Everything You Need to Know About Teaching Children How to Swim
Swimming is an essential life skill that everyone should have. And arming your child with great swimming skills is a goal every parent should have. While signing your child up for lessons with a certified swimming instructor is best, they might not always be accessible or available. Not to worry, with the right technique you can teach your child to swim, and following these simple, but important steps is a great start.
TEACHING YOUR CHILD HOW TO SWIM
- Ensure a Clean and Safe Pool Area
Before beginning any lessons, make sure your pool water is clean and balanced. Robotic pool cleaners like the Dolphin S200 or the Dolphin S3001 can help you keep your walls, bottom and corners free of grime, freeing you up to spend time with your family.
Once you’re in the water, be calm and smile. If you’re relaxed, your child likely will be too. Have a positive attitude and show your child that swimming is fun and not something to be afraid of.
- Get the Right Gear
While water wings are popular and used by many, they can easily spring a leak. Instead, invest in a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest. Vests for very small children have straps that hook between the legs to ensure they can’t come off.
If children are five or older, a pool noodle tucked securely under the arm pits helps them to swim with confidence. Unlike a bulky vest, it gives them freedom to move. This should only be used for older children who know the fundamentals of swimming, however. Younger children and beginners should always wear a vest.
- Getting Used to the Water
Start by getting your child used to being in the water. You want to ensure he or she is comfortable and enjoys playing in the water before beginning any sort of lesson. Once your child seems comfortable, you can move to the next step.
- Blowing Bubbles
Blowing bubbles can be practiced in the pool, lake or even at home in the bath tub. This helps your child get used to having a portion of his face in the water and begins the process of teaching him to regulate his breathing.
- Learning to Float
Stand behind your child, with their back to you. With your hands under your child’s shoulders maneuver onto their back. Remind them to relax their body and breathe evenly. When your child is feeling confident, remove your hands, but stay close by in case panic sets in.
- Learning to Kick
Once your child has a handle on floating, teaching them to kick their legs is the next step. Most children enjoy seeing how much they can make the water splash. Once they get over the splashing novelty, they’ll discover that kicking helps them to move through the water.
- Learning to Paddle
Most children are quick to learn the dog paddle, a modified version of freestyle where they paddle their arms in front of them while kicking their legs. Make sure your child is in shallow water and encourage him to swim small distances, gradually increasing the length. Once your child is able to swim like this with confidence, it’s time to move on.
- Learning Basic Arm Movements
The first stroke children should learn is freestyle or, at least, a modified version of it. Have your child stand chest deep in the water. Ask them to stretch their arm above the head and bring it down to slap through the surface of the water, keeping all fingers together. He should bring his hand back to his hip and repeat the motion with his other arm. When he seems comfortable with this sequence, have him try combining the arm movements with kicking. It’s a good idea to have your child wear a vest or use a pool noodle. This will allow him to combine the arm movements and kicking without fear. Once he’s confident, have him try without the noodle or vest.
When your child has mastered these simple steps, you can teach him new strokes, swimming under water and diving. Then he’ll truly be on his way to becoming a strong swimmer.
If you’re ready to invest in a pool so you can swim as a family, get in touch with us at Pool Brite. As the top provider of pools in Western New York for more than 25 years, we can help you find the pool that’s right for you. Have questions about residential pool cleaners or pool cleaning products? We’re here to help. Send us a message or drop in at our Amherst showroom to speak to one of our experts.