A Guide to Teaching Your Kids How to Swim for the First Time
Swimming for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience for your little ones. Of course, you do have the natural advantage of your relationship to make things easy from your end, but combating their fear of drowning can still be an uphill battle. As such, it all starts with baby steps and some advance to be Olympic winners.
There is a possibility that your kid might hold some swimming merits to his name down the road. Such a possibility exists only once you are able to tame the kid’s fear and make him learn swimming. So, before diving in, go through this guide on how to teach your kid to swim for the first time.
Introduce them to the Rules
Introducing them to the basic rules will keep them safe. Tell them not to be around water without adult supervision. It’s imperative for them to understand that diving into the deep water on their own is not cool. They should always be wearing all the swimming aids before interacting with the water.
Moreover, head first dive should be a complete no. Warn your kids not to pretend as if they are drowning. Also, ask them not to run near the edge of the pool. Show them where the changing room and bathroom is. Some basic coaching can go a long way in preventing catastrophic events.
It’s important to prepare your kids both physically and mentally for the challenge that lies ahead of them. To make them mentally ready, you can get them involved in the purchase of their swimming costume. You can also get them familiar with water more by buying them water toys, thus invoking their curiosity about water.
You can also take them to the pool few days before the first lesson to introduce them to the new place so that they are more receptive on their second visit. Also, keep double checking the dates with them once a while. Make sure to give them a light meal on the day of training. A heavy meal should be avoided at all costs.
Make them Feel Safe
Even a small pool can scare kids. Therefore, assuring kids of their safety is an important step towards the learning process. Fear can hold them back, and they might not learn, let alone enjoy their time in the water. To combat their fear, use reassuring words repeatedly so that they develop enough courage to step into the water. Believe it or not, you will win half the battle once you help them conquer their fear of water.
Allow them to hold on to you until they feel safe on their own. Let the kids wear swim goggles. The ability to see under the water can have a calming effect on their minds. Water-fearing kids might resist a lot initially. Splash water and show them how much fun it’s to be in the pool.
Blow bubbles in the water to encourage them to step into the water to join the fun. You can also bring in their favorite toys to keep them entertained and to raise their spirits.
Make it Fun
If you guys are not having fun in the water, then you must be doing something terribly wrong. Remember, your first session will set the tone for the upcoming sessions. So, it’s up to you to make it a memorable experience for your kid so that he feels happy to come back again for more lessons. Do not raise your voice or show anger in any form while coaching the kid.
Give them the time to play with the water before you start teaching them. Make learning a slow process and make it appear like a playtime as opposed to a learning class. Do everything possible to maximize their fun time in the water.
To teach them right, you will have to choose the precise area of the pool. Make sure that the water level is under the child’s chest area and not up to the neck or head. This is important because kids can swallow a lot of water and they can also easily suffocate themselves.
You can start slow by having them hold you or the wall while they get comfortable with the water. Spending some time inside the water will give them the much-needed confidence required to be ready for the upcoming lessons.
If you intend to teach the kid for around 30 to 40 minutes, let the kid feel and enjoy the water for the first 5 to 10 minutes. Then, spend the next 5 minutes working on kicking, while the kid swims towards you. Then, dedicate the next 5 minutes for the arm movement. Switch between the arm and leg movements to avoid boredom while training.
Gradually, help them get under the water to swim without kicking. If the kid is too young, then you might want to steer the underwater training to the next sessions. The final few minutes in the pond can be spent on celebrating and having fun.
Keep the Session Short
Long sessions can be a turn-off for first timers who are afraid of getting into the water. If the sessions go too long, they might not participate the next time around. Therefore, it’s important to keep the initial sessions short. Long hours in the water against their wish can ruin the fun.
Moreover, it would be hard to train a distracted and a resultant kid. The kid is sure to give you a hard time if the session extends for too long. Ideally, a 30-40 minute session should be ok for the first time.
Since no child is drown-proof, proper supervision is a must at all times to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing. There is nothing more important than the child’s safety. You will have to be extra vigilant when you are around a beach or a lake. Remember, there’s no substitute for your watchful eyes. So, never turn your back on a kid while he’s in the water. Even few seconds of lapse can prove to be a regretful affair.