As parents, we strive to teach our children right from wrong and instill safe & healthy habits that they will have for the rest of their life. We teach them how to brush their teeth, wear appropriate clothing depending on the weather, look both ways before crossing the street, and more. Teaching your little ones about the water is just as important. We can start building safe water habits with them every time we give them a bath or show them how to wash their hands throughout each day. Three water safety habits you can start with are: developing cues, asking permission, and knowing their boundaries!
Cueing is one of the very first habits we can build with our little ones even before they begin to develop their language skills. A cue is a signal, word, or phrase, that makes sense to you as the parent, to let your little one know that it's safe to come in the water. Using cues is an excellent safety habit to build with your little one even before they can ask permission to go in the water.
How to use cueing with your little one:
The key to cueing is repetition. The more you practice with your little one, the more they will remember the cue. At first, your little one might not know what it means and may just try to jump right in. If that's the case, take them out of the water and try again, this time using the cue.
Teaching your little one to ask permission to go in the water is an essential habit to build as soon as your little one starts developing language skills. Each time your little one experiences the water we want to start teaching them that they need to get permission from an adult before they are allowed to jump in.
How to teach your little one ask permission to go in the water:
Practice is going to help your little one learn that they must wait until you answer their question to enter the water. Remember that if you are not ready for them to go in, it's okay to tell them they need to wait one minute.
Asking For Help
One of the most important things we can first teach our little ones is understanding their boundaries while swimming - knowing what they feel comfortable doing and what feels uncomfortable for them as they explore the water. They begin to learn these things as you observe their reactions and help them recognize these feelings. By first recognizing what feels comfortable and uncomfortable, we can then begin to teach them how to ask for help and what to do should an emergency arise.
How to teach your little one to ask for help:
When first exploring the water with your little one, you should always be within arms' reach if you are not holding them and be watching them 100% of the time. To help eliminate distractions or walking away, check out our bathtime checklist of tips and tricks to ensure your little one has your undivided attention during bath time.
We are often talking about how bath time can be a wonderful bonding time for you and your little one and how it's the perfect opportunity to safely have your little one explore the water. These three water safety habits are always taught in our parent-child swim lessons which start at 6-months old. You can of course start introducing these habits as soon as you think your baby is ready! Remember when teaching our little ones new things, practice and routine helps them build great habits that last a lifetime! You got this Mama and Papa!
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Meet Sabrina Keller,