How to Make a Visit to the Pool Fun

In this day and age, it’s quite common for parents to enrol their child in swimming lessons at a young age. Some start as young as six months old, while others wait until they are a toddler. As a parent of three very active boys, I have made a point of ensuring that they are able to swim. My boys are scared of nothing, including water! It only takes that one instance where you look away for a second, and they could be in real trouble. Swimming lessons have been a wise investment of our time and money. Although swimming lessons offer peace of mind for parents, I’m wondering if our children actually enjoy it?

I recall the sweet memories from my own childhood, of many hours spent in the pool having a great time. However, these fun filled days didn’t involve a swimming teacher or assigned laps assisted by a flotation device. In my day it involved splashing, handstands in the water, torpedoes across the pool and the biggest “bombs” possible!

Please don’t think I’m saying that swimming lessons aren’t fun or interactive, because I believe most swim schools do their best to make the technique based learning interesting for children. My aim is to give you as parents a few ideas to help your child learn a little faster outside of swimming lessons – while having a great time with them!

  • Kit your child out in flotation devices where they have the freedom to move around the pool safely, and without you having to help them. Depending on the age of your child, either play a game of ‘chasey’ or race them from one end of the pool to the other. If you have a young toddler, they will delighted in being followed by you with the old “I’m going to get you”, which will see them kick as fast as their little legs will take them.
  • If you have an older child that is capable of understanding the “race you” concept, then challenge them to a hot lap up and down the pool. Kids love these games and it motivates them to kick faster and harder. This in turn helps their technique because they soon figure out that the longer their legs are when they kick, the faster they go. You, the parent, also get the added bonus of a fantastic work out!
  • Play a game of water animals with fish that blow bubbles, ducks that dive under the water, frogs doing froggy kicks (this one is great for learning the breast stroke technique), and dogs doggy paddling.
  • Lastly, play ‘blast off’ for a some jumping fun. Get your toddler to stand on the side of the pool with their arms above their head, and hands together pointing up like a rocket. Hop into the pool a small distance away from the edge and your child. Count down from five and “blast off!” Get your child to jump in towards you. Catch them at first so that their confidence builds and then slowly increase the distance. Before long you’ll have a rocket ship for a child that can dive into the pool – with near-perfect technique!