Swimming Safety for Tweens

Help your tween improve her swimming skills

 You may have started your tween on swimming lessons when he was still a toddler or preschooler. Or, maybe your child's exposure to the water and water activities have so far been limited. Whatever the situation, you can help your tween improve his or her swimming skills and make it safer to be around the water. The tips below will help you get started. 

Swimming Safety for Tweens

Join a Team: If you really want your tween to become a strong swimmer joining a swim team is the way to go.

Being a part of a swim team will allow your child to improve his strokes and breathing, and work on being energy efficient while in the water. Your child will also benefit from being a part of a community effort, and will be challenged to improve his personal best over time. Other benefits of swimming on a team is making friends, and learning how to improve his swimming techniques not only from the coaches but also from other swimmers. 

Practice Strokes: If team swimming isn't an option for your child, it's still important that he learn a few strokes and master them. Have your child learn at least two swimming strokes, as well as how to glide in the water, float and tread water. Give him goals to reach and then work towards those goals gradually.

Know Proper Breathing: Working on stroking is just half of what your tween should be practicing. It's just as important that he learn how to breathe properly while swimming.

Ask an experienced swimmer or a swim coach to demonstrate how to breath to save energy and to help your child last longer in the water. 

Always Have a Buddy: It doesn't matter how old you are, if you're going to spend time around the water it's important to know to always have a buddy by your side. You never know what challenges might present themselves and having a buddy there to help, or to call for him, can make all the difference.

Know About Water Safety: Being a strong swimmer is only part of the equation, your child should understand basic water safety if you want him (and you) to feel comfortable while he's around water. Make sure your tween understands how currents, rip tides and weather can make swimming dangerous. He should also know that there are potential underwater dangers to deal with, such as rocks, polluted waters or waters that are unsafe due to crab pots or other dangers. Of course, ice is another red flag. The depth of ice isn't easy to determine so your tween should stay off of frozen lakes, ponds or other bodies of water unless a responsible adult has deemed them safe.

Strong swimmers also know how to prevent common and not-so-common swimming dangers, such as cramps, over exhaustion, heat stroke, hypothermia and sunburn or sunstroke. Basic first aid is a skill all tweens should know.

Understand Diving Dangers: Your tween doesn't just need to know how to swim, he or she should also have a basic understanding of diving.

Make sure your tween understands that he should never dive in shallow water, or in waters that he doesn't know -- because they could be deceptively shallow. He should also know how to protect his head and neck during a dive and at what heights he is capable of diving safely. 


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