Learning to swim is important for children as it gives them confidence and safety in and around water. Parents can teach their children to swim or enroll them in swimming classes. Introducing babies to water early can help them develop a love for it. Gradual introduction to water and proper breathing techniques can help older children overcome their fear of water. Safety is important and children should never be left unattended in water. With patience and persistence, most children can learn to swim.
Learning to swim is a feat many adults have never accomplished and while it’s not essential to learn to swim, there are many reasons why the skill can be important, especially for a child. A child who has learned to swim has the confidence to participate in pool parties, summer camps, and other special recreational activities that involve water. More importantly, they’re safer in and around water.
You can help your child learn to swim simply by giving them the opportunity and supporting them. If you are a strong swimmer and have access to a swimming pool, you can teach a child to swim with patience and persistence. If you don’t swim, consider enrolling your child in a swimming class. Even if you know how to swim, you might still consider taking a lesson for your child. Many recreation centers and public swimming pools offer lessons taught by Red Cross-certified swimming instructors, and some children respond better to instruction from someone other than their parent.
The following tips and tricks can help you and your child in the effort to learn to swim:
Introduce your baby to water early in life. Children who learn with water early are less likely to be afraid of water later on. Consider allowing your child to have a wading pool or attend a public pool. Most public pools and many private ones have shallow wading pools for younger children. Provide them with a safe and secure environment for water play and they will most likely develop a love of water.
For older children who want to learn to swim but are afraid of water, introduce them to water gradually. Make sure you don’t avoid the pool when the water is cold and uncomfortable because you want the experience to be enjoyable. Even if your child just wants to dangle their feet in the water at first, have patience and eventually they will become confident enough to get in.
Learning to wet their faces is the hardest part for many children. Never force their face into water, never splash them in the face, and never push them into water too deep for them to stand. This will only hinder the progress they have made.
Once your child gets the hang of the water, they’ll be able to start the basics. To learn to swim, a child must first learn proper breathing techniques, then learn to float, kick, stroke, and walk in the water. It may take months or even a year or more for your child to learn to swim, but with patience, support, and persistence, most children can learn. If you are encountering resistance from your child, consider hiring a private instructor to work with them.
The most important thing to provide a child learning to swim is a safe and secure aquatic environment. Never let a child who cannot swim into the water unaided, and never leave a child unnoticed in the water. Always follow all pool and water safety recommendations. With practice and proper instruction, your child can learn to swim and will develop a skill that will last a lifetime.