Babies and Toddlers

Teaching your child how to swim

September 18, 2012

child-swimmingYou’ve got all your gear ready to go. You’re well rested and so are your kids.  Where do you start? Your first visit to the pool will set the tone for the lessons to come. Use what you know about your child to make it a great experience for him, and he’ll be happy to come back again and again.

Know the Rules

Make sure your child understands never to go near or into the pool without an adult. Make sure your child understands not to run in the pool area and not to jump or dive unless the pool is deep enough. If you are using a Public Pool make sure your child understands the rules of the Pool Area.

Know Where the Bathroom Is

If you are not using a pool at home, show your child where the bathroom is. (You’ll be needing it before you get into the pool, anyway.)

Respect Your Child’s Learning Style

What kind of learner is your child? Does she like to observe from a distance? Does he like to jump right in? Respect their learning style. If your child is an observer, try taking them to a pool where they can watch other children simming and playing. If your kid likes to jump into things right away, by all means get in the pool. Don’t rush things here, though. Spending the first day just watching other kids have fun is a good use of your time. If your child doesn’t even get his toes wet, that time hasn’t been wasted.

The lesson plan for your first lesson: let your child watch and explore.

Don’t plan a formal lesson for the first visit. If it takes a few visits for your child to feel comfortable getting in the pool, don’t plan a formal lesson for the first time they actually get into the pool, either.

Don’t force your child to get into the pool, and don’t let disappointment or disapproval colour your interactions. This is for your child. It needs to happen at his pace. You can encourage your child to get in or to participate in play if you sense that he/she secretly kind of wants to, but don’t pressure him/her. If there’s another adult available to supervise your child, you can set an example by playing in the water while your child sits outside the pool and watches you. Provide encouragement, support, and time.

Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them.

Do’s

  • Go straight from the pool to the shower after swimming. Kids’ skin is especially sensitive to pool chemicals.
  • Teach your child to be comfortable with putting their face in the water. Show them how to blow bubbles and hold their breath. Once your child becomes a toddler, have him/her practice putting their face in the water–the tub, a basin, or in the pool–and have them blow out until they can produce several bubbles and have built up confidence with this skill.

Dont’s

  • Don’t throw your child into the water to teach him to swim, ever.
  • Don’t force your child into water without preparing him.
  • Don’t deny it if your child has a scary moment.
  • Don’t trick your child or lie.
  • Don’t wipe it off if water gets on your face or your child’s face.
  • Don’t prevent him from trying new things in the water.
  • Don’t overreact if he swallows some water.
  • Don’t yell.
  • Don’t expect your child’s swimming to be fast, especially in the beginning.
  • Don’t expect very young kids to learn strokes before they’re developmentally ready.
  • Don’t expect your child to pick up right away where you left off at the end of the last lesson.
  • Don’t expect your child to do it perfectly.

All the best and have fun!

References: http://teachyourkidstoswim.com | Personal Mommy Experience

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