water safety, water safety skills, teaching kids about water safety, water safety rules, safe water play

Summer is here and what is summer without water play? But before you head to the beach or the swimming pool with your kids, it’s important to educate them about water safety.

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Swimming and water safety classes

You can enroll your child in a class from 4-6 months old or at any time after that. In addition to basic swimming skills, kids learn to hold their breath before they dive, to float, to stay close to the edge of the pool and to hold on to it if they need to.

One of my own earliest childhood memories is not being able to find the sand under my feet in the sea and my friend’s dad pulling me out. It’s a terrifying memory to hold on to and that’s why swimming is the one class that I’ve made non-negotiable for my kids.

Set the rules around water

Make sure your children know how they’re expected to behave around water and stick to the rules without fail. Depending on their age, the rules could be that:

  • They only swim with you.
  • They always swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • They always ask you before they go for a swim.
  • They stay within an arm’s reach or they stay where they can see you and you can see them.
  • They always swim between the flags.
  • They stay at the shallow end of the pool.

Teach them what to do in case of emergency

Rehearse what they may already know from swimming classes about floating and preserving their energy. Make sure they know they’re supposed to call for help, whether they’re in trouble themselves or see their friends struggling. To make it more fun, you can use pretend plays or read books together. A good book that teaches about water safety is ‘A Treasure At See For Dragon And Me’ by  Jean Pendziwol.

No matter how confident you are in your children’s abilities, it’s still your responsibility to keep them safe. Teaching them about water safety is great, but remember that it doesn’t replace proper supervision.

Image by Greyerbaby via pixabay.com