Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. This game can help you ease a kid who’s nervous about the water into climbing into the swimming pool.
Have your child pretend to be a plant or tree reaching its roots into the ground. Have him sit on the edge of the pool. How does it feel when the tips of his roots—I mean toes—touch the water? Can he dip them in farther? Can he wiggle and stretch them? Can he stand on the step and reach his arms up like branches while his legs are under the surface? Can he stretch his roots down to the next step? What nutrients are his roots getting from the water? What kind of tree is he? A cherry tree? Does he giggle if you pick cherries from his branches? Try not to tickle!
You’ve been working for a while on teaching your kids to get into the pool. If they’re comfortable with what you’ve taught so far, you’re ready for the last step in the process of teaching this skill.
The Final Stage of Teaching Kids to Get into the Pool
Once your child feels very comfortable in the water, he’s ready to get into the pool feet-first all by himself. In this swimming lesson, ease into having him move himself from a seated position on the edge of the pool into your waiting arms. Start by standing close enough that he can reach out and touch you, but make sure he’s the one reaching for you, not the other way around.
Gradually move back so that you’re standing a foot or more from the edge of the pool and your child has to lean forward and scoot into the pool to reach you. Once he’s able to stabilize himself in the pool by holding onto the edge, have him lower himself into the water and hold onto the edge while you’re standing nearby.
Now you’ve covered everything your kids need to know about this swimming skill. Keep practicing to reinforce the skill, and get ready to move on to teaching your kids to get a feel for the water.
Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. You can use toys your kids are familiar with to make learning to get into the pool easier.
Play with boats in the bathtub. Show your kids video of a boat easing down the boat ramp into the water. (Make sure you check it out first. This isn’t a good time for bloopers.) After your kids have practiced getting into the pool, make a game out of pretending to be a boat going down a ramp into the water.
As your kids gains confidence in the water and with the feel of the water, you can use a lighter touch to teach them how to get into the pool.
If you haven’t already, read Teaching Kids How to Get into the Pool: Stage 1. Kids need to have learned how to get into the pool with lots of support before you start reducing the amount of support you give them.
Have your child sit on the edge of the pool. (This should sound familiar.) Sit next to him. Keeping one hand on your child to make sure he’s secure, lower yourself into the water.
Turn to face him, but instead of moving so that your body is touching him, reach your arms out to pick him up and bring him to you. Hold him so that less of his body is touching yours.
Start using his imaginative and problem-solving skills to explore this skill. Ask him questions. How many different ways are there to get into the pool? Are some of them safer than others? Why? Which are the best ways?
If some of his ideas aren’t safe, point out why. Try his other ideas with him.