Chances are you can’t remember when or how you learned to swim. Hopefully you weren’t a member of the “jump in the deep end and sink or swim” tradition! Even if you’re a lover of water and swimming, keep in mind that your children might not love it as much as you do. With a little patience, you can help your children learn to love the water with these five tips.
If your children truly enjoy bath time and eagerly anticipate it, half the battle is won when it comes to introducing them to your backyard swimming pool. They may be hesitant to jump right in because the swimming pool is much, much larger than their bathtub but you can easily get them to love it and it will enhance your family fun time.
Here are five steps from your swimming pool builder that you can take to gently introduce your children to the swimming pool so that they develop a lifelong love of the water:
1. Blowing bubbles and getting their faces wet. It’s not likely your children spend too much time with their faces in the water in the bathtub but you will want to teach them to be unafraid of having their faces in the water in your pool. Get them to place their faces in the water and blow bubbles – show them how it’s done and turn it into a game.
2. Show them how much their favorite toy likes to be underwater and have your child go underwater to retrieve it. Take a submersible toy, put it underwater and tell your child to hold his breath and go underwater to find their toy. Make it a game.
3. Teach your child how to float. One way to do this is to either hold your hand under her belly while you tell her to relax and place her face in the water. You can also take two empty gallon milk containers, with the lids on, and have your child hold one in each hand, spread her arms out, and float. The milk jugs will help keep her face above water so she can relax without fear of sinking.
4. Move up the pace of the lessons by teaching your child simple swim strokes. Offer your child a raft to float on – so they can focus on one thing at a time. With your child lying on the raft, demonstrate some swim strokes. Your child can lie on the raft and learn to do the crawl and simple paddle strokes such as the doggy paddle or breast stroke.
5. Everyone into the pool! Make jumping into the swimming pool a fun game. Grab a hula hoop, like it in the water and encourage your child to jump through the hoop from the side of the pool – into the shallow end. If your child is hesitant to do this, hold out your hand so he can grab onto it while jumping in. Eventually, he will be able to jump in without holding onto your hand.
Your swimming pool builder will have items for sale at their pool store that you can use to help your child not only learn to swim but add to the fun your whole family has in the pool together.