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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