Summer brings lots of outdoor activities, including swimming. Whether you head to the public pool, have your own backyard pool or just splash around in a kiddie pool, your preschooler is at risk for drowning. Teaching her water safety can help reduce her chances of being an accidental drowning victim. Constant supervision in and near water is still necessary, so never rely on the water safety activities to keep your child safe when she’s alone.
Practice on Dry Land
Preschoolers love pretend play. Use that to your advantage by pretending to be safe in different water related situations. Draw a pool with sidewalk chalk on the driveway. Practice walking around the pool instead of running since you could accidentally slip and fall into the water. Talk about getting the pool safely and waiting for a parent to be with you.
Grab some life jackets to practice using the flotation devices. Show your preschooler how to properly put on the life jacket. Let her practice putting it on herself.
Let your child be in charge of the whistle for this game. Show her pictures one at a time of kids in water-related situations. Include some that are safe and some that are unsafe. For example, an unsafe picture might be a child playing near the water with no adults around. When she sees a picture of an unsafe water activity, she blows her lifeguard whistle. Discuss what is unsafe about the picture before moving on to the next one.
Real World Experience
As much as you practice with your preschooler, she learns water safety largely from being around water. Always use water safety precautions yourself at the pool or near other bodies of water. Modeling those expectations shows your child how to act around water.
Remind her of the safety precautions you discussed, such as staying with you, walking near the pool and entering the water safely. Let her know when she’s doing a good job. Remind her again if she forgets her water safety skills.