Now that Summer has officially started in the new house, my husband and I have been so excited to start teaching our son Milan how to swim. There’s nothing better than going for a relaxing dip in the pool on a hot summer day, and we’ve been seizing every opportunity we can to cool off in the water.
Since moving from our apartment in the city, into a house with a pool, it has been one of my biggest priorities to finally get Milan swimming. Not only is that a fun way to spend the summer, it is also a huge safety concern. There’s nothing scarier than having a pool in your garden, and a toddler who doesn’t know how to swim. Every parent wants our children to be safe and prepared at all times, so why not start early by helping them to quickly learn how to swim.
We’re getting pretty serious in teaching our son the basics, so I thought I would share some of our success and give some tips so that you can ensure your child learns to swim as quickly as possible. If you’re interesting in getting your family in the water this summer, check out my tips to quickly teach your toddler how to swim:
The earlier that you introduce them to water, the sooner your toddler will learn how to swim. Even with a smaller child, bath time can become a learning experience. When Milan was only 8 months, Grandma had him in the bathtub blowing bubbles under the water. It was fun! He loved it!
I thought she was just joking around, but only now do I realize that she knew what she was doing! As soon as we started real lessons, he already had bubbles down and was able to move on that much faster.
Before we moved into our current house, we never really had access to swimming. We lived in an apartment, and the closest public pool was kind of a mess. I was not about to let my baby swim in that communal cesspool, no matter how hot it got. To solve the infernal issue of life without A/C, we bought a tiny inflatable pool and put it on our little balcony.
It was literally too cute. It was at that moment that we decided that if we were going to buy a new house, it had to have a pool for Milan. He loves the water. I think a lot of children are just like him, and naturally love playing in the water. The earlier that you cultivate that love, the earlier they will understand how to swim.
Go swimming everyday
Now that summer has started, there’s almost no excuse not to go swimming. It can be so hot, and there’s no better way to cool down than by jumping into the pool. If you spend at least a few moments in the pool everyday, going over what you learned and encouraging good behavior, your toddler will learn how to swim in no time. The more opportunities your child has to learn, the faster they will pick it up.
Keep lessons short.
Toddlers have a hard time focusing on anything for a long time, especially if they’re eager to jump in and splash around with their friends. Keep your lessons short, to about 15 minutes of direct instruction, then let them play in the shallow end. Periodically while you’re in the pool, reinstate what you two went over, and slowly introduce new techniques and helpful suggestions. Every time you get into the pool with your toddler, always start with another 15 minute lesson on how to swim, going over blowing bubbles, floating, moving your arms, and kicking.
Watch your words
Children pick up on everything, every last word. Be extremely careful when selecting how you describe the water to them. Its best to prepare in your head beforehand what you want to say when teaching me. Make sure that encourage them to try their hardest, and to enjoy the water. At the same time however, be sure to thoroughly explain the dangers of drowning and the importance of proper caution around the water. You want to do this in a way that will not cause fear, and will let them know they can feel safe around water now that they know how to swim.
Have a Routine
Children benefit from regularity. If you do the same thing every time, in the same order, not only will it help them to know what to expect, but they will get into the right mindset to learn much quicker. Our routine has made this whole process much easier. If you’re struggling for ideas, check out ours.
Our Pre – ‘ how to swim lesson ‘ routine
The first step to making sure your child can enjoy their time in the pool, is to make sure they are properly prepared to learn how to swim. Every time I go out to the pool with Milan, we go through a simple routine
1. Put on our Swimming Suits
We always let our little guy put his own suit on, which he loves. Make sure to cover as much skin as you can. We opt for this cute little speedo, but board-shorts are ideal. Protect your child’s fragile skin with a UV-proof swim shirt like this one. If you have a child who is not potty trained, you should also find water diapers.
2. Grab our towels
- This one is pretty self – explanatory… I just wanted to include this super cute picture of MILAN.
3. Grab our toys.
Water guns, noodles, and floating balls make it clear to your child that the pool is a fun and welcoming place. We teach Milan to cautious and safe around the water, but also want him to learn that there’s no need to fear swimming. He deserves to have all the fun in the world, especially during summer! So grab your toys and let’s go!
4. Apply Sunscreen.
We don’t let our kid out of the house without 50+ sunscreen. Milan is so pale, I’m always worried about his fair skin. So, when we’re outside under the hot sun, trying to learn how to swim, I apply 100+ SPF waterproof sunblock creme ten minutes before we go. Then as we’re walking out the door, I spray him again all over (even under his shirt) with a sprayable 30+ waterproof sunscreen. Once we’re by the pool, I reapply the 100+ sunscreen every 30 minutes. I use a lot. ALOT. You should do the same. I lather him up in sunblock and wait for it all to absorb. If I could fill the whole pool with sunblock, I totally would. If he wants to grow up and buy a tanning bed, that’s fine… but until he’s eighteen, its a parent’s job to make sure he’s not at a higher risk for skin cancer. I also always try to make sure there’s a place by the pool for him to sit out of the sun, like under and umbrella or under the covered patio.
5. Grab our flotation device
Some parents swear by a life vest, others by floating bathing suits. We chose to go for the good old fashioned water wings, and I love them. At this age, 2-4, I think that children still need help to stay afloat. We are slowly experimenting with learning how to swim without the water wings, but for now they work great. They do limit the child’s range of motion in the pool, but it this stage I find it more important how well they keep his head above the water. Milan knows he’s not allowed to play by the pool without his wings on.
6. DIVE IN.
At this time, we start our 15 minute lesson. Milan is so eager to get into the pool, that he catches on so quickly. After your lesson, remember to let them play. Its not school-time, its SUMMER. Splash around, go for a cannonball, and grab your waterguns. Enjoy this time, and enjoy the sun.