We are cruising through May, with Memorial Day rapidly approaching, which means swimming pool season is almost here. Honestly? That makes me nervous.
I loved to swim growing up. I basically spent entire summers of my childhood at the pool. I swam through both of my pregnancies. My sister recently put a pool in her backyard a mile up the street from me. But as a mom of three young children, I’m pretty petrified of the pool, especially now that our boys (all aged 3 and under) outnumber both my husband and me.
I know the only way to get over my fears is to educate myself first, get them into regular swim lessons, second, and thirdly, to practice smart habits around the pool as a caregiver. Goldfish Swim School can help with all three and has been a great resource for those of us at Charlotte Smarty Pants. I went to them for some advice this week to help get my mind right for the summer, and they answered some hard questions with direct answers and also offered parents some practical skills to work on with their children.
I’m going to share that below. In the meantime, for more information about Goldfish Swim School, go to www.goldfishswimschool.com/charlotte.
1. What kind of supervision is required when kids are in or around water?
Goldfish: Any time kids are around water, designate a “water guardian” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. Note that most children who drown are supervised. Adults should practice “touch supervision” for young swimmers and keep them within an arm’s reach at all times.
2. What about puddle jumpers, floaties and other floatation devices? How do I know which ones are safe to use?
Goldfish: Know that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
3. What water safety skills can parents practice with their kids this summer?
Goldfish: There are several basic skills that our instructors at Goldfish Swim School work on with students every week. Parents can practice these skills with their kids anytime they are in the water together:
- Work on getting in and out of the pool safely. Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper! Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. Practice this often; you can even do this on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! After you practice, always remember to celebrate. Eventually, your little one will be strong enough to manage the movement on his or her own! This is a skill that kids continue to use to safely exit the pool — even when they are older!
- Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help them physically turn back to the wall and then assist them in getting out of the pool by using the Fin, Fin, Belly, Flipper method. Do this over and over again. As they get more confident, let them go under the water and come to the surface on their own. This teaches kids to automatically turn back to the wall behind them to climb out. If a child were to fall into a pool, this skill could help them find the quickest way to safety.
- Rollover/Sea Otter Float. Work with your child on turning over and getting their faces out of the water to take a breath when he/she fatigues.
Goldfish Swim School Charlotte provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years in a family-friendly setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student-teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools using a proven curriculum. Classes are offered in a safe, child-friendly and fun environment using their research-based philosophy called The Science of SwimPlay®. Visit the website for more information: goldfishswimschool.com/charlotte.