How did you get your kids to swim? And some safety tips!

Cameron, right at home on the water

Cameron, right at home on the water

My son is 4.5 years old and he just recently started to swim.  It’s pure joy watching him feel the freedom of holding your breath and going under water.  Totally doing something that you really shouldn’t be able to do…To live, even if briefly, under water.

But his love for water came in waves…I’ll be honest, he didn’t always like it.  No actually he was afraid of it for a bit there.  He used to love it when he was younger, and then we moved to Hawaii. How ironic, right? (he used to have a fear of sand too when he was itty bitty back in California…THANK GOD that didn’t last long!)  Perhaps he realized that we were completely surrounded by the great vast ocean and just how much more water there was within 5000 miles of us, than land.  I don’t know. But he was scared and just not that into it.

We were a bit scared ourselves when this new found fear came about.  We do live in Hawaii after all. And the ocean and water in general is at the core of your very existence.  You live at the beach year round.  And my husband surfs…and of course a surfing Dad wants his kids to surf…especially his son.  So hubby was not so stoked when this distrust of water came over Cameron.

Well, it seems just like everything else in life thus far, Cameron, on his own time, has decided to like water and give swimming a chance.  Yes, he’s holding his breathe, kicking, moving his arms and going from point A to point B, in the water!  He enjoys “falling” (its more like throwing himself ) off the boogie board at the beach and pretending he’s a submarine, all under water.  It’s so incredible!

And a tad bittersweet.  I am so proud of my boy but can’t believe he’s growing up and can swim! This all happened over this past month of school vacation.

So how’d we do it?

  • Grandma came for a visit and took Cam to the baby pool at her hotel every single day for a week.
  • Daddy and Mommy kept it up and took Cam to the local pool and beach non-stop
  • We took him to a local pirate pool and for some reason, when you are a pirate and fighting imaginary bad guys, falling in the water face first is no longer scary, you hold your breathe and voila! You can swim!

I think consistency is key – don’t do a swim class only in the summer and forget about it.  Keep your kids in the water year round.  Even in colder climates, maybe you can find an indoor pool.  Or use the bathtub to practice bubbles and kicking.

Something else I really wanted to touch on is beach safety – teach your kids beach safety.  Especially if living around the ocean or planning trips to the beach. Beach swimming is quite different than pool swimming.  Yes the basic idea of holding your breath and moving your limbs is the same but the ocean is by far more erratic and unpredictable than even that one kid that keeps jumping on you in the pool (don’t cha hate that kid?!)

So my TWO rules for BEACH SAFETY to start with…

  • Never turn your back on the ocean. The wave WILL topple you whether you are looking or not, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if you are looking, you have time to brace yourself or get away
  • Watch before jumping in – take time to see where the waves break (so you aren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time), see any currents that don’t look safe and anything that could pose a threat to your child’s safety, such as submerged rocks.  You may not see them at first glance.  Check out the water a good 10 minutes and make it a game with your kids, perhaps counting the waves as they come in or predicting when the next one wil roll in.

For more swimming fun, check out today’s momversation below. yours truly was again a guest panelist (and feel free to go leave comments at momversation saying you want me to be a regular! (if you want me to be a regular, that is ) ).

So let’s keep the conversation going…How did you get your kids to swim?  Did you have any trouble?  How old were they when they learned to swim? Share!

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  1. This is a great topic! My oldest had a big scare when we were at the subdivision pool. Her little brother (then 1 1/2) ran towards the deep end and I went to grab him. When I looked back she had gotton into the deeper water (about 5′) and was bobbing trying to scream but was only taking in water. None of the 3 lifeguards that were ‘on duty’ did anything. I jumped into the water with my clothes and shoes still on (b/c we were there w/ friends who ‘had been’ right next to her…I don’t know where they ended up and WHY they weren’t near her) so I jumped in and got her out. She was fine but did end up throwing up a bunch of water.

    When my son when he was 2 1/2 we were at a friends house that has an inground pool and 2 of my friends were in the water with the kids (I was nursing my infant on the side). My son yelled…’watch me mama’ and jumped right in before we could even yell ‘NO!’. It completely scared the bajeebees out of me and he was laying face down not moving. I think my heart stopped until we got him out and he started throwing up water and finally crying. THAT summer we enrolled both my older kids in swimming lessons!!! So they learned how to swim through lessons.

    I’ve always wanted them to have fun in water but still have a safe fear of it. We would practice putting our faces in the water in the bathtub and blowing bubbbles and seeing how long they could hold their breath before coming up. The older two (when they still took baths together) would play a ‘lets see who can hold their breath the longest’ and it worked well enough that (obviously) they didn’t have a fear of the water. I will be enrolling them in swimming lessons until they are either too old for them or tell me they don’t want/need it anymore…and I have to agree with them. It will all depend on how safe I think they are.

    *Sorry that was long! lol*
    .-= Stefanie´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  2. Great Momversation Sarah!

    Abbie went through the fear of water at the beginning of this season. Thankfully it was short lived and both of the kids are doing amazing in the water. We had swim lessons for the both of them, which developed their independent confidence, and instilled more of the LOOK AT ME, instead of HOLD ME into my little one. Alex learned to be more comfortable under the water, as he could hold his breath, but just not longer than a couple of moments because it would bug him out. Now, you’d never know that either of them had issues in June!
    .-= Lauren @4BabyAndMom´s last blog ..Tide Stain Release & Bounty Dryer Bar -Back to School Laundry Duo Review and Giveaway! =-.

  3. Fabulous advice! Both my boys start lessons next week. However, I love the idea of keeping them swimming year round. I’m going to look for a year round pool:-) Loved the Momversation too!

  4. Cat, don’t be embarrassed. You aren’t alone! If you could, what about getting an instructor for the whole family? I’ll admit that water is scary to me too and I am afraid of large waves after a scary incident when I was a teenager, the waves were much bigger than I thought (yeah, I didn’t watch to see the sets come in before swimming out) and I got stuck really far out and had to ride a surf board in – I didn’t surf. I was toppled by the wave with a board hitting my head. So I share anxiety too, to an extent, that’s why ocean safety is very important to me.
    I know it’s tough but getting your kids familiar and comfortable in the water will do them a world of good and could save them should they ever find themselves in a body of water for whatever reason. (easier said than done, I know) Does your husband know how to swim? Perhaps he could take on that task for the kids. My husband does the swimming more than I do.

  5. I’m really embarrassed to admit that not only do I not know how to swim, none of my children do either. Water is a very scary place for me that brings on panic attacks if the level gets any higher that my waist, thanks to a few near drowning incidents as a child.

    I would love to be able to get in the pool and teach my kids but since I lack the skill myself, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start.
    .-= Cat @ 3 Kids and Us´s last blog ..Back to School with TJMaxx and Marshalls Giveaway =-.

  6. I’m glad you shared this. Our son just turned 5 this summer and he too went through a phase last year where he just didn’t want to go in the water or have anything to do with it. This was hard because we spend our summers on the beach. The same thing worked for us though, as far as consistency. 9 of our 12 months are too cold for the beach so I started taking him to the pool this past winter, a couple times/week. When it got warm enough for the beach he was so excited and jumped right in! It really is a good feeling :)

  7. you look great! Love the flower! We have a baby pool right now and taylor (11months) loves it- I cant ait till we get to take her to the beach!
    .-= eve @ confesions of a housewife´s last blog ..BlackWicks MANLY candle scent- FINALLY! =-.

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