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Susquehanna Life

Tips for Teaching Children to Swim

Feb 14, 2016 03:03PM ● By Erica Shames

Swimming is one of the best recreational activities for children, providing social, emotional and physical benefits. 

For some children and parents, however, swimming can be an intimidating and scary experience. Here’s some advice from Clearwater Pools to help your child learn to swim:

  • Start at the beginning: allow your child to hang on the wall, sit on the steps or stand in a shallow area of the pool.
  • Allow your kids to splash and play to relax. An important step in learning to swim involves getting children used to having water on their faces without wiping it away.  Allow them to practice blowing bubbles in the bathtub, and then in the pool, will help children get more comfortable having their faces near and in the water.
  • Practice arm paddling in a seated position on the side of the pool or with full support in the water.
  • Finally, work on kicking while fully supported on the wall or steps.
  • Putting all the mechanics of swimming together, and coordinating arms and legs, can be difficult.  Break down each movement into its basic components, practicing and building upon each of them.  A child should be able to perform each individual task before you try to put them all together.

Don’t ever force children to do something if they are not ready. The old paradigm of throwing kids into the water to force them to learn how to swim can have devastating effects. You don’t want to lose their trust and grow their fears.

Always make your child’s safety the most important thing: never leave them unattended in or around the water.

The more exposure children have to the water the easier it will be for them to learn, ultimately.

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