There’s a number of things you can do, but I think the most important thing to get across to them is they should never enter a pool without being invited by an adult. Teach them some sort of cue.
We like to teach wait for the count of 3. We do everything on the count of 3 in our program. Not only does it teach them how to anticipate what’s coming next for certain skills, but it teaches them water safety at the same time. There are certain kids who are really comfortable and they just can’t wait to throw themselves into the pool.
You want to encourage that for swimming. But also make sure they understand that swimming is not something that should be done without an adult. There’s no such thing as a water safe child. And there should always be an adult who knows how to swim supervising the child.
And when you’re inviting your child into the pool, when they’re jumping in off the side, we teach them to jump outwards, almost like a dive, rather than jumping straight in like a pencil. The reason we teach that is children tend to go much shallower in their entry into the pool when they’re going in a horizontal position as opposed to a vertical position. And you want them to stay on the surface of the water.
Their buoyancy brings them upward after they jump in. But for their own safety, jumping in straight off the side and going deeper is going to force them to hold their breath much longer. So if they can get up to the surface, stay on top of the surface to begin with, that’s what we recommend.