Teaching your children to swim is a milestone in parenthood, but everyone can benefit from some tips on how to teach kids to swim. While some parents swear that just dropping a kid in a pool and letting them fend for themselves is the best method, this often makes a child afraid of water, not to mention afraid of their parent. Teaching your kid to swim can be another step in developing the bond of trust they have with you.
- Be Patient and Supportive The best teachers are those who are patient and understanding. Make sure you are in a good mood when you are teaching your child how to swim. If they are encountering deep water for the first time, they are probably going to be scared and unsure. Be there for them! Make being in the water fun for them. Let them play in different depths of water so they learn to feel safe and in control in the water.
- Getting Into the Water If your child is young, place your hands under their armpits and bring them around the pool with you. This will get them accustomed to the feeling of being and moving in water.
- Starting to Swim Once they are comfortable with being in the water with you holding onto them, switch to holding them around the waist and having them kick their legs and paddle with their arms. This will accustom them to the feeling of swimming and floating on their own while still having you near enough to swoop them out of the water if they start to panic.
- Learning to Float Since human bodies float naturally, teaching children to float on their backs can help them feel safe in water. Stand with them in waist deep water. Put out your hands palms up at the surface of the water and have them gently lie back onto them. The water will help you support them as they become comfortable with the feeling of being on their back in the water. Once they feel safe with that, have them arch their back and slowly lower your hands away from their back. Be ready to swoop in and stand them up if they start getting scared. It will take practice for them to feel confident back floating. Later on, if they get scared while practicing swimming on their own, they can always just flip over on to their backs and float until they calm themselves down and are ready try again.
- Swimming on Their Own Once they are ready to start doggie paddling or swimming on their own, stay near them in the pool the first couple of times. Have them start out in the shallow area and swim where you are in the deeper end. Congratulate them when they get to you! Before you know it, they’ll be swimming all around the pool, enjoying the water and feeling of moving effortlessly through it.