A simple lesson plan, combined with patience and support, is the right approach to teaching a child how to swim. While not every child is going to have a complete blast, try following these relatively common-sense steps to ensure your child has a safe and enjoyable time at the pool.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- OXY brand goggles
- Swimming Caps
- Swimming Goggles
Hold the child beneath the armpits and walk him around in the water to develop a feeling of comfort in an aquatic environment. Smile and talk to demonstrate that this new place is fun and interesting.
Get the child to kick his legs. Have him hold onto the side of the pool so you can guide his legs. Then do it with your hands beneath his armpits to develop the feeling of motion. With older children, use a kickboard.
Blow bubbles in the water with the child as he kicks to get him used to putting his face in the water. Gradually begin dunking him down to practice holding his breath. Accompany the child underwater and play underwater games to get him to open his eyes.
Support the child around his waist or chest and begin having him stroke with his arms. Demonstrate the motion yourself, and then guide the child's arms. Then let him do it on his own while you support him in the water. Have him keep kicking.
Have the child swim a short distance from the wall to you. Begin at a very short distance, so that he can almost jump the span at first. Gradually increase the distance.
Demonstrate to the child how to breathe by lifting or turning his head as the distance from you to him gets far enough to necessitate this.
Instruct the child to jump into the pool from the side with you there to catch him at first, and then increase the distance so that he must jump and swim.
Tips and warnings
- Take your time with each step. The first day, only do the first step. The second day, do the first step again and then add the second step. Start each new lesson with a review of the previous lessons and advance to the next step, but only if the child is ready.
- The most important factor in a child's ability to learn to swim is the way he feels about the water. Play lots of games to make it fun. Take it slow. If the child learns to enjoy the water, swimming skills will develop naturally.
- Never leave a child unattended near or in a pool. Never take your eyes off a child near or in a pool. This is an extremely serious issue. Even children who can swim must be closely watched.
- While confidence in a child is the best teacher, it can also be the biggest danger.