August 31, 2012

Best Practices for parents and swimming lessons

Parents, you teach your own child to swim?  It's not easy!!!

Parents, you want your child to enjoy swimming but when you get serious about swimming lessons your child may fuss or cry, not because he is afraid, but because he won’t want to follow your instructions, he’ll want to play! Or, your child may be uncomfortable with the noise, the water temperature, or even the way you are holding him.  Don’t let it get you! Keep a calm, gentle and fun attitude.  Your child will sense your mood and react to it.  Sing a song, go for his favorite toy, promise a treat, let him dunk you and make funny noises!  You can do it!!
Don't wait "until he is ready", your child needs this life skill now!!

Before you get in the pool:
  • Watch these Learn Swim with Miss Bea dvd sections several times
  • Become familiar with the positions for holding your child when practicing the kicking, the digging, and the back float.
  • Have the child 2yo+ watch the dvd also; comment and ask questions.  They love it!
  • Take your child to a pool at least once before the swimming lessons start and practice in the bathtub – make a friend that has a pool if necessary!  You don’t have to put the child under water but play with pouring water on the face.
  • Kids will do anything for the teacher.  Tell your child that you are the teacher helper
  • Describe to your child what he will be doing, no surprises!
  • If the child has water experiences, do some of the same fun things you usually do in the pool.  Try not to behave differently or the child will get anxious.  (Let him use the floaties some of the time.)
  • Have the child pour water on your face, or have the child dunk you. Have the child dunk his toy also. It’s fun for them!
  • Know that each child is different and not all the kids will progress at the same rate.  Some will cry and some not. Ignore the crying while being sympathetic.
  • Offer the reluctant child a treat for after the lessons each day.Have a calm, gentle and fun attitude at all time.  Your child will sense your mood and react to it.
  • The more you prepare before you get serious with swimming lessons the faster the child will learn how to swim and be safe in the water.

 Parents, have you ever tried this?  What are some of your experiences?

August 21, 2012

Is your child addicted to swimming with goggles?

Whenever you see anyone swimming seriously, you see them with goggles.  Why is that?

What are the advantages of using goggles when swimming?  The main reason is obvious, to see better!  But kids swim without goggles and don't seem to mind the water in their eyes.  When they are little, they swim and open their eyes.  It's only the older kids who are amazed when they see a little one with their eyes open and no goggles under the water.

When the child gets older and accustomed to using goggles, they may get to the point that they think they cannot swim without them, and that could get to be a dangerous place to be! 

In my early years of teaching I saw several children jump in the pool without their goggles or fall in the pool without them, panic and not be able to get to the side of the pool.  Since then I insist that my students swim some of the time without goggles.  I tell them that I understand that it is uncomfortable and hard to see but that they need to know that they don't need their goggles to swim.  And they so easily forget.  

We parents are responsible too!  How often do we remind them to put on their goggles?  In fact so much so that we help them subconsciously believe that they can't swim without them.

Most people think that it's the chlorine that hurts your eyes but most often the ph balance of the pool is the culprit.  As a former backyard pool owner of many years, it was a challenge to keep the alkalinity balanced for a sparkling clean pool.  (When we changed to a salt system it was much easier!)

Whenever we go to the pool or we plan swimming lessons for our kids we naturally think of goggles.  But which kind to get?  Many times I was tempted and bought the cheapest ones available but, not a good idea! 
No, I am not going to make it easy for you here and tell you which ones to buy or where to buy them.   There are lots of swim stores on the internet and local shops that sell some very good ones.  There also are very many types and fits for different ages and faces, you will have to try several probably before you find the type that you like.  Just look at this display of images of goggles
But remember, don't let your child get addicted to using goggles!  Periodically have your child get a toy from the bottom, swim to the side, and to you realizing that goggles make swimming more fun.  They are not a necessary tool  to make him a safe, accomplished swimmer.

Just after publishing this post I got an email from Finis - a company from whom I bought goggles for the kids and some new fins.

So here is a reason for the NEW BOLT goggles: to reduce drag and increase speed!!

August 2, 2012

Drowning doesn't look like drowning

It is so upsetting that there are just so many needless drownings of children and adults during the summer!  A child or teen may not be able or willing to seek help.  If we can recognize certain visible signs of distress, we may be able to become alerted and prevent a drowning situation. 

What are some signs?  Public pools have rest time for their swimmers. How can we tell if a child needs to get out of the water and rest?

We must always keep our eyes open to all activity in the pool.  Drownings occur most often when we are distracted.  In this drowning incident, the father went inside to dry off "for a minute" and when he returned to the pool area, his child was in the bottom of the pool!

Here is an article about how to recognize drowning:
Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning . So what does it look like?  

"Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. ... drowning (does not) looks like (what you see while) watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound.  Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life."

Here is a video about an ocean near drowning experience.

"Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:
  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs – Vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.
So if a crew member falls overboard and everything looks OK – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. 

And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why."

Use the Learn to Swim with Miss Bea dvd to teach your child to grab the wall and be saved!