Here in Florida, swimming is part of life. There are lakes, pools, springs, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico to swim in.
I remember taking swimming lessons as a little girl at a neighbor's pool. I blew bubbles underwater and learned to float.
My children grew up in the water, too, but we taught them to swim ourselves, introducing them to the water while they were still in diapers.
I definitely recommend swim lessons if you can afford them. All children should be safe near water. You never know when you will have to swim to escape danger or help rescue someone.
The other day, we were swimming with my grandchildren and children in their neighborhood pool. Rusty got out of the pool, took off his floaties, and jumped back in. "He can't swim!" my son-in-law said sharply as I was watching him struggle in a state of shock. That jolted me and I scooped him up. My heart was pounding as I realized how quickly accidents happen.
It reminded me of my baby sister who did the same thing. Took off her floatie and jumped right back into our next-door neighbor's pool. My neighbor Tommy jumped in and saved her life. She had quickly sunk to the bottom of the deep end.
All children should be able if they jump or fall in a pool, lake, or other body of water to swim, escaping to safety.
If you are looking for lessons or teaching children yourself, here are some steps to take babies and toddlers on their first steps to swim proficiency.
Discover the Water
The first step toward swimming is to introduce your children to the water. For us that meant taking our babies into the pool with us. I like bringing babies in the pool a lot better than the ocean because the waves can be unpredictable.
We showed our babies how to blow bubbles on the surface of the water and let them try it.
We let them sit in little baby floats and kick their little feet, but we always kept a hand on the float, staying attentive.
While we were letting our babies explore the pool water, they were always in our arms.
Don't Forget Pool Safety!
Before we go on, let me just remind everyone to stay safe. Children can drown in an instance. My husband has rescued more than one little one who jumped in the pool without knowing how to swim.
Here are some government posters to remind you of pool safety.
Explore the Water
While we were letting our babies explore the pool water, they were always in our arms or we had a hand on the float.
We walk down the steps into the pool together with our toddler so he can see that the pool gets deeper and deeper. We talk about the water and how to be safe in the water.
We teach water safety. For example, we don't let our children run near the pool or swim without an adult in the water.
Get Used to the Water
Getting used to the water just means that we go often when the weather is nice for swimming.
We would often pick a day or two each week that we swam each week over the summer. That way it was written in our schedules. This routine got our children used to the water week after week.
Sometimes our children had seasons of being afraid of the water and we didn't push it. We just let the season pass and soon they wanted to go in the water again.
Move in the Water
I recommend formal swimming lessons. However, that said, our children never had them. All our children wanted to "try" swimming so they would "swim" back and forth from Daddy to Mommy who were only 2 feet apart. This grew and grew until finally they were swimming like little fish.
Our children took years until they finally could swim, but all that time of discovering the water, exploring the water, and getting used to the water led up to finally swimming.
Today, all my children enjoy the water and are all helping the grandchildren discover and enjoy the water, too. Just yesterday, my oldest grandson said he wanted to try to "swim" and he swam two feet to his dad. He's four years old, but he has been discovering, exploring, and getting used to the water since he was a baby.
How do you teach your children to swim?
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!