The best methods for teaching kids to swim depends greatly on their age. But assuming we’re talking about ages around 6 and under, here are a few activities to get kids comfortable in the water and off to a confident start as swimmers. (These will also keep Mom and Dad sane while teaching kids to swim!)

  • Put their chin in the water.
  • Place their left and right ear in the water.
  • Blow bubbles, which teaches them about always breathing out (not in)—and can show them how to hold their breath, too.
  • Lie on their backs, with their head on your shoulder and kicking.
  • In a shallow pool, try to pick pool toys off the floor. You can assist them a bit—this teaches them to put the head into the water on their own.
  • With a floating device on their back, run to fetch a floating toy. You can support them at first, but they can do this on their own fairly easily.
  • Jump into the pool. They stand on the edge, touch their toes and then jump to you. Let them fall in the water; don’t catch them straight away. Also assist them as you encourage them to climb out of the pool on their own.
  • Attempt short underwater swims, with you guiding them underwater to another person. This teaches them to keep their arms out in front and hold their breath.

With all these exercises, as kids get better you can support them less, and get them to do more on their own. These crucial first steps help to build water confidence.  The actual swimming skills can come later.  It’s important early on in the swimming experience to keep it fun.  So do some splashing, laughing and bonding during your pool time with your child. There are so many lifelong benefits to swimming, that teaching them to feel confident around water at a  young age is a huge gift to them for the rest of their days.

This time with your kids is a great experience with benefits that reach far beyond simply teaching them  to swim.

Kids and pools in Portland Oregon

Teaching kids to swim gives them benefits that last a lifetime.

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