Although you can enroll your child in swimming lessons, it will be practical if you teach him yourself. The lessons should of course only involve swimming basics. A professional swimming instructor should facilitate advanced swimming lessons. Read the following guidelines if you intend to teach your child a beginner’s swimming lessons.
- Establish the child’s confidence. If your child is particularly afraid of being in the water, you first have to let him stay on the steps for a few minutes before the learning session. Allow him to play a little, splash the water at you or at anything, or wade his feet. Never pull or drag him into the water if he doesn’t want to swim yet. He will only make a scene and will ruin an otherwise good start. When you think he is ready and confident, begin the lesson.
- Teach bobbing. Bobbing is a fundamental swimming lesson. It is when you immerse your head in the water and blow bubbles for a few seconds. Note that most kids are afraid to do bobs for fear of drowning, so you need to first demonstrate it and ensure it is safe to do. Explain to the kid that it is so much like blowing his nose when he has cold. Get him to do bobs out of the water first and when he is ready let him plunge his head into the water and do bobbing. Ask him to close his eyes if he is afraid of the water getting into his eyes. Remember to do the bobbing session on the steps if he is not comfortable moving to the other parts of the pool.
- Let him do the kicks. Kicking should also be done on the steps or in the low-water part of the pool. Let the child grip the edge of the uppermost step or the wall. Ask him to stretch his body straight so that he can freely kick. For a few counts, let him splash water by wading his feet in an up and down motion. It will be best if you demonstrate it first. When he sees how it is done, he is much more likely to get it done right. Now, ask him to do it without touching the step or the wall. Let him hold one end of a kickboard, while you hold the other end and move him to other parts of the pool. As you transport him, check how he kicks. Because kicking is what’s going to steer his body in the water, you have to make sure that he gains mastery of it.
- Teach him the arm movements. Ask the child to do the arm movements out of the water. Tell him to bring his hands to the front. He should then bring his right hand from the front to the back, making a wide arc along the way, and back to the front. Ask her to do the same with his left hand. Let him do this several times. When he is ready, instruct him to do the arm movements in the water to let him know what it feels like.
Allow the child to combine the techniques after mastering them all. Hold his chin as he tries to kick and do the arm movements. If he already can, allow him to dunk his head into the water, so he can bob while he does his strokes. Remember, however, that teaching your kid how to swim doesn’t necessarily eliminate the possibility of him drowning. So make sure you supervise him every time he swims.