How to Teach Your Child to Swim

Are you wanting to know how to teach your child to swim? Teaching your child to swim is like giving them a key to unlock a world of fun, adventure, and essential life skills. Not only does swimming promote physical fitness, but it also builds water confidence and safety awareness from a young age. As a parent, you have the incredible opportunity to play an active role in this journey, transforming your child from a tentative water observer into a confident and capable swimmer. 

Our early child educators from Primary Beginnings, a 5-star preschool in Raleigh, NC are sharing tips for how to teach your child to swim. From the initial preparations to dealing with issues of water anxiety, we are providing valuable insights on how to create a positive and enjoyable learning experience in the water.

how to teach your child to swim

Preparing for Swimming Lessons

Before embarking on the exciting journey of learning how to teach your child to swim, it's crucial to make thorough preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. 

Choosing the Right Time and Place

Aim for a time when both you and your child are relaxed and unhurried. Rushed or stressful environments can hinder the learning process and potentially create anxiety around water. Additionally, find a suitable swimming facility that caters to children's classes or offers a dedicated kids' pool. A child-friendly environment with qualified instructors can make all the difference in your child's learning experience.

Ensuring Safety First

Never leave your child unattended in or near water, even for a moment. Designate a responsible adult as the water watcher whose sole focus is on the child's safety during swimming lessons. Keep a watchful eye at all times, as accidents can happen in an instant.

Building Water Confidence

Building confidence when children learn sports activities of any kind is paramount, but building water confidence in your child is a crucial foundation for successful swimming lessons. The initial experiences in and around water should be positive, fun, and free from fear or anxiety. This stage sets the tone for your child's future aquatic adventures. 

Introduction to Water

The journey of building water confidence begins at home, where your child feels safe and secure. Start with a small water tub or a kiddie pool in your backyard or even in the bathtub. Allow your child to splash and play in the water, exploring its texture and temperature. Provide water-friendly toys such as rubber ducks, cups, and bath toys to make the experience more engaging. Let your child fill and pour water, encouraging them to interact with it.

Water Wading and Splashing

Move from playing with water to wading in it. Begin in the shallow end of a pool, where your child can comfortably stand with their head above water. Hold their hand and encourage them to take small steps into the water, gradually letting them feel the buoyancy. Create a playful environment by splashing water gently and demonstrating how to enjoy it. 

Encourage your child to blow bubbles in the water, either by blowing on the surface or with their face submerged. Blowing bubbles helps them get used to the sensation of water on their face. Teach your child to take a deep breath and hold it before submerging their face. This STEM activity for children is essential for future swimming strokes and builds their confidence in the water.

How to Teach Your Child to Swim: Basic Swimming Skills

With a solid foundation of water confidence in place, it's time to introduce your child to basic swimming skills. 

Introduction to Floating

Begin with back floating, which is often less intimidating for children. Support your child as they lie on their back in the water, holding their head and gently assisting them in floating. Encourage them to relax their body and breathe calmly. Progress to front floating, where your child lies face down in the water with their arms extended forward. Support them as needed, ensuring they maintain a relaxed posture.

Kicking and Leg Movements

While holding onto the pool's edge or a flotation device, have your child practice flutter kicks. Emphasize a gentle and continuous kicking motion from the hips, as this is the foundation for many swimming strokes. Encourage your child to perform leg exercises such as kicking while holding onto a kickboard or simply floating on their back. This helps them develop strength and coordination in their legs.

Arm Movements

Teach your child basic paddling techniques to move their arms effectively in the water. Demonstrate the front crawl stroke, where one arm reaches forward and pulls while the other arm recovers above the water. Encourage your child to practice this motion while floating or holding onto a kickboard.

Submerging Under Water

Encourage your child to dip their face in the water while wearing goggles. Start with brief submersion, gradually increasing the duration as they become more comfortable. Make these exercises playful and exciting to build positive associations with being submerged.

As your child becomes more confident with submersion, gradually progress to deeper water and more extended submersion exercises. Always prioritize their comfort and safety during these activities, as they are paramount in the process of how to teach your child to swim.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

It's not uncommon for children to experience emotions such as fear and anxiety when learning to swim. These feelings can be natural responses to new and unfamiliar experiences in the water. 

Fear of Submersion

Fear of submersion is a common fear among young swimmers. Children may feel anxious about getting their face or head wet. Invest in child-sized goggles to protect their eyes during submersion exercises. Goggles can help alleviate anxiety about water splashing into their eyes.

Start with short and shallow submersion exercises, allowing your child to dip their face in the water for just a moment. As they become more comfortable, gradually increase the duration and depth of submersion. 

Fear of Deep Water

Fear of deep water can also be a common challenge for children when learning how to teach your child to swim. They may feel uneasy when they can't touch the bottom of the pool or body of water. Transition your child from shallow water to deeper areas gradually. Start by gradually moving deeper as they become more confident and comfortable with each step. Consider using supportive floatation devices, like pool noodles or life vests, to help your child feel more secure in deeper water. These aids can provide a sense of buoyancy and safety. 

Looking for the Perfect Preschool for Your Child? Contact Our 5-Star Preschool in Raleigh Today

Discover the perfect preschool experience at our 5-star rated facility in Raleigh. At Primary Beginnings, we're dedicated to providing a nurturing and enriching environment where your child can thrive and grow. Our team of caring educators is committed to fostering a love for learning that will last a lifetime.

Experienced and passionate teachers, safe and stimulating learning programs, comprehensive early childhood education, engaging activities and programs, and a positive, supportive atmosphere. Give your child the gift of an exceptional preschool education. 
Contact us today to schedule a tour at one of our 3 locations and learn more about how we can help your child flourish. Please fill out the contact form below to get started.