Tips for Teaching Children to Swim

The season of warm weather is here, and chances are your little ones are itching to get into the water. Water safety is a must if your kids are going to get into the pool, so if they haven’t yet learned to swim, and if they are at least four years in age and have the coordination for swimming’s complex movements, now is the time to teach them. Here are some tips to successfully teaching kids to swim.

Practice safety

While your child is still young and new to swimming, be sure to practice good measures of safety. Beyond constant supervision and staying by your child’s side, keep flotation devices nearby for your child to use. Floaties, or water wings, aren’t exactly conducive to helping your child swim in a horizontal direction, but a kickboard and pool noodle will help tremendously. Your child doesn’t need to be free of the flotation devices all at once.

Practice one movement at a time

Instead of overwhelming your child with a comprehensive lesson on all of the movements of swimming at the start, practice one swimming movement at a time. Start by having your child stick his or her face in the water to blow bubbles, becoming comfortable with breathing techniques around water. Follow by standing in a shallow area of the pool with your child and practice arm strokes. Then have your child hold onto the edge of the pool while practicing kicking movements. Kicking can also be practiced with a kickboard. Then you can support your child’s stomach while he or she practices those movements together across the water’s surface.

Offer Frequent Breaks

Take it slow so that your child does not become overwhelmed. Even if you don’t feel the need to take a break from practicing swimming, your child very well might. A child’s lung capacity is much smaller than an adult’s, and the natural progression of childhood growth makes for different proportions and balance needs while swimming (with children having larger heads, for example.) Children are also naturally less buoyant than adults because of their smaller lungs.

Make it fun

Keeping your child’s lessons in swimming fun will help him or her to stay motivated and look forward to building on the previous lesson. Create a positive environment and involve positive reinforcement whenever your child is making progress. Allow your child to learn swimming movements through play as well, holding your child’s arms and moving backwards while making motorboat sounds, for example.

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