Thanks to Shelley White for a mention in her article in The Globe and Mail.
I started this blog thinking that I wanted to help parents teach their own kids to swim, using the natural advantages of their relationship with their kids to make the process fun for everyone in the family. I wanted to provide tips and tricks and step-by-step guidance. I wanted to help parents use their time on dry land to reinforce what their kids learn in the pool.
Some of the information in this blog includes:
- How to prepare to teach kids to swim
- How to craft a teaching style that works
- How to structure swimming lessons
- What you need to know about kids’ minds and bodies before you start
- How kids learn and how to motivate them
- Important safety information
- Swimming lesson do’s and don’ts
- The sequence you should teach the skills in
- Specific, detailed information about how to teach each swimming skill
I hope the information in this blog is useful to you. I’m moving on to other projects and won’t be posting for the foreseeable future, but you can still get all this information and more in book form. Here’s how to get the book.
Thanks for reading,
If you haven’t already, check out some things you should do–here, here, here, and here–when you’re teaching your kids to swim. Got it? Great! Now keep in mind these 15 “don’ts” and you’ll be ready to start teaching your kids to swim (or reinforcing the lessons their swimming teacher has already taught).
Don’t lose your child’s trust
- Don’t throw your child into the water to teach him to swim, ever.
- Don’t force your child into water without preparing him.
- Don’t deny it if your child has a scary moment.
- Don’t trick your child or lie.
Don’t send your child subtle messages that he should fear the water
- Don’t wipe it off if water gets on your face or your child’s face.
- Don’t prevent him from trying new things in the water.
- Don’t overreact if he swallows some water.
- Don’t yell.
Don’t let your expectations interfere with your child’s progress
- Don’t expect your child’s swimming to be fast, especially in the beginning.
- Don’t expect very young kids to learn strokes before they’re developmentally ready.
- Don’t expect your child to pick up right away where you left off at the end of the last lesson.
- Don’t expect your child to do it perfectly.
If you’ll be making a lot of trips to the swimming pool for lessons this summer, do yourself a favor and put together a kit of supplies you’ll take with you every time you go. Make a list and keep it with your pool kit. Check the list before you go to the pool, and replenish the supplies when you get home.
Prepare to Get into the Pool
Before you get into the swimming pool, gather the toys, equipment and clothing you’ll need, and plan what you’ll do. This post will focus on the toys and equipment you’ll need.
Toys and equipment
Depending on what skills you’ll be practicing, you might want to bring toys that will help you to teach your kids to swim. They can be specialized, or they can just be things you have around the house.
Washcloths and hand towels are great for providing a cool, comfortable place for your child to sit on the edge of the pool. They’re also good for games.
Coins serve not only as something to retrieve from the bottom of the pool but also as built-in motivation to retrieve it.
Foam noodles and rings for the pool can be great teaching tools, but you can also use toys that aren’t designed specifically for swimming, such as regular balls and other toys. Just make sure you know which ones float and which ones sink.
Dog toys are great for kids to play with in the pool. They come in a huge variety of sizes and fun shapes.
Whatever objects you use, make sure that they’re appropriate for your child’s developmental level.
Tools like kickboards, inflatable armbands, and fins can be useful for getting kids to feel comfortable and confident in the water, but they also have downsides:
- They can give your child too much confidence. You don’t want to experience the moment when your child, not yet water safe, jumps into the pool because he forgot that he didn’t have his armbands on.
- They don’t teach kids to swim. Being in the water without one of these tools doesn’t feel the same as being in the water with them; time spent using them isn’t helping with actual swimming skills.
- They can become a crutch. If you don’t ditch them early enough in the learning process, your child will start to feel uncomfortable in the water without them and won’t be willing to give them up easily.