Teach Your Child to Swim - 5 Tips to Make it Great For Both of You

by Pool Builders on 03-27-2010 in Articles

Learning to swim is one of the big milestones for both kids and their parents. For parents who are planning to teach their kids to swim themselves instead of enrolling them in a swimming class, remember that bad experiences with water during childhood can negatively affect a child's relationship to water for the rest of their life. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to create a positive experience for everyone involved when teaching kids to swim.

1. Don't hurry children learning to swim - encourage but don't push. Make sure you are in a good mood and prepared to be both patient and supportive. Any teaching opportunity is a chance to further develop the trust and mutual respect in parent-child relationships, and with swimming in particular it is important to be there for your kid. If your child is brand new to water, it will probably take more than one session to teach them to swim.

2. Get into the water slowly. Don't start out in the deep end. Get into the shallow end with your child and have them practice swimming there. For young children, place your arms under the kid's armpits and guide them through the water. Trusting water and learning to swim is a gradual process and doesn't happen all at once, so always be ready for your child to get scared suddenly and need to grab onto you or go back to the shallow end.

3. Show them the basics of swimming. Once a child is comfortable swimming with you guiding them under the arms, switch to holding them by their waist. This gives the kid more freedom to move while still keeping you involved. Encourage the child to kick their legs and paddle with their arms. Move them around the pool as they practice swimming with their limbs to get them used to the feeling and so they have a chance to experiment with breathing while swimming. Give them tips if they're open to them, but also remember that most of the basics of swimming can (and perhaps should) be learned independently.

4. Show them how to float. Floating is a great way to learn to feel comfortable in water and is also a useful safety technique. You can help your kid learn to float by starting in the shallow end and extending your hands, palms up, just under the surface of the water. Next, encourage your child to slowly fall back onto your hands. Have them push out their belly and arch their back; encourage them relax their neck and legs. Keep their hands under your child's back until they seems to be floating on their own; then, slowly lower your hands from the child's back.

5. When your kid is ready, you should actively encourage your child to start swimming on their own. Kids always need supervision when swimming, especially when they have just learned. Stand in the deep end and have your child swim to you from the shallows. This way, your kid has a goal in mind and you can dole out comfort and congratulations when they have achieved it.

For more information, you can also refer to: http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/teach-your-child-to-swim/

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