Teach Water Safety to Children
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Lynn, Jonathan and 2 others
Swimming is an extremely pleasurable pastime or hobby, not to mention water covers three-quarters of the earth's surface, which makes crossing it a real possibility in a person's lifetime. Learning to swim is best done when you are young. If you do not know how to swim, it is not too late. But, if you have kids, this is the best time to teach them to swim and to learn water safety for a lifetime of pleasure and safety. How do you motivate your children to take the challenge? Make it fun and interesting!
Imagine summer passing without you getting the chance to take your kids on a great beach or resort adventure. That would be so boring. Kids are fast learners and they learn more when treated to an outdoor experience. But, knowing the risks that bodies of water entail, it can also be intimidating to take them outdoors or even in a pool. Just watching them is not enough; accidents can still happen despite your vigilance. Besides, how can you enjoy your summer when you are so wrapped up with their safety in the water? You have the right to get worried; take a look at these stats and facts.
Some stats and facts to motivate parents
- 1Ruining the fun of summer and weekends. Do you know that about two-thirds of fatal drownings happen during summer and weekends?Advertisement
- 2Drowning statistics. Drowning is a major cause of accidental death for kids under five years old in the US. The figure is highest among toddlers aged one to two.Advertisement
- 3Other water accidents. Children are also subject to other risks in and around water. For older children, there is also the risk of spinal cord injuries from diving, and drowning due to boating accidents.
- 4Risks associated with swimming pools. Having a swimming pool in your yard increases the risk for kids. This is, in fact, the leading drowning risk for preschoolers.
- 5Listen to what AAP has to say. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents not to build a swimming pool in the yard until your kids are all over five years old. They drown silently in 30 seconds as they fall into the water without making a splash or sound.
Get Started: The Preliminaries
- 1Get them motivated. Water is something that most kids find fascinating. Playing in and with water appeals to most of them. Thus, it is not hard to get them interested in swimming. Taking them outdoors and playing with them in the water can inject fun in the motivation process. Learning a thing or two on how to make swimming lessons a fun activity can make them more motivated. Make sure to integrate safety rules in a fun way.Advertisement
- 2Know when the right time is. Constant exposure to a water environment can make them see water as a "friend" and a source of fun. Do not pressure a kid to learn swimming when he or she is still not mentally and emotionally ready for it. It can traumatize them. It is easier to teach kids water safety when they are ready for it.
- 3Make early "water trips" a pleasant experience.
- Adults who didn't learn to swim usually remember a traumatic experience associated with water.
- Unpleasant experiences can deter one from learning to swim. Conversely, positive experiences are motivating.
- They will be more open to water safety when they understand what you mean and what it can mean to them.
- 4Know your goal. Your first goal is to make your children "like" the water. This is the only way to make them go a step further - swim, negotiate a distance, and stay safe. Swimming lessons can only start when you can make them go to the water without fear. Teaching them to respect water for safety can come later.
- 5Talk to your kids. No matter what's the ages of your kids, you can communicate to them the things they must know about swimming and water. Of course, you need to be able to talk to them on their level. You need to be creative, positive and encouraging. Avoid applying pressure that will associate swimming and water safety with "tall order."
Strategies to introduce fun and motivate kids
- 1Give them treats. A positive experience starts with getting rewards, fun, and pleasure. You can start by rewarding your kids with fun treats they love. Small fun stuff to add to their collection will do, or candies, chocolates or a balloon. Bigger kids can perhaps enjoy a trip to the pizza or ice cream parlor. Be creative and know what your kids really love.
Tips, Tricks, and Warnings
- 1Give your kids your undivided attention. Stay focused when you are with your kids at a pool or beach. Give them instructions and supervise their activity without fail.
- 2Water Watcher card strategy. This approach is particularly useful when there are a number of adults present during swimming activity with kids. This designates an adult to be the "official Water Watcher" for a certain period of time to ensure that there will be no lapses in supervision.
- 3Swimming buddies. Bigger kids who may tend to be more adventurous can benefit by having a swimming partner, every time. Even adults should never swim alone.
- 4Teach the kids basic safety rules. Teach children never to go near or in the water without adult supervision. Fortify rules by assigning adults to take turns watching the kids.
- 5Adults need to learn too.
- Saving techniques and CPR are most important when going on a water adventure trip.
- Knowing that you are prepared for the emergencies can give you peace of mind. Ask around - recreation facilities, local hospitals, and fire departments often offer these types of training.
- 6Education goes a long, long way. Teach your kids about dangers when swimming and about other water risks, like drain entanglement and entrapment.
- 7If you think your kid has the potential to be a competitive swimmer, encourage him in this direction. Consult and talk with several swim coaches before putting him under the supervision of one. Analyze what stroke he can excel in: is it freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke, or medley (a combination of the four strokes)? Is he good for the sprints or the long distance events? Additionally, inspect the training pool. Is it sanitary and well maintained and the chlorine content is just right? Is it near or far from your home. These are important questions because once the training of your kid goes into high gear, he will be swimming almost every day. Swimming is one sport wherein if you just miss one week of training, you go down several notches in terms of competitiveness.