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Teaching Your Child to Swim: 7 Need-to-Know Tips

Teaching Your Child to Swim is crucial, but can also seem completely overwhelming! Find out what you need to know about teaching your kiddo how to swim.

Teaching Your Child to Swim: 7 Need-to-Know Tips

Even if you don’t live near a body of water, it’s always a smart idea to teach your child how to swim. Not only does this skill prove important later in life, but it also protects them from potential accidents.

Here’s how you can make the experience positive and memorable.

1. Start Slowly

Swimming is an essential skill that deserves time and attention. Children can’t grasp the crucial points of this activity until they’re about four years old, but there’s a lot you can do before that. After your kid turns one, take them to the pool periodically. 

Get your child as comfortable with the water as possible. Splash around, play fun games and sing with them. Remember, don’t submerge their head under the surface and keep them in your arms at all times. Focus more on exposure here — they’ll learn how to swim correctly when they get older.

Teaching Your Child to Swim

2. Don’t Teach Alone

If you can, bring your spouse or a friend to teach with you. Since you’re focused on your child, you may not realize what’s going on around you. A second adult should always be there to supervise and prevent problems. Sometimes, even the best teachers get distracted, and in those moments, you’ll want somewhere there.

Therefore, you should never teach solo. If someone isn’t available to go with you, schedule a different day. No matter what, you can never be too careful, especially when it comes to the safety of your little one.

3. Get the Right Gear

Once your child can understand the basics, you’ll want to make sure you have the right gear. Pool chemicals can cause specific health issues and lead to thousands of emergency room visits each yet. To protect your little one, pick up a pair of goggles that protect their eyes.

Dress your child in a swimsuit that fits and provides mobility. Leave the toys and flotation devices at home — sometimes, they’re more of a burden than we realize. If you decide that you need a child life jacket, go for one with Coast Guard certification.

4. Check for Hazards

Wherever you plan to teach your kid, it’s essential to check the area for dangers. Don’t assume that the pool is properly maintained. Conduct a once-over and look for potential risks. If you find any, report them to a staff member. On a similar note, never swim with your child unless there’s a lifeguard around. You may never need their assistance, but they’re beneficial. 

Remember to check with the facility to ensure they have first aid kits on hand. The deep end of the pool should also be blocked off, so young children don’t fall. 

Teaching Your Child to Swim

5. Learn Different Maneuvers

Even though you know how to swim instinctively, you probably need a bit of a refresher. Many of us can’t name certain maneuvers and describe them in-depth, but that’s what you’ll need to do to teach your child correctly. Make sure they can float and tread in water before anything else.

Then, familiarize yourself with the freestyle stroke — a move that resembles the doggie paddle and relies on the ability to tread water. Try to learn about each style so that you can teach your little one with confidence.

6. Modify the Experience

Try to remember that each child is different. What works for someone else won’t always work for you. For example, some children don’t like to get water on their faces. Therefore, you’ll need to help them overcome this fear, which may mean overcoming your own anxiety first. In this instance, you might encourage them to splash water on their face while in the shower or bath. 

You’ll likely encounter hurdles along the way. Don’t let them frustrate you. Instead, modify your plans and keep going.

7. Work With a Professional

You may find that you’re unable to teach your child how to swim. Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there. Enroll your kid in a class with other children or hire a professional to help individually. Certified instructors will work with them for a few weeks and go over several different water skills and safety measures. Parents can often sit in and watch.

Sometimes, moms and dads like to teach alongside a teacher. Whatever the case may be, find what works best for your child. 

Teaching Your Child to Swim

Remember these tips when teaching your child how to swim — with or without the help of an instructor. It won’t be long before your child takes to the water like a little fish.

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