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we recently moved to a bigger apartment complex which has swimming pool, play area etc. My son who is 2yrs 9 months is very excited about the place. Most of the times he sticks to the play area playing with sand, sliders and swing. But sometimes he walks near to small fountains near kids area. Its a garden fountain and though its just 10cms deep, he peeps in and tries to catch water. Also he wants us to take him near to swimming pool.

How much ever we explain, at that moment he says "no water". But he continues doing same next time.

He is not understanding the seriousness of water. we have not yet started teaching swimming to him. How to explain him about the dangers of water? At the same time we don’t want him to be afraid of the water as he has to learn swimming sometime sooner. Please help me how to resolve this issue.

What I am thinking is if we allow him to the kids' pool with proper floaties, swim vests, or inflatable tubes and of course we will be present all time, he will enjoy and also he will be satisfied with water and stop pestering us by going near fountains and pools himself.

Please guide me if you have any other suggestions/tips. Also whats the right age to start swimming classes for him?

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It's never too early to start swim lessons. –  DA01 Mar 28 '12 at 5:12

3 Answers 3

I think you are right in your proposed approach - take him to the proper pool, with all the safety gear, and insist that if he wants to swim, that is what needs to be done every time.

Demonstrate how the floaties keep him up, and how without them he will sink - well worth a good splash around in the proper pool letting him feel the difference between safe and supported, and struggling to stay up.

In this case I think a little fright can be a good thing - obviously don't panic the child, but one of the things you can do is be reassuring when in the water with him, so he realises he can't go in water without you.

Also encourage him by saying that when he is bigger and can show you he can swim without floats, then you can look at other places to swim.

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whats the right age to start swimming classes?

It's never too early. Or nearly never: once the baby is a few months old it can withstand the health aspects of a public bath, and that's a good time to start with baby-swimming classes.

It's never too late, either. Ask your local public bath; they probably offer swim training for kids of all ages, often including adults.

Swimming is an important life skill, and so is general water safety awareness. it can be trained at any age and will always provide opportunities for fun.

Please do keep in mind that no amount of floats, vests, tubes, etc. will provide safety -- only permanent adult supervision can prevent accidents.

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I agree that taking the toddler to the pool where he can swim with adult supervision will help him learn about the water. I don't think this will make him less likely to want to get in the water by himself. In fact, he might like it so much that he will want to get in more once he sees how much fun it is. Assuming that he understands "no," he will need to be told repeatedly and probably have that reinforced several times, that he is not allowed to go in the water by himself.

My suggestion would be to spend time in the water as much as possible, not to make him be satisfied with the water and not eager to go in on his own, but to make him more aware of what water is.

I would also suggest swim lessons starting now. You have a great opportunity to allow him to practice regularly, and that will help him learn to swim. Almost 3 is a good age to learn to swim, although I agree with Torben that it's almost never to early to start and never too late to start.

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After a few swim lessons with my 1 year old, I think that the skills and comfort level he has with the water have transferred from lots of time playing in the bath. He learned about splashing and putting his face in the water (and keeping it out of the water.) While this doesn't directly make a child safer around water by itself, it is helping with the learning to swim process. –  Rachel Mar 28 '12 at 18:35

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