How to teach your child to swim

As a parent, it becomes your responsibility to teach your child to swim. As well as many health benefits for a growing child, the ability to swim is extremely important for our safety (and also the safety of others) as we get older.  It is also a great way to bond with your young child, assisting them in completing primitive strokes and becoming independent in the pool. As they grow older, enrolling them in swimming classes is a great way for them to stay active and meet new friends. Being able to swim also opens social avenues when we’re adults. If you’re looking to begin teaching your child and are unsure about where to start, here are a few ways to get going. For first timers, it can be best to introduce your child into a structured swimming programme under the supervision of qualified and accredited swimming teachers.

Familiarise them with the Water

The first step is to accustom your child with the water, letting them dangle their legs in the pool to begin with. Then introduce them slowly into the shallow end where they can stand up and move around in the water. Let them submerge their head to show that there is nothing to be scared of when going underwater. Allowing them to see you swimming in the pool feeling relaxed will also give them more confidence.

Introduce Equipment

A way to both enhance safety and the enjoyment factor is to introduce floatation equipment to the session. Armbands are an obvious choice, which attach around the arms and keeps your child afloat, allowing them to practice their stroke action with more ease, but in recent years there have been all kinds of developments in float suits which are designed just like traditional swimming costumes with the buoyancy of armbands built in to make swimming feel much more natural. You shouldn’t allow your child to use them for too long however as they may become reliant on their buoyancy when removed.

Allow them Freedom

It may be tempting to hold your child up in the water but this can restrict their progression. Instead, allow them to splash about and become used to moving their limbs to stay afloat. Also demonstrate how they will float by lying on your back or lifting your legs up. This will give your child the confidence to try out new techniques in the knowledge they won’t sink.

Begin Teaching Strokes

When your child begins to feel confident in the pool and appears totally relaxed being in and under the water, you can begin to teach them basic swimming strokes. Ask them which style they feel most comfortable with, be it front crawl or breaststroke for example. Show them basic tips on how to move their arms and legs, as well as breathing techniques. Break the process down into different stages so they progress at a fair rate.

Your Responsibility

As the guardian of the child, you must keep an eye on them at all times without being too domineering at the same time, however. Keep a relaxed manner yourself but also informative and direct when explaining important instructions. It is also important to sustain your trips to these swimming lessons, even if it seems you aren’t getting anywhere in the first few weeks.