My first born child, my daughter, has two children- ages 2 and 4, a boy and girl. Her two little children are not yet perfectly potty trained and already, they are enrolled in what’s called ‘Seal School’, a swim instruction program. The instructors are terrific. Both of these youngsters love the water-no fear[unlike me]. My daughter and her husband introduced their children to the water from the time they were each just a few months old. Now, officially taking instruction, they both are already good swimmers. It is amazing to me at how comfortable they are with being in the water.
Parents usually introduce their children to the water in the bathtub. These two children are absolutely amazing at bath time, and at these early ages, they take baths together. My daughter washes her 4 year old’s extremely long hair during bath time. I guess it’s quite a time saver. Soapy or just plain water pouring down her face, this little girl has no problem with it- a real trooper. Myself, I am extremely bothered by any type of water streaming down my face. Even when I wash my face, I won’t open my eyes until after it’s toweled off.
The two year old, a boy, just wipes the water from his eyes, nose and face like it is nothing. Again, amazing and I guess that is another sure indication that they are quite comfortable with the water.
Now that Summertime is here, many of you parents will visit the beach or the pol with your children. Whether the pool is in your backyard, like my daughter’s at her home, or you visit the neighborhood pool, never take your child’s swimming ability for granted. There are still some very important safety concerns. I will share some of them here, as well as some fun and safe ideas for splashing around in the water, for playing together at home or while on route to your favorite vacation spot.
SUMMER FUN IDEAS:
- I Spy. You can promote summer learning while having fun playing ‘I Spy’ with your kids. Pass the time on a road trip by looking for letters, signs and state names on license plates, road signs and at home as well. According to your child’s age, you can search for letters, shapes, numbers, and so forth. It helps pass the time, and on road trips, you won’t have to hear them ask, “Are we there yet?” or say, “I’m bored!”
- Splash, Splash, Splash. You don’t need a pool in your backyard to have water fun.You can create your own water park in your own yard. Set up sprinklers, water slides, a small pool and /or spray bottles[like the ‘Super Soaker’, patented by an African-American man:Lonnie Johnson] Many city dwellers create fun with opened fire hydrants, too.
- Cool Treats for a Hot, Summer Day. Make a healthy treat for and with the kids. Let them help. Make homemade popsicles with your favorite fruit. Use this time together for learning reinforcement as you measure ingredients, count fruit, etc…
POOL SAFETY TIPS:
- Watch your children when they are in the water, no matter how well you believe they may swim. Keep young swimmers and children within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
- Choose a ‘Water Watcher’. When several adults present, choose one to be responsible for watching the children in or near the water for a certain period of time. Take turns in shifts. 15 minutes is a reasonable time frame for each adult’s shift as a ‘Water Watcher’.
- Avoid Distractions. When your child is in or near the water, give him or her your full attention. This can’t be over-emphasized because it only takes a minute for accidents like accidental drowning to occur. Put away cell phones, books and magazines. FULL attention to prevent accidents.
- Install fences around pools at home. A fence should surround ALL sides of the pool and be at least 4 feet tall with self-closing and self-latching gates.
- Empty kiddie pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of children’s reach.
- Teach children how to swim. Every child is different, so do enroll them in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around the water.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in pools. Be aware of situations that are unique to open water, such as limited visibility, depth, uneven surfaces, currents and undertow. I live near the beach and these are real issues to be mindful. It is much more challenging to swim in open water than swimming in a pool.
- Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills. It is important to know how to respond in an emergency without putting yourself at risk of drowning. Learning these skills may help save a life.
Make sure your kids learn these 5 water survival skills;
- Step or jump into water over their head and then return to the surface
- Turn around in the water and orient to safety
- Float or tread water
- Combine breathing with forward movement in the water
- Exit the water.
Avoid unnecessary tragedies. Among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1-4 years old. It’s the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children 19 and younger. Everyone’s lives are precious and irreplaceable. The life of a child is especially precious. Keep your child SAFE, while you all have a safe and fun Summer!