Octopus Mom

Life as a mom who has her hands full

Teach your Child to Swim

Wikipedia Commons/ Tommy Wong

Copyright: Wikipedia Commons/ Tommy Wong

There aren’t too many things we don’t teach our children. We teach them to walk, to talk, and even to ride a bike. Yet most of us pay top dollar to have someone else teach them how to swim. When I was a teenager, I got a summer job teaching 3 year olds how to swim. They sat there on the edge of the pool, terrified to enter the water. In reality, I don’t know who was scared the most..them or me. When I had my own children I listened to countless friends and family members ask me each summer if I was putting them in swimming lessons. My answer was always a defiant “NO”. It’s not that I don’t want to pay for them to take classes or go to fun camps. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The simple fact was that I didn’t want to pay someone to teach them something that I so easily could. Karate?? Now that was a different story.

If you can swim, then chances are you can teach your children how to. The benefit to teaching your children how to swim, is that it builds up their confidence in you. YOU are their teacher, their mentor, their playmate…not some gawky teenager at the local country club masquerading as an instructor. They take their cues from YOU. When you make swimming fun and exciting, they will follow. But there are a few simple tips to helping you achieve swimming success.

First: DO NOT PUSH THEM: If they are uncomfortable, respect that and focus on gaining their trust. Don’t let them go in the water, force them to jump in, or do anything that will make that trust in you diminished. They have to know that when they expect you to be there to catch them..you will.

Second: GET FRIENDS: Children do best by role modeling..hence all the fuss over swim lessons.. You can gain all the benefits to this by inviting some other friends over to the pool to play. Seeing other children playing in the water and having fun usually relaxes even the most reluctant swimmer.

Third: START EARLY: If you wait to introduce swimming and wait to get their faces wet until they are 2 or 3 then you will have an uphill battle. Swimming or at least getting their faces wet should be something they are familiar with at an early age. Let your little ones splash in the bathtub and if they get upset when water hits their face…try to ease their fears. Let them know that water isn’t scary and that it can be fun. Always remember though, never leave and infant or toddler alone in a bathtub or a swimming pool..even when they are wearing flotation devices. Nothing is 100 % safe and you should always be watching them no matter what.

If you are interested in teaching your children to swim or encouraging a love of water:

Try this article: How to Teach Your Child to Swim

And as always..if you like my blog…check out my website: www.octopusmom.com

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3 comments on “Teach your Child to Swim

  1. Chrissie
    June 1, 2010

    Thanks so much! I feel like I’m doing a good job so far with my 3 yr old but this was really helpful. You told me thinks that I haven’t thought about or thought about in awhile. That’s why I go to others..for feedback,advice.

  2. Duncan Yang
    April 7, 2011

    I totally agree to the first thing not to do is to push them, it will get more resistance and may make them get away from swimming for the rest of their life, even they finally learned how to swim, they won’t swim in the future. that will be a very bad thing!

    -Duncan Yang

  3. Roxanne
    August 28, 2013

    I agree, pushing kids isnt a good way to teach them to be comfortable with the water. My kids actually learned how to swim at camp. I send them to a day camp for a week or two each summer at a local camp in NJ called Frogbridge Daycamp. They have an excellent aquatics programs. I highly suggest anyone local to NJ (Monmouth/Ocean County especially) check them out- http://www.frogbridge.com/daycamp/02_aquatics.htm

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This entry was posted on July 28, 2008 by in Parenting Tips and tagged , , , , , , , .

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