True, Summer 2014 is winding down. That doesn’t mean that the Valley of the Sun’s poolside fun dries up when the sun sets on Labor Day.
Temperatures might soon dip too low for outdoor swimming enjoyment, but this is a great time for some education before next summer. Your friendly Pool Repair Chandler crew strongly suggest thinking now about teaching toddlers a healthy respect for water safety as good times abound at indoor pools around Phoenix throughout the fall and winter.
Many children between ages 1-4 are ready to master basic learn-to-swim lessons, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (via Livestrong) — it’s really simply a matter of adapting what you teach and how you present it so that the lessons hold the youngers’ attention. If you own a pool or plan to spend much time beside one with your family throughout the year, there are no more important swimmers to make a priority.
Toddlers are young enough to be fascinated by everything that surrounds them — including the water. They aren’t necessarily old enough to have a fair respect for both how much fun and how dangerous it can be. It’s very important that toddlers learn to swim under the watchful eyes of CPR and First Aid-trained adults who will pay constant attention and know how to keep cool heads in case of an emergency.
After that, the next most important tasks involve teaching in a way that makes learning memorably fun.
MAKE FUN OF IT
The water can be a uniquely fun place to play. First, it has to be taken seriously and understood.
When it comes to toddlers, it’s best taken seriously with a healthy dose of play.
Overcoming toddlers’ naturally still-developing motor skills toward strong swimming takes bringing the experience to their level. Make a game of it. For a first step, start with playing around in a shallow level where the child can either stand or sit and keep his or her head above water either way. This can start as simply as just leading your child to the Pool Repair Chandler steps to sit down with a toy and play among the water.
Once you’ve emphasized enjoyment and gotten your toddler used to the feel of the water, work on movement. In the second step, teach your child to splash around and blow some bubbles, in order to get used to actually breathing safely in the water. Just be patient, as putting his or her face under the water at all can be a scary new experience for one so young.
So you’ve introduced your toddler to the water and then to the basics of moving and breathing in it. Next, Pool Service Chandler recommends that you teach the most basic motions for moving through the water. Sit your child on the deck outside the Pool Repair Chandler and let him or her kick at the surface of the water.
STEP UP THE GAMES
The first steps largely involve getting your toddler comfortable with the water. Now, it’s time to start getting comfortable moving freely in it.
For a good starting point, play around with teaching your child to retrieve a toy from underwater, as a preparation for getting used to putting his or her face entirely under. Start with something as basic as just retrieving a toy or some other sinking object from the bottom of the Pool Service Chandler’s shallowest steps. However, this works best with something the child will be enthusiastic or urgent about wanting to retrieve.
After that, it’s time to really turn the pool into a fun place to be. Let the kids ride around on your shoulders, even “gliding” them around in roughly chest-deep water. Again, the idea is to reinforce the association between the water and fun. Make sure you keep them secure and speak with a reassuring tone. that keeps them comfortable.
Next, it’s finally time to get used to going underwater. Don’t surprise your toddler. Teach them with a “1-2-3” countdown to take a deep breath, close their mouths, and smoothly bring them under. Inevitably, someone is getting an eyeful of water. When that happens, treat it like a game once more; have them think of their fingers as “windshield wipers” so that they’ll lean toward wiping away water without rubbing it in.
From here, it’s time to start teaching some of the more “advanced” (for a toddler) points of swimming.
These portions of the lessons should start with teaching your child to find the Pool Service Chandler wall in case he or she should accidentally fall in. Once you’ve had them hold the wall away from the steps, teach them to use a hand-over-hand crawl along the Pool Repair Chandler wall in order to move toward the steps.
After this, you can start getting your child used to wetting his or her face by going back to retrieving objects from the steps. This will teach the process of taking a deep breath and holding it with a closed mouth before going under, as well as opening eyes once submerged. It’s the start of the hard, harrowing processes that also include teaching the back float, prone gliding toward steps and the Pool Service Chandler wall, and safely entering the water, which we’ll discuss in a future blog.
In the meantime, a few last easy tips for guaranteeing a safe environment by the water:
- Early on, keep your toddler in your arms while teaching
- Since children under 3 have a tendency to swallow a lot of water in panicky breaths, wait on submerging your child until that age or older to avoid exposure to ingesting dangerous pool chemicals
- To avoid contaminating your pool with urine or fecal matter, dress your toddlers in swim diapers
- Fence in your pool on all sides and secure it with a self-closing and latching gate attached higher than your child can reach — typically, about four to five feet, with no footholds nearby
- Always keep a full complement of rescue equipment — plastic ring buoy, reaching pole, first-aid kit and portable phone — near the water at all times