The arrival of summer heat has been drawing us toward the water. Last week we visited Detroit Lake. We jumped in the river this past weekend and the ocean is up next! Our backyard kiddie pool has been in the rotation too. Nothing cools you off on a hot summer day like water. The splashing occupies kids and gives them a playground to explore and exercise. But each visit to the water with Karson and Lucy, I feel my blood pressure start to rise with worry.
It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen and it’s difficult to keep my eyes on both of them every second. They wear life jackets but I think it’s time to teach them a little more beyond just splashing in the super shallow areas where I prefer to stay with them.
My niece is a fish. When she was Karson and Lucy’s age she was swimming well, independently. I remember her bravely jumping off big rocks into a pool all by herself. She’d sink down and then pop back up, blinking her eyes a few times with a big ‘ol grin and swim up to the edge to pull herself up and do it again. It’s been years since then but I watched her in the water this past week and it’s clear she still has that confidence. I want Karson and Lucy to have that too.
Teaching kids to swim helps them enjoy the water but more importantly, it helps keep them safe. We have a lot to learn. I need to learn first aid including CPR. I need to know what a rip tide looks like and what drowning looks like. Karson and Lucy need to learn never to get into a body of water without adult supervision. I want to teach Karson and Lucy the power of water and be scared and humble enough but confident with the tools to make smart choices.
I probably won’t ever stop cringing with worry when I see my babes near water but if we’re going to “do” summer, we better figure out this swimming thing and get out of the shallows. With any luck it won’t be long before long I’ll be hearing, “Watch me! Watch me!” during attempted flips in the water, handstands and racing laps with their dad.