If you are a dad like me, and you love water sports, well, there is no better time to know how to teach a child to swim step by step than now.
After reading my article on best swim belts for toddlers, you already know that babies at different ages can snorkel and swim, and grasp quite a lot.
How to teach your child to swim step-by-step is not hard at all. You just need the right gear, set aside enough time and you can do it. Most probably, your dad and mom introduced you to swimming. Thus, by knowing how to teach kids to swim, you will be passing down an important skill.
The good thing is… if you teach your child how to swim yourself, a few very important things will happen:
- You will bond ever so strong with your baby
- Your baby will learn how to swim faster than they would with an instructor because he trusts dad or mom more
- When kids swim, they develop their confidence
- Your child will never forget how to swim
- Swimming is a very important, life saving skill
- Swimming is an excellent hobby as well as a workout
As you will see in the video below, it is not too hard to teach your kid how to swim. You just need to have the right gear. And a lot of patience!
How To Teach An Infant To Swim – Step by step guide
Step 1: Get the right swimming gear for kids
Like any other water sport activity, you have to have the right swimming gear for children. Kids swim confidently when they have the right gear on. Parents can teach their children how to swim faster and better when they have the right gear. Knowing how to teach your child to swim yourself is not enough. Get the swimming gear first.
Some of the stuff that you need to buy depend on the age of the child that you are teaching how to swim. They will also depend on the gender of the child. I mean, you really do not want a boy to wear a one-piece swimsuit for swimming and vice versa.
Some of the swimming items include:
- Swimming goggles
- Back float
- Swimming cap
- Swim belt for kids
- Swim diapers for babies
If you are seeking to know how to teach a baby to swim, well, you may also want to buy swim diapers for babies. Actually, babies are good swimmers. They are not natural swimmers though as many people mistakenly think. However, they learn fast. That they enjoy swimming really helps a lot. Before you know it, your baby will know how to stay afloat in water. And kick those little legs fast.
Step 2: Create a swimming plan
Once you have decided to know how to teach your child to swim yourself and have bought the required swimming gear for kids, you want to create a plan. You are not a professional tutor, but you are a good parent.
Good parents make plans in advance. That is what you will do when seeking to know how to teach kids to swim.
First thing: find the dates when you want to make your kids swim.
Second thing: list the dates, and time down in your phone or other calendar
Do this a couple of weeks in advance. That way, you will confirm you will be free from work, and you can arrange to complete your home chores in good time.
Tip: As a parent, you know you cannot cast your plans in concrete. Things could come up requiring your attention. Keep an open mind!
Step 3: Orient your baby to swimming at home
In the bathtub, works like a marvel! As simple as teaching your kid how to kayak. Only simpler!
How to teach a baby to swim means getting him/her oriented to a lot of water at home, in the tub, or a big basin. All this time, probably your baby has never gotten his face in the water. Start doing it, slowly, they will get used to it.
You can also teach your baby how to float in the bathtub. This will make your work ever so easier when you finally get him/her to learn swimming in a pool. I found useful information about how to teach a baby to swim and build his water confidence in this article.
To make the tub lessons easier, through the baby’s waterproof toys into the tub. That should placate the baby some.
For older kids, it will not be possible to teach them how to float in the bathtub. They will have to wait to go to the pool. This is why it is advisable to start teaching your children how to swim from as little as the age of 1. However, this should be done keenly, never once should the parent get distracted from the job at hand. At 1 year of age or younger, the risk of drowning is exponentially great.
Step 4: Start, and keep the swimming lessons short
Kids swim well, they learn well too. But there is a small problem. Kids do not have a long attention span. Therefore, you need to keep them interested, keep the lessons short. Learning to swim for your kids will not be an overnight task.
How to teach kids to swim requires time and patience. As well as learn swimming, they are learning other things as well. Their inquisitive minds may not allow them to grasp swimming concepts as fast as you would like. The good thing is that kids love water.
Step 5: Teach your child breath control
One of the most important things in how to teach a child to swim step by step is to teach them breath control. This is going to be hard and they will not learn it in the first few days. You need to teach them again and again, until they grasp the ability to blow bubbles by breathing out through the nose and mouth.
Step 6: Prioritize on kicking and arm movement
This should follow once your child starts exhibiting confidence in the water. What happens with most kids is that they try treading on water, same way that they walk. This affects their floatation. To help them, you may use a floatation belt for swimming or snorkeling. That should keep them afloat very well. As they learn how to kick, you should give them support so that they stay afloat. By support, we mean using the best floatation devices and keeping a keen eye on them.
Step 7: It is as easy as playing a game
Do not make swimming bland, boring and just so-so. Pack some panache into it by getting the kids to compete. If you are learning how to teach a baby to swim, give him a reward after the experience, whether it went well or badly. If you are teaching a bigger child how to swim, challenge them to get to a certain distance.
Step 8: Increase endurance
At this stage, you have truly wrapped your head around how to teach kids to swim. Once your kids swim well, have mastered arm, leg movements and blowing bubbles, you can start reducing the floatation devices. You may also start to increase the distance, and the time that they swim. However, note that your total attention is still needed. Same as teaching children how to scuba dive, keep your eyes peeled when teaching kids how to swim.
Step 9: Teach them the lingo
If they are old enough to understand the swimming jargon, teach them. Backstroke, fly and other words are quite fun to learn especially as you can show them by example. It is just snorkeling or scuba diving where there are certain terms that are used in the trade. Every day that you go to the swimming pool, make sure the children learn something new.
Step 10: Let the child learn how to swim at his or her own pace
It is just like school. Some children grasp concepts fast, others take their sweet time. In fact, some children can master many swimming tricks in a few months. Others can take even more than a year. If your child is slow to learn how to swim, be patient with him/her. They will eventually get it. Besides, even if you are the best swimmer there is, there is always room for improvement, always.
How to teach a child to swim step by step – Avoid these mistakes!
Keeping the child in a comfort zone
Every mom or dad is always afraid of letting the child out of their grasp. However, swimming is a risky sport, an action intensive one. To fully learn how to swim, your child has to go out of their comfort zone. As long as you are careful not to let them out of your sight, let the child go every now and then. That is how they will explore new boundaries in the sport.
Do not be afraid to let the child try new things!
Forgetting to watch the kick
Many parents forget this, yet it is very important as it affects how fast or slow one moves in the water. The most important thing is that the kick should be ruler-straight. That is what power propulsion. Most of the time, parents forget the legs and concentrate on arm movement.
Not monitoring their limb coordination
Swimming is a sport of perfect or near perfect coordination. Hold your breath, move arms and legs in tandem to swim from one end to the other … that is what how to teach a baby to swim means. You should constantly monitor how the children are moving their limbs, how well coordinated their limb movements are.
As we said, how to teach kids to swim takes time. Some are good, some are slow to learn. Never lash out at your baby for not grasping your instructions or for forgetting yesterday’s lesson. How you handle the child will determine whether he/she comes to like swimming. Stay patient, never take your eyes off the kid, reward progress and never cajole him or her for not swimming well.
Not knowing when they need professional assistance
As a parent, it may be a little hard to admit that you do not know how to teach swimming. It can be hard to admit that you need a professional to teach kids swim lessons. Thankfully, there are many swimming classes and for all ages too. If you feel you do not have enough experience to teach your child how to swim, go for professional assistance.
With this information for how to teach a child to swim step by step, you can now get ready and go ahead, teach your child how to swim. These are just the basics. There is much more. How to teach a baby to swim is a very exciting experience, but one that needs patience. With time, you will do it.