Learning to Swim

Helping your child learn how to swim can be a challenge. However, by keeping it fun and light-hearted, you may be able to give him or her the confidence needed to conquer this life skill. By incorporating swimming games that slowly build skills upon each other, you may assess your child’s comfort level in water and increase his or her comfort level with each new skill.

First, see how closely your child will put his face in the water. If he is timid about it, try using a floating toy or ping pong ball and see how far he can blow it across the water. Once this skill is completed, then see if your child will blow bubbles in the water. He can pretend to be a fish blowing bubbles, or ask him to see how much noise he can make by blowing bubbles in the water. These games will hopefully lead to your child feeling comfortable with his face in the water.

Another way to help your child learn to swim is to have her hold onto the side of the pool wall and kick her legs, keeping them straight as she kicks. Once she is comfortable with that method, she can use a kickboard with you holding her in front for added support. When your child is ready to incorporate her arms, a fun way to describe it is to have her pretend she is scooping up ice cream with her hands cupped. So, she can ‘kick, kick, kick’ her legs, and scoop her ice cream with her arms outstretched above her head.

Pushing off the pool wall is a fun swimming exercise that allows the child to experience moving through the water. You can make it exciting by asking him or her to pretend to be a rocket shooting across the pool.

However you choose to help your child learn how to swim, safety is essential. Adults need to supervise children when in or around water; and children need to heed pool rules and learn about ocean safety, such as staying aware of riptides, changing currents and weather.

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