Whether you have a pool at home or frequent your local community pools, teaching your child how to swim at a young age will be easier than having to overcome swimming fears once he or she is older. However, many parents don’t know the best way to start teaching their children this all-important life skill. So for parents who want to teach their children to swim and be safe in a pool, here are three tips for teaching your own child how to swim and take water safety seriously.
Make Floating A Priority
While learning certain strokes is what truly makes someone feel like they know how to swim, for young children, one of the most important lessons you can teach them is how to float in the water. If a child knows how to float, they can feel comfortable being in the water even if they aren’t completely swimming. This could also help them if they fall in the water and can’t get themselves out without help.
To best teach a child how to float, Laura Williams, a contributor to LiveStrong.com, recommends trying the “starfish” float first. This float position has the child on their back with their arms and legs out like a starfish. Start off slowly by supporting most of their weight until your child feels comfortable enough to float on their own for a few seconds.
Use Games to Teach Skills
Games can be a great way to get your child in the water and learning swimming skills without having strict swimming lessons taking place. Depending on the games you choose to play in the water, your child could learn all types of swimming skills without even realizing he or she is learning to swim. Some of the best games to start with, according to Gillian Chassles, a contributor to TodaysParent.com, are talking to the fishies, catching the fishies, red light-green light, and motorboat. By playing these games with your child, he or she will learn how to blow bubbles underwater, kick their legs, move their arms, propel off a hard surface, and get their face completely under the water.
Keep The “Lessons” Short
When around water, it’s easy for children to get distracted and not pay close attention. This can make it difficult to have true swimming lessons. For this reason, Bryana Cielo, a contributor to SwimSwam.com, recommends keeping the “lesson” short, as in no longer than about 30 minutes. This will make it easier for your child to stay focused and won’t allow for too much time for either party to get too frustrated.
If you’re considering teaching your child to swim soon, use the tips mentioned above to make this a good experience for both of you.