Preschoolers, by nature, are very curious. I remember finding my preschoolers in situations where I wondered “What in the world are they DOING?”. One particular situation involved a 3-year-old , trying to figure out HOW our cat’s legs worked….. the cat (and my daughter’s eyelid) didn’t fare well in that situation.
One area where I do NOT want my preschoolers to be curious is in the water. The CDC shares that every day 10 people die of unintentional drownings. The highest rates occur in children ages 1-4. Keeping our preschoolers safe in the water is something all parents desire to do. Through the years, there are a few things we have done to teach preschoolers water safety.
Our local pool offers swimming lessons at a low-cost each summer. Starting at 3, all of my children have attended. They get a certificate of completion and learn how to swim, float, blow bubbles and more. We have done this program for years and the kids love it! Check local businesses to see if swimming lessons are offered where you live. Some businesses may start lessons as babies, and some may offer lessons year round.
Read Great Books!
Preschoolers love water, AND books! So, why not combine the two? One book we discovered that is great for teaching water safety is Barkley’s Great Escape. Barkley is a curious dog and gets himself into trouble when he goes for a dip in the neighbor’s pool. The book teaches young children the dangers of swimming unsupervised and includes comprehension and safety questions at the end of the book. My son loved hearing about Barkley, and it opened up the door for a great discussion on water safety. I encourage you to check it out!
One great idea for teaching preschoolers water safety is to role play with your child. Use cardboard, or tape to make a “pool” . Practice walking near the pool, and show them what to do if they fall in. Do they reach into the pool for a toy? (no!). Show your child where the “safe” places are next to a pool (not along the edge). Show them how to properly put on a life vest, or floatation device. Let them practice climbing in and out of the “pool”. These are all great ways of using dramatic play to teach preschoolers water safety.
Moms, summer is right around the corner, and NOW is the best time to teach preschoolers water safety. I encourage you to look into swimming lessons, find some great books like Barkley’s Great Escape to help teach water safety, and get into role-playing with your child. These are all fun ways to keep YOUR child safe in the water this summer.
How do you teach preschoolers water safety?
*I received a free copy of Barkley’s Great Escape. All opinions of the book are my own 🙂