How to teach kids to swim: a step-by-step guide
Learning to swim early means they can enjoy splashing in the pool, as well as staying fit and active. It also prevents our modern sedentary lifestyle from slipping in. It boosts breathing skills, coordination, strength and flexibility - and taking up a swimming class is a fantastic way for children to make new friends.
But it’s not just important for fun. Learning to swim is crucial for your little one’s safety - it could save your child’s life someday by preventing a drowning accident.
Mastering the waters can be done with the right support and guidance. It’s never too late to start - Holmes Place teach children of all ages and abilities. Naturally, leaving it to the pros is the best way to ensure your child is learning to swim correctly and safely, but there are steps you can take to teach them this life-skill on your own:
1. Set up a schedule of short lessons
If you’re not attending lessons, it makes sense to set up a timetable of swimming sessions for your child. If you try and teach them multiple things in one day, they’re going to forget, get confused and make mistakes. Mark dates on your diary of when you’re going to have a lesson and stick to it. Try half an hour of swimming each session - an optimum length of time to keep children engaged and remember what they’ve learnt.
2. Kick off with kicking
Teaching kids to swim usually begins with them kicking their legs. Luckily for parents and teachers, they love it. Get them to hang onto a float or the gutter of the pool and kick out with their legs as straight as possible. Many kids let their legs sink, so it’s important to help them balance out their bodies first to help them stay afloat.
3. Bubbles and breathing
Once your child has mastered kicking, teach them to blow bubbles in the water. You can even do this in the bath at home. Ask them to hold their breath and place their mouth in the water, gradually moving to the mouth and nose together. Many children may get flustered with this lesson. To make it less daunting, do it with them so they can see you are unharmed and your eyes and hair are dry. Swimming goggles are perfect at this stage - little ones think they’re cool and it lets them see underwater.
4. Get paddling
Once they’re comfortable with putting their face in the pool, teach your swimmer-in-the-making to use their arms and pull themselves through the water. For youngsters with limited arm strength, doggie paddle is the best swim stroke to teach: alternating leg kicks combined with alternating reaching and pulling with the hands and arms. After a while, they’ll find using their arms and legs together comes naturally.
5. Switch it up
The last thing you need when you’re trying to teach is a bored child. One of the best ways to help make learning fun is to turn swimming lessons into a game. Challenge them to swim further distances, swim through a hula hoop, or collect diving sticks from the bottom of the pool. Use toys and floaters and have races to make your child more inclined to learn to swim. Of course, children are naturally more likely to disobey a parent, so combining your own sessions with lessons from a swimming teacher will help your child progress. Every child is different, but the more they attend classes, the quicker they learn.