Kids in the water and diving from their Bennington pontoon boat

Teaching Kids to Swim

 

Did you know that approximately 800 children die from drowning in the United States each year? Facts like this one are scary and abundant, and that’s exactly why water safety for children is extremely important. Child water safety is all about knowing how to handle being in or near water safely as well as another crucial element all unto its own - learning to swim.

If you are planning to teach or have your child taught swimming, this is quite possibly one of the best parenting decisions you may make. Their safety as well as self-confidence and culture will all benefit tremendously and for the rest of their lives. So, how do you go about teaching them the art of the swim?

Swim Lessons: The Basics

You can either teach them yourself, or you can have them taught by a professional. In any case, an important distinction to make is that swim lessons, per se, are not really comprised of step-by-step mini-motions. Learning to swim involves repetition of actual methods and activities rather than the putting together of miniaturized, progressive steps.

A really helpful resource that demonstrates this sort of activities-as-opposed-to-steps methodology comes to us by way a University of Florida publication titled “Teaching Children to Swim.” According to the piece, games and fun activities like Blowing Bubbles, Going Underwater, The Back Glide, and Jump In and Turn Around can each have its own cumulative teaching effects on the learner. With repetition, each activity thus engrains a component of the swim and water worlds that ultimately contributes to the end game - the child becoming a proficient swimmer.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Following along with activities like those listed by the above-mentioned UFL piece will provide the best and most direct path to water safety and proficiency in your child. However, in addition to such activities, there are a number of other helpful tips the overseeing adult should keep in mind. It really helps to remember the following:

- Make sure the child feels safe and stress-free. The best results always come when such distractions are either limited or non-existent.

- Make all lessons and individual activities more like games. Fun and the pursuit of it are usually the best teachers here.

- Set a schedule. Studies show that all children and their learning endeavors benefit from predictability, pattern, and an understandable schedule.

- Don’t cram too much into singular learning sessions. All of the potential benefits here can be wiped away by a lesson format that is simply too long or grueling for the little ones.

- Pay attention to wording used in instruction. Children aren’t born knowing all of our vocabulary terms, and sometimes need more or alternative descriptions for the best understanding of a concept.

If your child means the world to you, invest in their health and safety by teaching them how to swim. Don’t just rely on a lifejacket to keep them safe or to teach them anything of real-life value.