A staggering 88% of kids who drown do so under adult supervision, so it's important that your child has the confidence and skills to be an active member of their own water safety team. Make sure you're familiar with these seven steps to raising a confident swimmer.
Get them started young.
Building up your child’s water exposure early may make swim lessons down the road less stressful for timid swimmers. Try a Waterbabies class, for example, to get your infant comfortable in the water and a pool environment.
Get in the water with them.
Don’t forget the “show” part of show-and-tell. Demonstrate your own comfort in the water so your child can see that, when done properly, swimming is not something to be scared of.
Don’t ever let them swim alone.
Knowing you’re just an arms-length away can help your child feel more secure as they venture into unfamiliar territory. If they suddenly realize their feet aren’t touching the bottom anymore, having you right by their side will make the experience feel less dramatic (and of course, safer).
Don’t be a helicopter parent.
On the flipside, you don’t want to be glued at the hip and not allow your child the freedom to tackle challenges and conquer their fears. Give them just enough space, when appropriate, to see for themselves how great they’re getting at that doggy paddle.
Teach them the pool rules for safety.
It’s hard to build confidence if you’ve just had a scary experience slipping on the pool deck or inhaling a mouthful of water. Make sure your child knows the basics of water safety, whether it’s through the Y’s Safety Around Water program, swim lessons or modeling proper behavior.
Going to the pool once or twice a year isn’t likely to nourish a strong connection. Try to make swimming a regular part of your family’s routine so that it becomes a natural activity in which your child can continue to grow steadily.
Make it fun.
Water games, inflatable toys, friendly competitions — don’t forget to inject some joy into the whole process, especially for children who aren’t too crazy about the water. Balancing safety and skill building with healthy doses of fun are important if you want your child to build a lasting relationship with swimming.
Want a hand building your own confident lil’ swimmer? We still have spots open for spring swim lessons.