Swimming is a life skill that every child should have. In addition to helping in an emergency situation, teaching your kids how to swim can help them develop a lifelong love of the water. Here are a few strategies to teach your kids how to swim.
Introduce Your Child Early
As long as you have the right protective equipment, it’s never too early to introduce children to the water. Playing games with family will help the child associate the water with fun time. Swimming programs for toddlers should focus more on water games and getting a child comfortable. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend formal swimming lessons for children until they are at least four years old. However, you can still play games that reinforce swimming basics, such as “Red Light, Green Light” or “Marco Polo.”
Give Plenty of Practice
It’s important for your child to have plenty of practice swimming. Having your own pool can make a big difference. For other swimming opportunities, consider local swimming pools, community centers and water parks. But always keep a watchful eye on your child as they are learning.
Enroll in Classes
Consider enrolling your child in formal classes. A young lifeguard may also be willing to offer a few lessons at an inexpensive price. If you have your own pool, this person may agree to teach your child where they are already comfortable. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for children age four and older because these often reduce safety risks. However, it also cautions that each child develops differently.
Start with the Basics
Whether you teach your child to swim yourself or with another person, start with more basic movements and move your way up to more complicated strokes. A breaststroke is a common first stroke for beginners because it involves movements that keep the child above water. The next stroke that you may teach is the backstroke, in which the child lies on their back, moving his or her arms alternately in a windmill-like fashion while kicking in a flutter fashion. The doggy paddle is also a popular basic swimming technique because it easily allows a child to come to the surface and stay afloat easily.
Some parents prefer to have their children develop stronger kicking skills to assist with the process and may employ the use of a kick board to help their children practice kicking while getting comfortable in the water.
Every child has different strengths and weaknesses. Let your child take the lead on how the learning goes and be sure to provide them with ample time to practice these new skills.
Whether your child is just learning the basics of swimming or they have fish in their blood, pool safety must always be at the top of a parent’s mind. Today, there are many affordable options that enhance the safety of a pool, including an automatic safety cover. This device closes and retracts as needed. It allows parents to cover up the pool when adult or adequate supervision is not possible. It also helps prevent unwanted visitors from accessing the pool when the homeowners are not there. Because the automatic cover helps insulate the pool, homeowners may also save on utility expenses by not having to heat the pool as much.
An alternative to an automatic safety cover is a gated fence. Homeowners can install a fence around the property line to create boundaries for the pool’s use. Many city ordinances require that a fence be installed to keep out unauthorized visitors.
Backyard pools build a lifetime of wonderful memories. For swimmers of all ages, the best way to enjoy your pool is to swim safely.