands never to go near or into the pool without an adult. Make sure he understands not to run in the pool area and not to jump or dive (unless the pool is deep enough and the rules allow it).

Know Where the Bathroom Is

Show him where the bathroom is. (You’ll be needing it before you get into the pool, anyway.) Check to see if there are any cool insects around, if he’s that age and that’s his thing. Ease into it.

Respect Your Kids’ Learning Styles

What kind of learner is your child? Does he like to observe from a distance? Does he like to jump right in? Respect his learning style.

If your child likes to observe before experiencing something for himself, this is the perfect opportunity to sit near the pool together and let him watch other kids playing. If your kid likes to jump into things right away, by all means get in the pool. Don’t rush things here, though. Spending the first day just watching other kids have fun is a good use of your time. If your child doesn’t even get his toes wet, that time hasn’t been wasted.

The lesson plan for your first lesson: let your child watch and explore. Don’t plan a formal lesson for the first visit. If it takes a few visits for your child to feel comfortable getting in the pool, don’t plan a formal lesson for the first time he actually gets into the pool, either.

Don’t force your child to get into the pool, and don’t let disappoint or disapproval color your interactions. This is for your child. It needs to happen at his pace. You can encourage your child to get in or to participate in play if you sense that he secretly kind of wants to, but don’t pressure him. If there’s another adult available to supervise your child, you can set an example by playing in the water while your child sits outside the pool and watches you. Provide encouragement, support, and time.