Monday, June 25, 2012

Teaching kids to swim in the ocean



Teaching kids to swim in the ocean takes more time, patience, and caution than pool or lake swimming does. The ocean’s currents and depths can be frightening even for experienced swimmers, at times. With that in mind, parents shouldn’t try to push kids into situations they are not ready for - they should be allowed to get comfortable with the idea of ocean swimming at their own pace even if it is much slower than pool swim lessons.

Here are a few tips for teaching your children to have fun and respect the ocean’s power at the same time:

Introducing Your Kids to the Ocean
Part of what makes the ocean scary for many is its unfamiliarity. There is nothing else quite like an ocean shore, and kids may feel threatened by the push and pull of the waves. To help them get used to the idea of being in the surf, it’s best to begin their experience at a beach where the waves are gentle and the water is shallow.

Encourage your children to sit and play in the surf but stay near them and as they become familiar with the feeling of the ocean and how the waves work, slowly encourage them to go farther out. Show them how to stay safe in bigger waves as they become more confident by either bobbing over the top of it or ducking underneath it.

Swimming Tips for the Ocean
Swimming in the ocean requires many of the same skills as swimming in calmer water, but it’s a good idea to stay with them as they venture into deeper water for the first time. If they are already familiar with a pool or lake environment, show them how they can transfer their skills to the ocean. Floating and swimming in the ocean is much the same as it is in a still body of water, but it takes special awareness of the waves and the shore. Encourage your kids to always keep an eye on where they are in relationship to the beach, as the current can have a tendency to carry them farther down than they realize.

When they are ready to head back in, show your kids how they can “ride” the waves to help them get to the shore. This may be scary for kids, so be prepared to show them where they can stand up and run back into the shore.

Ocean Safety Tips
You should be especially cautious when teaching your kids to swim in the ocean. Waves can easily hide your kids from your line of sight—it’s helpful if you have at least one adult for every two kids, if possible. If you can, consider going to a beach that is monitored by a lifeguard. Keep your kids within arm’s reach, especially if you are teaching them to swim in the ocean for the first time.

If your kids are unfamiliar with swimming, make sure they are equipped with a Coast Guard-approved flotation device, even if they are just playing in the surf. Be on the lookout for jellyfish or other ocean creatures, and stay away from boats and piers.

If you follow these tips, you and your kids can enjoy swimming in the ocean together. Just remember to keep things slow, and don’t rush kids into something that they are not prepared for.

Happy swimming!
Teresa Dah

Teresa Dahl is a blogging enthusiast from the USA who loves to swim in her spare time. She has her kids in swimming lessons through SwimJim. When she’s not blogging or swimming she loves to cook extravagant meals for her hubby.

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