When you’re teaching your kids to swim, how you teach is as important as what you teach. Use these 22 tips to help make your teaching style more effective and more fun for everyone.
22 Tips for a Fun, Effective Teaching Style
1. Do tell your child what swimming skill you’ll be learning that day before you get into the pool.
2. Do start easy and build on the swimming skills your child has already mastered.
3. Do teach swimming skills in small pieces that can be combined.
4. Do teach one swimming skill at a time.
5. Do demonstrate.
6. Do give simple, one- or two-word instructions.
7. Do avoid yes/no questions.
8. Do ask open-ended questions.
9. Do repeat, practice, and review to turn movement into habit.
10. Do acknowledge the small subtle things that are happening to your child’s body when he’s working on a swimming skill.
11. Do take time during the swimming lesson to point out the physical sensations.
12. Do praise your child’s efforts, not just his accomplishments.
13. Do be specific in your praise.
14. Do give positive, specific, constructive, immediate feedback.
15. Do define success based on process instead of outcome.
16. Do encourage your child to try things he initiates (as long as you’re there to keep him safe).
17. Do use lots of different ways of explaining or showing the swimming skill you’re teaching.
18. Do use all the senses to teach each swimming skill.
19. Do touch the part of your child’s body that you want him to focus on.
20. Do use your hands to help adjust your child’s body gently without forcing him.
21. Do relate the swimming skill you’re trying to teach to something your child already knows how to do, like dig a hole or pedal a bike.
22. Do use imagination, games, and visualization to make repetition and swimming practice fun.