Editor’s Note: This is the second post in our three-part series focused on teaching children to swim with the SwimWays Swim Steps program. The steps include Swim Step 1: Water Introduction, Swim Step 2: Water Exploration, and Swim Step 3: Swim Training. Swim along with us and teach your child the skills of a lifetime!
Last week we talked about 10 tips for introducing your baby to the pool and this week we’re continuing our series on teaching kids to swim with the SwimWays Swim Steps program with a focus on water exploration.
Be sure to review all the water safety tips we shared in our first post if you are starting your child out at Swim Step 2. Another tool for teaching preschoolers water safety tips at this stage is a children’s book from JCMF Children’s Charities called Josh the Otter. (Buy the book or watch it online.)
Once your child is comfortable being in the water in their baby float, it won’t be long before they will want to start exploring the water. However, it’s a big step between introducing your child to the pool and jumping into formal swim lessons, so that’s why we created Swim Step 2 to help ease the transition.
Swim Step 2 Goals
In Swim Step 2, the goals are:
- Continue to build confidence in your child gradually as they start to explore the water.
- Continue to develop trust between you and your child.
- Help your child learn pre-swimming skills such as balancing upright in the water and leaning forward to paddle.
Our Swim Sweater, Swim Vest, and Float Shorty swim training products (sold at Toys “R” Us) feature permanent flotation and are great tools at this stage. They provide just the right amount of support and freedom of movement so kids feel more confident as they take their first strokes.
Did you know we’ve been making Swim Steps products for more than 50 years? A few of you (including this author!) may have learned to swim with the little red Swim Sweater. There’s a reason this product is still around: It works!
Colorful Swim Goggles and Masks are also great for kids just getting used to water splashing in their face. They might even be tempted to lean forward and blow bubbles in the water!
(An important note about our Swim Steps flotation aids: Our flotation aids are NOT life-saving devices, they are designed for swim training. If you are looking for a life vest, try one of our kids PFDs.)
Water Exploration Tips
Maintain constant touch supervision with your child. They may feel more confident than their skills will support at this stage, so it’s important to be right by their side in case they want to reach out and hold you if they feel a bit insecure.
That said, don’t hold onto your child the whole time – let them explore and start to develop a sense of independence and confidence in their budding skills. At this stage you are learning what your child needs, so relax, have fun, and figure it out together.
Pool Toys and Games
Water surface toys can help to engage your child while still keeping them in their comfort zone. This water play also helps to create a positive association with being in the pool.
For kids 2 years of age and older, try toys such as Pick Me Up Pelican (sold at Walmart), Gobble Gobble Guppies (sold at Target), and Spouts (sold at Toys “R” Us) that also have a fun educational component.
Brightly colored floating balls or pool noodles spread out around the pool can also help encourage your child to swim over to them, building hand and eye coordination along the way.
Watch our Swim Step 2 video to see these tips and more in action!