Teaching your kids to swim is a very important task, and one many parents dread. By breaking it down into manageable steps, it is relatively easy.
Teaching your child to swim is a very important step toward maturity. A child that can swim proficiently will enjoy himself much more around the water, and you will not need to worry quite so much about him. This does not mean that you do not have to be vigilant. Anytime that your child is around water, you must always be aware of their location. The first step in teaching your child to swim is to teach him to blow bubbles. This helps him to learn how to keep the water from going up his nose, as well as getting him used to the sensation of having his face under water.
Begin by just having him take a big breath and lower only his nose and mouth under the water. He should then breath out through his nose. Once he catches onto this skill, it will be great fun for him. Now you are ready to teach him to kick. Have him hang onto the side of the pool and let his body float out behind him. It might be necessary for you to put your hand under his belly the first few times to hold his lower body off the bottom of the pool. Now encourage him to kick. He can keep his head out of the water or put it in, whichever is more comfortable. At first allow him to kick however he wants, but once he is kicking well without you holding him up, begin to encourage a smaller, more controlled kick.
Once he has mastered the kicking, he is ready to move onto his stroke. You can teach him to dog- paddle, breaststroke or free-style to start with. Perhaps the easiest stroke to start with is the modified breaststroke. Let him practice it one stroke at a time, so that he does not have to worry about sinking. Stand in the water hands and arms in front of you and together. Now push your arms off to either side, at the same time pushing off the ground. When your arms come back to your sides, put your feet back on the ground. Now let your child try it with you. Tell him to imagine “pushing” the water out of his way. He can do this stroke with his face in or out of the water, whichever he prefers. Once he feels confident doing the stroke, he can try putting it all together.
Have him start at one edge of the pool, kick off from the bottom or the side and take off. Remind him to kick, as this will help him to float. If he has trouble remembering to kick and use his arms tell him that kicking will keep him afloat and moving his arms is what will propel him through the water. Once he realizes that each movement has a separate function, he will have an easier time remembering to do them.
Once he feels confident doing this modified breaststroke, you can begin teaching him other strokes. As he becomes more confident in the water, he will also pick up other techniques on his own.