5 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Swim At Home
One of the leading causes for accidental drowning is not being able to swim well. Children of all ages can begin to learn water safety and swimming skills at home. Though skills are not a replacement for adult supervision when around water, swimming skills can save a child’s life.
1. Teach About Water Panic
Even young children can hold their breath for a few seconds, sink to the bottom of a pool and push up with their feet to get their heads above water for a breath of air. However, panic leads to irrational flailing moves that lead to exhaustion and drowning. Teach common sense ways to get out of bad situations when it comes to pools and hot tubs. Panic usually begins when children fall into water, flotation devices fail, or when they lose their footing in water. Drills that teach children what to do if something goes wrong go a long way to protecting them from drowning.
2. Teach Floating First
Demonstrate how lungs filled with air act as an internal assist to float. Teach how to use hands and feet to push up when they breathe out, which naturally causes them to sink at least a little. Non-swimming children feel most comfortable when they are upright (vertical) in water. Learning how to float on one’s back unaided by flotation devices begins a familiarity with horizontal positioning in water that is necessary for learning to swim.
3. Be Extra Patient and Encouraging
Be patient when teaching children to swim. Siblings, relatives and even peers may not be the best teachers for children who are afraid of pools. A good swimmer who is also the most patient person a child trusts is likely the best candidate for successfully teaching a child how to swim at home. Fear levels vary greatly among children when it comes to water and swimming. Be sure to also make swimming lesson times regular and private.
4. Teach Basic Swimming Movements Out of The Water
Learning how to move while swimming is half the battle. It takes time to coordinate hand, arm and shoulder movements along with rhythmic movements of the legs. Basic swimming strokes can be practiced out of the water. The breaststroke is likely more difficult for a beginner to learn than doggy paddling as a first swim stroke. Learning to tread water before learning to swim can instill confidence in children and let them know they can stay above water without any assistance.
5. Hire a Professional to Teach at Home
Some children are most comfortable when at home in their own swimming pool. However, they may be afraid enough to resist being taught to swim by even the most patient family member. A professional instructor brought to the home to give private swimming lessons may be just what is needed. Be sure the instructor is credentialed and cleared for working with children, and be sure an adult is there to supervise the lessons.
Some children are very timid in and around swimming pools and hot tubs while others take to swimming like a fish. All children need to know how to swim and how to be safe around any body of water. Patience and persistence are the keys to teaching swimming techniques. The proper way to swim can be learned at home, but be sure to have a plan and a goal for each lesson along with a reward for success.