Help Kids Splash Safely With These Kid-Friendly Swimming Tips

Your little ones will be doggy paddling in no time with these tips from Diventures.

By Lillian Stone

May 01 2019 at 12:12 p.m.

Safe Swimming in Springfield, MO
Photo courtesty DiventuresUse these swimming tips to prepare for kids for a summer filled with lakes and pools.

Ask any kid to share their favorite part of summertime in the Ozarks, and you’ll likely hear the same answer again and again: swimming in one of the area’s dozens of pools and swimming holes. From chilly creeks to boisterous neighborhood pools, southwest Missouri offers plenty of ways to dive in and cool off. However, it’s important to keep water safety in mind—especially if your little ones aren’t the most confident paddlers. It’s no coincidence that the beginning of summer coincides with Water Safety Month. No matter how confident your child is in the water, make sure they heed these water safety tips courtesy of the experts at Diventures.


Start Early

It’s crucial to enroll kids in swim lessons at an early age to get them comfortable in the water. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends kids start swim lessons by age one. It can be hard to tell when kids are ready to take the plunge, but local swim spots like Diventures offer swim lessons for children as young as 6 months old throughout the year. Infant classes include a variety of fun games and take-home techniques to help you work with your budding swimmer long after class is over.

Focus On Individual Strengths

Try not to worry about how other kids your child’s age are progressing in the water. Instead, focus on your child’s comfort level and set individual swim goals from there. Spend some time poolside allowing little ones to watch other swimmers and encourage them to only enter the water once they feel fully comfortable.  Help them learn and improve their skills with summer programs like Diventures’ week-long Summer Swim Sessions, a series of swimming day camps starting in June and running though August. The camps combine four swim sessions into one week, allowing for maximum schedule flexibility during busy summer months.

Swimming Lessons in Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy DiventuresDiventures offers a variety of swimming lessons for any skill level.

Leave the Phone at Home

While Springfield’s public pools are equipped with lifeguards, accidents can happen in an instant. Leave your phone on the sidelines—or better yet, at home—and give your kids undivided attention during swim time. If you aren’t able to supervise your child yourself—say they’re attending summer camp or going on a vacation with a friend’s family—encourage them to always swim with a buddy. This is a good practice for swimmers of all ages.

Choose Gear Wisely

While floaties and water wings can give cautious swimmers a greater sense of comfort, they’re no substitute for life-saving devices and careful one-on-one attention. Ultimately, life jackets are the best option if you’re interested in a water safety device for little ones. However, life jackets aren’t foolproof; be sure to test out life jackets before allowing children into the water. Check to ensure the jacket fits snugly to avoid the possibility of your child slipping out through the jacket’s neck opening.

Watch Out For Wake

For 417-landers, Table Rock Lake is more than a summer attraction—it’s a way of life. The lake tide can be unpredictable, which is why it’s crucial to keep toddlers and young children within arm’s reach near and in the water. Before you dive in, take a moment to assess the water conditions with your child. Make it a fun game and quiz them on factors like wind direction and whether the waves are large or small. This gets kids into the habit of looking at their surroundings before swimming. It’s also important to teach kids to stay clear of boat wakes and other lake hazards.

Learn to Swim

Learning to swim helps kids build confidence, physical strength and emotional health. Plus, it’s just plain fun. Try these tips to get little ones comfortable in the water:

  • Encourage your child to blow bubbles in the bathtub. This helps them get comfortable with part of their face in the water.
  • Walk into the shallow end with your child and help them float on their back. You can sing a favorite song like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to help them relax.
  • Show kids how to grab the side of the pool and pull themselves out of the water.
  • Equip little ones with life jackets to increase their comfort level in the water.

Kid-Friendly Swim Spots

Swimming Pools in Springfield, MO

For Tiny Tots:
McGee-McGregor Wading Pool

This peaceful wading pool is a great destination for tots who may not have the swimming skills to take on busy public pools.

Free admission
Located across from Phelps Grove Park, 1200 E. Bennett St.
Open 10 a.m.–12 p.m., 1–4 p.m.
Tuesday–Saturday, 1–4 p.m. Sunday

Indoor Swimming in Springfield, MO

For Indoor Fun:

Don’t let summer storms get in the way of your family’s aquatic adventures. Diventures, an 11,800-square-foot swim and scuba facility in south Springfield, is staffed by an expert team of swim enthusiasts. There you'll find variety of swim lessons, mermaid and shark swim camps, and other programming for swimmers of all levels. Plus, gather the crew for family swim sessions every Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Where to take Kids in Springfield, MO

For Splashing Around:
Jordan Valley Park Fountains

This community gathering place is a downtown Springfield landmark, with plenty of wide open spaces, rolling hills and a shallow stream winding through the park.

Free admission
635 E. Trafficway St. 
The fountain runs daily 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m. every hour on the hour May–mid October. There's also a continuous show from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.



5225 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–8 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sunday: Noon–5 p.m.
Visit to register for classes, events or family swim sessions.

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