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Ep. 57 Water Safety with Kaylee Kennedy

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We all want to be present with our children, right? That’s what is so beautiful about swimming – there’s no place that you could be more present. You need to be exactly where you are! Talking to Kaylee Kennedy, the founder of many swim schools, not only inspired us to get in the water with our children, but also taught us the best safety measures to take, and methods to teach to foster a love for the water.

Kaylee Kennedy, taught her oldest son to swim as a baby, and it bonded them in such a strong way. It inspired Kaylee to open up Saskatoon Swim School in the Fall of 2014 when her son was just a year old. Her overall philosophy of teaching beginners to swim is to do so as effectively and safely as possible. But it did not end there. In came K&K Swim School throughout Canada. Then, with the pandemic, came a whole new vision – teaching babies and toddlers to swim in their own bathtubs at home –  watermellow (previously, KKOnlineSwim)l was born.

Start Swimming with Kids:  

  • Can start as young as 3-weeks-old
  • The younger, the better! [definitely before 14-months-old is ideal]
  • Can start in the bathtub
  • Can also learn in a hot tub that is set to 90-91 degrees [what you need for kids until around 3-years-old is depth, more than length]
  • Kids should be swimming once a week, or at least twice a month, so their body doesn’t forget

Tip: Bring goggles for anywhere with a hot tub or a big bathtub! 

Teaching Water as a Caregiver:  

  • A large part is going under the water with your kids and having fun!
  • If you’re not a confident swimmer, a swim school should be able to teach you that with your child
  • Once you want your child to learn technique, they can join swim lessons
  • Get in the water with them and hold them by their underarms and be their floatation device! The lighter your fingers, the more independence they have
  • Tip: Wear a T-shirt in the water – it allows your child to grab onto you

Typical Swim Groups [Swimming Doesn’t Have to be Competitive]:  

  • Synchro
  • Diving
  • Water Polo
  • Swim Team

Why We Are Not Fans of Self-Rescue Lessons:  

  • Some methods of self-rescue can include listening to the child’s input 
  • Lots of aggressive forms of teaching self-rescue doesn’t stay attuned to child’s feelings and progression 
  • The word “rescue” alone brings a fear to the water – a child should never have to rescue or save themselves in the water – if a child feels like they are going to die, that’s a very traumatic experience (and then imagine that trauma over and over and over again) 
  • The mindset doesn’t match the intention; instead focus on learning to breathe, have fun, and swim, so children can become independent in the water 

Let’s Talk Water Safety:  

  • Always, always, always, make sure child is at arm’s reach from an adult [100% supervision] 
  • Teach children to respect the strength of water by teaching them submerging, breath control, and calm controlled movements in the water 
  • Kids learn by submerging again and again and again 
  • The danger comes when kids don’t know what water is capable of, so exposure is key! 
  • Have a gate around pools and an alarm at the back door (and no doggy door) – remember non-swim times are the largest concern, so we need to teach our kids that they do not go in the water without us
  • When you go to a place with water, make going in the water the first thing you do, and watch what your kids do, so they learn boundaries

PFDs,  Lifejackets, and Puddle Jumpers:  

  • These products should never be used as a replacement for parental supervision
  • They are meant to be used for if you were to fall off a boat and be knocked unconscious
  • Kids should not “learn to swim” in these – doesn’t allow them to submerge and doesn’t allow them to be in a horizontal position
  • It’s not a great idea to wear them outside of the pool either, because it gives a false sense of security [that being said, you need to know your situation, and if you can be physically present with all your kids]

Book Recommendation:

Finding Chika The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Follow Kaylee’s Swim School: 

Websites: &

Facebook: Watermellow & KKSwimSchool

Instagram & TikTok: @watermellow.swim @knkswimschool


Check out KWE’s #patch4apurpose to support 1, or all 8, charities:

Today’s Host: @adriannaadventures & @laurenrodycheberle from @kidswhoexplore
Production: @kpmediaproductions. Music: @michaelferraro_music.