Water and swimming pool safety is the reason why most parents sign their children up for swimming lessons. Or maybe I’m missing something? So why on earth do some parents take along toddlers to watch their siblings swim and then not keep an eye on what the toddler is doing?
N has been in swimming lessons since 3 months old. Yes, by now you’d imagine he would be on the verge of swimming miles and becoming a youth team swimmer, but it’s been a hard slog. He’s not a natural swimmer but he’s been through a lot, and now enjoys swimming (well, he’ll still claim he doesn’t but his face suggests otherwise in class). It’s been great to see him progress and gain his confidence.
However much I’d like to see him to get through his levels, the reason he’s learning to swim to a reasonable level is so he is aware of how to behave around water, and be able to save himself if he ever falls in somewhere. Thankfully, having water safety drummed into him from an early age (plus him being a risk assessor rather than a risk taker), should stand him in good stead.
But I watch parents around the swimming pool during lesson time and wonder what they’re teaching their children about water safety.
The child who’s in the lesson is learning to swim. But it’s the younger siblings who’re left to run around and wander all over the place. Don’t the parents realise the unpredictability of swimming pools and young children?
Ok, most toddlers don’t want to sit down for a 30 minute swimming lesson. If you have to bring them with you, then provide something for them to do. Pencils and a notebook, a book, a tablet or phone. Or take them out for a walk while the lesson is on if they want to have a wander. Most children are fine being in a swimming lesson for 30 minutes. Our pool has a viewing gallery area – it’s safe up there for toddlers to wander.Got fidgety toddlers while siblings are in a swimming lesson? Don’t let them wander round the pool, provide something for them to do Click To Tweet
In our pool, it seems to be the dads that let the kids wander.
In the last few months, I’ve seen a toddler climb down from the chair at the side, and wander over to the corner of the pool, crouch down and dip their hands in. The father didn’t get up until the teacher told them to not let children get near the pool unless they were in the class.
Another child was able to go running halfway up the length of the poolside before the dad noticed and followed her to grab her and walk her round holding hands.
Then the same dad this week decided to leave the toddler on a seat at the side of the pool while he went out to the changing room for something. Yes there were parents also sitting along the seating area, but he didn’t ask any to keep an eye on her. Needless to say, she got off the chair and wandered off to try and find him but got confused because she didn’t see where he went so she ended up near the pool. No-one near her grabbed her, so I headed over from the other side of the pool to shuffle her back to her seat before he came back. No word of thanks, or concern that the toddler was wandering near the water alone.
In contrast a sibling of a girl in N’s class is brought along by her mum or dad. She also likes to wander, but they provide a phone game for her, they then take her for a walk on the viewing gallery. They stop her from going away from them and tell her the water is a no go. She’s understanding that there have to be rules for safety.
Parents might be under a lot of stress and get distracted, but it’s not that hard to just watch a toddler for 30 minutes, keep them entertained, and keep them safe. It also means the teachers don’t get distracted from lessons, and the children in class don’t get distracted.
What do you do to keep toddlers entertained around a swimming pool?
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