If you live on the coast or have a pool, your first safety concern as a parent is how to teach kids to swim. In children under 5, drowning is the leading cause of death. Coastal states like Florida and Texas have the highest rates. Swimming can be taught to infants, so there’s no no reason to wait until they’re older.
Swimming is great exercise, lots of fun, and a potentially life-saving skill. By teaching your kids to swim, you are teaching them healthy habits and giving them the ability to stay safe near water. Don’t wait until an emergency to teach your child the basics of swimming. Your little ones can start learning how to float, hold their breath, and even dog-paddle at surprisingly young ages. So, it’s never too early to start teaching them about water safety. Here are 10 great tips on how to teach kids to swim.
How to Teach Kids to Swim in 10 Fun Ways
1. No-Fear Water Experiences
Be super attentive with your child near water. However, allow them to explore the shallows and see what it feels like to dip their toes in it. Teach them not to be afraid of water by showing them how much fun it can be. You can start exposing your child to water at a very young age by helping them splash in the bathtub, sit in the shallow end of a pool, or dip their toes in the trickle of a stream.
Be positive and upbeat about water. If your child gets too nervous, take them away and slowly encourage them to try again.
One of the most important swimming skills for children is how to float on their back. This video teaches parents how to assist their 3 to 4-year-old children how to float on their back. The instructor there demonstrates that you always start teaching the back float by assisting the child and supporting them on your shoulder. Never force your child to float unassisted. Allow them to work toward the goal of an unassisted float at their own pace to avoid anxiety or even a terrible water accident.
There are those who suggest that you start instructing children even younger than 2 or 3 on how to float on their back, but it can be dangerous. The danger is the child will forget to hold their breath if their head goes under water. Some professional programs can teach your infants how to swim. But you should not try them without professionally trained instructors.
3. Enroll in a Local Swim Class
Enroll your child in a local swim class. A good instructor can help your child learn the basics of swimming safety, healthy swimming skills, and how to have fun in the water. Trained instructors know how to teach kids to swim and keep them safe while doing it. Many local pools offer parent/toddler classes for kids as young as 6 months old.
4. Bath Tub Breath Hold
One of the most vital parts of swimming is knowing how to hold your breath. You can teach your child to hold their breath at home. One basic way to teach a young child how to hold their breath is by having your child take a big breath, plug their nose, and close their lips tight. When they’re good at that, allow them to dunk their face under the water at home while supervised.
Another fun part of holding your breath is letting it out. Teach them to let their breath out underwater by blowing bubbles. Watch them closely and remind them not to inhale again until their nose and mouth are up and away from the water. Once your kid learns to hold their breath, trips to the pool will be much safer.
5. Use Pool Noodles
Pool noodles are how to teach kids to swim while also keeping them safe. These fun, foamy float devices help your child keep their head above water while they learn important swimming skills like floating and kicking.
If you think your child is getting too tired, a pool noodle can help keep them safe until you can get them out of the water.
6. Don’t Push
It’s natural to want your kid to succeed in the water, and the process of learning swimming skills can be a long one. However, using fear tactics and punishment is not how to teach kids to swim. Instead, use encouragement and let your child set their own learning pace to keep their experiences with the water positive.
Learning how to swim can be scary for kids. Do not increase the fear of water by letting your frustration take over.
7. Diving for Toys
Use sinking toys to help strengthen your child’s underwater swimming skills. Make sure your child already knows how to swim under water before trying this game. Throw the sinking toys in the water and then let your kid play explorer and go after them.
This is a fun tactic on how to teach kids to swim. Your kids will sharpen their underwater swimming and have a great time.
8. Pool Games
Playing games is a great way to take the fear of the water out of young swimmers. There are hundreds of games like Marco Polo, Sharks, and Minnows, and more for more experienced swimmers.
For young swimmers, pretend games, where kids pretend to be sharks and make waves (kick on the side of the pool), or splashing games to develop the motions of swimming, are fantastic tools for teaching skills while having fun.
9. Use Praise
Celebrate every accomplishment and milestone of your child’s swimming abilities. These accomplishments are a big deal for your children. Keep their love of swimming alive by getting excited about their achievements.
10. Safety Rules
Talk about swimming safety with your kids all the time. It’s okay to repeat yourself as long as your kids understand that they should follow pool rules, never swim alone, and get out of the water when they’re too tired.
Use these tips on how to teach kids to swim, and set your kids up for a lifelong love of water. Do you have any tips for teaching kids to swim? Tell us about them in the comments.
Image from depositphotos.com.