Summer Fun in the Water For Kids
Title: Summer Fun in the Water For Kids
Author: Coleen Smith
Summer time is almost here, and you know what that means – warm sunny days and no school. Kids look forward to summer all year, and with good reason. There are so many fun things to do outdoors. So where do you start?
A lot of summertime activities center around water, whether it’s the pool, the beach, or a water park. The first order of business is to make sure that your kids are water safe. I use that term loosely. It’s not possible for a very young child – say under the age of five – to be water safe. Parents must be within arm’s reach. Still, children should start learning to swim early. They’ll get comfortable in the water and learn swimming skills that will eventually make them strong, safe swimmers.
Get your child enrolled in swim lessons as early in the season as you can. They’ll start off the summer with the right habits and incorporate some of what they’ve learned into their water play. To keep in practice, you could have them swim one lap, or whatever is appropriate for their age, before playing every time you go to the pool.
A lot of community pools aren’t heated this early in the season. Fortunately there are a lot of private swim schools with heated pools. If your child is sensitive to chlorine, you can even find salt water pools to learn in. Still, most pools are kept clean with chlorine – a lot of it. A lot of kids wear goggles in the pool, just because the chlorine is so strong.
If your kids are old enough to remember how to swim from one year to the next, they’re not going to want to take swim lessons with the little kids. If you are less certain about their skills than they are, there are other options to reinforce their swimming skills. You can sign them up for a swim team, a water polo introductory class, or a junior lifeguard program. Scouts often incorporate a swimming test into achievement requirements.
The beach is another place that you’ll be spending a lot of time this summer. The ocean can keep kids busy and happy for hours. There’s something endlessly fascinating about the waves. Even the smallest kids love to play chicken with the waves. There are a few things that are different, safety-wise, about the ocean. First, the water doesn’t hold still. Kids need to get familiar with the fact that they might be up to their knees one minute and up to their chest the next. Teach them how to behave when they wipe out. If they know what’s coming, they won’t panic. When they’re old enough, they need to learn about rip currents.
The other big difference about the ocean is that it’s harder for you to see them, because the water’s not clear and they’re so far away if you’re on the beach. Always go to a beach with a lifeguard. Go into the water with them when they’re little. When they’re old enough to go into the surf on their own, set limits about how far out they can go, and have them stay with a buddy. Have them wear something that makes it easier for you to see them. Rashguards are a good idea anyway, and them come in very light materials. Have them come out of the water for a rest when they get tired. This is your opportunity to take your eyes off the water for a little while!
Most of all, let them play and wear themselves out. Kids and water are a perfect combination, and we’re lucky to have so many great places to play in the sun.