Now that your toddler is ready to be introduced to the world of swimming, what is the best way to get him into the pool? There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question. It depends on the child’s age and personality.
Review the Rules
Before the toddler is allowed inside of the pool area, review the rules for using the pool. They may not remember them all just yet, but reinforcement will help them to retain the information. The number one rule that they must start with is that they must NEVER enter the water without a grown-up. This is the golden rule of swimming safety for your toddler. They should never swim without adult supervision.
Choices for Entry
Survey the pool for your choices for entry. Know where ladders and steps are located.
Some pools have ladders that hang over the side of the pool. A toddler has to turn around and descend backwards to enter the water with this ladder. An adult should evaluate the toddler’s ability to coordinate this – loss of balance can result in a bumped head or other injury.
Other pools have sets of steps or stairs that lead into the shallow end. These are often more familiar to toddlers and easier to navigate. They can manage standing, holding an adult’s hand or handrail, or on their bottom, sitting on each step as they descend.
Of course, there is always a faster method for the Toddler Daredevil. The words, “Catch me!” are barely uttered before they are airborne, arms and legs aimed directly for the nearest adult. Ensure that this child is especially aware of the depth of the shallow end, where it is permissible to jump, how much warning an adult may need before being dive-bombed, and a reminder to always jump towards an adult.
Depth of Knowledge
Make sure that you are aware of the depth of the water in the pool. This is important in both shallow ends and deep ends. This gives you a good idea of where it is safe for children to jump (and later to dive).