Learning to swim as a child or trying to teach a child can be rather tricky, but kids actually pick up the concept a lot faster as they don’t think about all the threats adults do. Children will however, need more guidance when it comes to the hand and feet movements required. If the parent isn’t a strong swimmer, its highly recommended that the child leans from a strong swimmer or an instructor at a club.
The first step you need to overcome is any fears of water. The step becomes much easier when a strong summer or an instructor is with you. Get into the shallow end of the pool where a child will be comfortable and can firmly feel the bottom of the pool. Get them used to the water and stay close to them, helping them feel secure. Move around as much as possible to help their body’s get used to the water.
Step two simply requires the movement of hands and feet in the same way you have seen other swimmers do. With this step, an instructor or a friend that can swim will be a great benefit. They will be able to show these movements and the different options there are available. Remain on the shallow end of the pool with these movements and allow the child to feel the reaction to the water. Some actions will lift their entire bodies and others will simply move them forward or backwards.
Once you have completed the first part of this step, it’s important to copy the same movements with legs. This means holding on to the side of the pool and practicing the kicking movement with feet. Once the movement begins to work, you will find the bottom part of your body will begin to rise by itself until they are basically floating above the water.
Once both the first and second step have been achieved, you will be able to move on to swimming. Move with the child by gently supporting them with your arms just below their belly and chest. This will allow the child to practice the movements and swim, but still feel secure with your assistance.
It’s also very important to keep breathing with each of the steps as it will keep the child calm. Breathing is an incredibly important step and it is integral for it to be practiced from the very beginning. Assisting the child while swimming will also allow them to keep their heads above water and avoid the feelings of panic. During the assistance process, it’s important to remember you are there to catch the child when they struggle. The rest of the time, offer little support with your arms and allow them to do most of the swimming themselves.
Things not to do
Learning to swim can be a time consuming exercise that shouldn’t be rushed in any way. Many people would tell you to simply jump in on the deep side of the pool and try to figure out from there, this is a very risky method that will not give you the correct technique whatsoever and even more risky with children as it can cause a fear of the water.