Whenever someone mentions summer, water always comes into the picture. Whether you go to the lake, the beach, the pool or have a water fight, water is a big part of the summer experience. Water is life giving and also enables us to relax.
My son has been a water baby practically since he was born. He loves going with us to the pool and he loves taking his bath.
Kids who have physical limitations will suddenly blossom while in the water. The water frees them to participate in life as an equal to some degree. Some require more assistance than other, but being in the water is a comfort to them.
Kids who also have developmental issues are also more at home in the water as long as you introduce water as something not to fear. Introduce them to water as soon as possible. Make sure that they are properly supervised and even use a life jacket if you are really concerned. Play with them and show them that being in the water can be fun. Eventually they will join in with you.
We are contemplating swim lessons this summer and most specialists recommend it. Arizona has a high drowning rate and special needs kids are highly susceptible to drowning. When my son was 1, I took a day off to do a free trial swim lesson. It was good that we did that because it gave us ideas to work with him on our own.
Swim lessons help kids learn to get themselves out of the water if they fall in and helps them to stay afloat. I took many lessons as a child because my parents believed that living in Arizona and being around water was a big responsibility. Our son has started working on pulling himself out of the water while holding onto the wall and he is learning to “walk” along the side of the pull with the hand over hand method. It’s all very helpful and he is excited when he succeeds.
If you have a special needs child, a lot of swim schools in the valley have special sessions and teachers for special needs children. It is well worth the time and effort to seek them out. Water doesn’t put pressure on joints and limbs like walking or running will so kids can work longer in the pool. By working longer, their muscles become stronger and their self-esteem grows with each milestone reached.
Remember to watch your kids around water and be present in the moment with them. Watching is not enough. You need to be active and engaged with them.