Easy Way to Teach Your Kids How to Swim
By: Diana Smith
Swimming is one of the most useful exercises you can do. It works for every muscle group; it’s good for curing or preventing asthma; and it’s really fun. However, it can be tricky to get the kids to learn how to do it. Getting into the water can be scary and if the parents push them or don’t approach the training gently – fears can become phobias. Take your time, try to ease them into it and soon enough, the kids will love the pool.
Get your feet wet
Let the kid get comfortable in the water. If the lessons are taking place in a public pool, let them know that they’re going there and what the lessons are going to entail. You could also visit the pool a couple of times before the lessons, so it would be less intimidating. Get into the shallow end and splash around a bit. The same could be done at your background pool as well. Talking also helps, so reassure them about the whole process, but don’t talk about the reason they’re afraid (for instance, saying “you’re not going to drown” is the worst possible way to phrase it).
The goal of this game is to practice staying in a horizontal swimming position. Hold the kid under their arms, while you are facing each other. Walk backward into the water, first one step at the time, then a bit faster. The water will push the child into a floating position. Then, you can start spinning in circles and encourage the kid to do “motorboat” (kick its feet around). It’s a fun activity and it creates the illusion that the kicking is causing the motion, which is what is suppose to happen when you’re actually swimming.
Catching the fish
It’s a fun little exercise and it may seem like it’s just about having fun in the pool, but it actually helps with developing strong and fast arm motions. The water should be to your kid’s waste, which means you need to hold them if the pool is too deep. Get some pool cleaners and keep the water perfectly clear to achieve the right effect. Encourage the kids to catch the fish – stretch their arms into the air, plunge them into the water and pull the water towards their chest. They can do it for literally hours because splashing is fun and it’s an important lesson for later on.
The biggest effect of this exercise is that it proves that water is perfectly safe. Try it only after the other games on the list have gone well. Basically, let them float on their stomach with the face touching the water. Keep one hand beneath the kid’s belly and allow them to rest their head on your shoulder. This is usually the scariest part, but it gets really fun to just float around once the fear is conquered.
Taking the jump
Get into the pool, crouch two feet away from its edge and let your kid stand on your knees. Ask them to jump off and grab the edge. Let them grab on the edge for a little while and do it again. The goal is to move further away from the edge every time, so the jump itself is no longer enough to reach it. The child may not realize it at first but every try to grab on the edge will actually be swimming independently.
Be patient, work gradually and keep encouraging your kids to swim and they will master it in no time. Acknowledge their fear of water, but don’t let them doubt they can do it. In the end, remember that it’s not something they have to do – it’s just good family fun.