As you may have seen on the snaps (beahrens) or more recently on IG, we’ve had the kids in swim lessons for a few months now. Harper finally hit the magic age of 3 which means she can join Hudson in the pool (without mom…basically the only way we do swim lessons around here).
In California it seems like swim lessons are a requirement, not a extra-curricular as at every well-baby visit (starting at a year) I’ve ever been to the pediatrician has asked me if our children have started water safety classes. Turns out, among preventable injuries, drowning is the leading cause of death for children 1 – 4 years old. We don’t have a pool at our home (anymore) but my dad does and so do many of our friends.
After doing some initial water-safety research myself, I thought I would share what I’ve found to be helpful in getting kids comfortable in the water and making sure they’re safe.
Disclaimer ahoy: please remember I’m not a lifeguard, medical professional or any other official anything (except neurotic mom), so please make sure you’re following your pediatrician’s advice regarding pool safety.
First things first, PLEASE, please get CPR certified, if not AED certified. It only takes a couple of hours of your time and is a minimal cost. God willing you won’t ever need to use your knowledge but in the event that you do, it will be priceless. You can find local classes here.
After becoming CPR certified, make sure your pool (or the pool you’re visiting!) is safe. I love the printable “water watcher” card (found here). This means whoever has the card is responsible for watching kids + pool. It eliminates the “I thought you were watching them!” hysteria that tends to go with large groups or parties (or just grandparents).
If you or a close loved one owns a pool you frequent please consider getting some additional safeguards beyond the standard fence requirement. My parents have a kids catcher safety net and this water alarm seems like a great additional tool.
The resources I’ve found most helpful online with regards to pool and swim safety are:
Beyond just making sure the pool is safe, I think the best way to approach water safety is teaching your kids about pool rules and how to swim early. I ran around for awhile doing private lessons or looking into aquatic specialty centers and goodbye to all the money and time. I finally came to my senses and looked at our local YMCA and was pleasantly surprised with the prices and the facilities. No joining fees on Fridays all of July!
Growing up we had general lessons when we were little at my grandparents pool but it was more along the lines of don’t die in the pool, less of here is the proper form for a butterfly stroke so it’s been fun to see the kids learning this way. To be clear, Team USA isn’t holding a spot for us for the 2020 team. They pretty much still sink to the bottom when they jump in unassisted but I can see a small glimmer of our future when we watch the next class level of swimmers (only 5-6 years old!) swimming the full length of the pool.
Our “coach” is so good with the kids, there are never more than 5 kids per lesson (sometimes it’s just my kids!) and they have free childcare if you are like me and have a herd of children and need someone to watch the younger ones.
We joined the Y as a family for $70 a month (total! Did I mention the free child care?!) and we’ve really liked it. If you’re looking for a family friendly gym, this might be your jam and totally worth a tour. Also, not sponsored, just sharing the love.
Before I forget, my new favorite mom-hack is packing the kids’ PJs as our change of clothes (our swim lessons end at 4:45). They have to shower before and after getting in the pool. That means one less step between dinner and bedtime and that feels like a win to me!
I’d love to know your experience with swim lessons. Did you do the intensive 7 day class? Teach the kids yourself (bless you!) or are lessons not on your radar right now?
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I think one of the biggest things to remember as a modern day parent is to leave your phone in your bag unless you’re taking a photo of the kids and then putting it away. It is so easy to get distracted and shit can go down in seconds, as we’re all aware!