As any parent knows, teaching your kids how to swim is one of the three hardest things you have to coach them through. The other two are learning to ride a bike and doing math homework!
For some kids, treading water is a doddle. They feel at home in the water. If they have been going to the pool since babyhood, it is probably a breeze for them! If you are lucky enough to have a pool in your house or yard, it makes things even easier.
For children who find that swimming does not come naturally, there are a few things you can do as a parent to help them learn faster. Soon enough you will have a water baby on your hands. Here is our top tips for helping your kids learn to swim:
Make Regular Trips To The Pool
The more often you visit the pool, the quicker your little ones will pick up swimming techniques. Start off with water wings and other swimming aids before encouraging them to try swimming in very shallow water without them. There may be tears at first, but persistence is key! Swimming trips with friends and family members will make it seem like fun and they will want to keep up with the big kids.
If you have a pool at home, keep it clean and fresh, so the children can paddle at any time. Use a solution to leaves and debris regularly to keep it sparkly clean.
Go To The Beach
Get your kids swimming in the ocean, as well as the pool. It will give them a respect for the ocean, and maybe they will like it more than a pool. Safety first, of course, never let kids swim in the sea alone, no matter how calm the water.
When teaching a child how to swim, the best advice is to find an environment that they feel comfortable in. Whether this is in the pool or paddling in the sea, finding what suits them unlocks the confidence they need to get swimming!
Use Learning Games
These games can help any child on their swimming journey:
- “Talking To The Fishies”: get your child to put his or her face in the water and blow bubbles. Then, turn your heads and submerge your ears to hear their response! While you demonstrate, make sure you come out of the water with a smile on your face, so your little one can see how fun it is. This can be done at the pool or just in the bath-tub.
- “Mermaids”: in the pool, hold your child under the arms, facing you. Slowly start to walk backwards, so that they end up in a front float position. Build up speed; perhaps singing a song to make them feel comfortable. Eventually, point out that they are floating like a mermaid! This helps your child get used to floating in the water, eventually meaning that they can start using their arms to propel themselves.
- “Traffic Light Game”: carrying on from Mermaids, rather than just floating, get your child to start kicking for propulsion. Either do this game while holding your child the same as in Mermaids or have them hold onto the side of the pool. Get your child to kick fast when you say, “green light”, say “yellow light” for slow kicking, and “red” to stop. This shows them how kicking their legs helps to push them forward.
Get Swimming lessons
Take the job out of your hands by sending your children to swimming lessons! That way, a trained professional can teach your kid how to swim and boost their confidence from the very start.
Swimming lessons are recommended for children aged 4 and above by the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you want to start earlier, there are usually pool sessions held for parents and babies of any age to attend.
Teaching water safety is especially important if you have a pool at home, though always keep your pool totally secure from wandering children. All kids will love swimming lessons regardless: splashing about and learning to swim with friends will be the highlight of their day!