How do you teach a child to swim? Our guide outlines the steps to easily get your young child swimming with confidence.
Babies love water and so swimming courses for babies from four months are quickly booked out. Of course, babies and toddlers cannot learn to swim properly yet, but even splashing in the water strengthens the body, improves motor skills and strengthens the immune system. And last but not least, baby swimming is a good start to swim later.
Because children who are familiarized with the element of water at a very early age move more safely in and around the water: they instinctively close their nose and mouth when they fall into the water, and they look much safer for support.
Every child can learn to swim – but not every child at the same speed
The sooner children learn to swim, the better. But parents shouldn’t develop too much ambition. Some children take a little longer to overcome the fear of deeper water. Here it is said to be patient, so as not to spoil the joy of swimming. However, most children are able to properly coordinate arms and legs for swimming movements at about four or five years of age and to learn the necessary breathing technique.
Does the child need a swimming course?
You may have learned to swim from your parents. Swimming courses are therefore not absolutely necessary, but a good opportunity to learn the technique of experienced swimming trainers and to move safely in the water. If you would like to teach your child how to swim, you should take care from the very beginning to show the right movements and to practice patiently with the child. By the way, clawing is often easier for children to learn than breaststroke, because the course of movement is less complex.
Make it fun when you teach a child to swim
But learning to swim is more than technique. It should playfully awaken the joy of water sports.
- If you shiver and freeze, you quickly lose the pleasure of learning to swim. The water should therefore always be pleasant. For babies, the water should not be below 28 degrees.
2. A push into the cold water is not a good idea. Never force your child into the water if he or she doesn’t want to – that’s how he’s guaranteed to miss out on the pleasure of swimming.
3. Teach the fun by the water! Squirt and splash frequently.
4. Practice diving from the beginning. Attention: Do not hold the nose with your fingers, but blow out air from the nose.
5. Good exercises for swimming:
- For example, make the plane where the child is hovering on the surface of the water with his belly. Conversely, lying on the back, it is called water lily or dead man.
- Swimming like a seal. The lower legs remain stretched.
- Swim like a polar bear. The legs do all the work, while the arms are intertwined in front of the head.
- Dive for items.
- Jumping from the edge of the pool into the water
6. Correct motion sequences from the beginning.
Which swimming aids are suitable to teach a child to swim?
If you are always there and practice swimming with your child, there is no need for any aids. But so that even children who are not yet able to swim can move independently and safely in the water, they should wear swimming aids. The most popular swimming aid is Flügeli. They are quickly dressed and carry the child quite safely. But they prevent the little ones from doing the arm movement properly. Better in this case are swimming belts. Especially practical are swimsuits with integrated swimming aids made of styrofoam. These do not prevent the child from moving properly, do not need to be pulled on and off all the time, and can also be removed piece by piece if the child makes progress in swimming.
In addition to the pure swimming movement, however, the fun should not be neglected. With water toys such as water noodles, rings, boogie boards or mats, children learn playfully to move safely in the water.
Author: Genevieve Dumas is a food, fashion and beauty stylist from New York, who has worked for a range of major magazines.