A Complete Guide to Teaching Kids to Swim

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Are you planning on teaching kids to swim?

Swimming provides a fun way to enjoy trips to the beach or the swimming pool as a pastime. It’s also a helpful survival skill and a wonderful way to exercise the body.

Teaching kids how to swim allows them to master this essential skill as they grow up. Today, we will look at how you can teach them and what to remember when doing so. This also includes some handy tips for teaching kids how to swim. 

Read what’s below to be successful in teaching children to swim.

How Soon Can Children Learn?

One of the first considerations when teaching children to swim is to know how soon you should start. You have various programs that you can test out where children can learn as early as age 4 or 5. Do note that they would come up as competent swimmers at ages 6 and 7.

With this in mind, the earliest that you can bring your children to learn swimming and to take swimming lessons is at age 4. At this point, they can learn about basic water survival skills. This includes floating, treading water, and getting to an exit point where they can get out of the water.

Considering the thought that drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death injury all over the world, children around this age bracket are at high risk. Right after them are children ages 5-9 years old. This makes it important for you to keep a watchful eye as the children are learning.

How to Get Them Started?

In getting them started, you need to go towards shallow water first. Here, you can join them and have an easy time helping them familiarize themselves with the water. 

You can let them enjoy the shallow water as early as 2-3 years old. With that in mind, keep your eyes and your full attention to them at all costs. The best places for them to familiarize themselves with the water is in children-sized swimming pools that have depths at 1-2 feet on the shallow side. 

Once they reach ages 4-5, that is when you start teaching the fundamental skills. You can have them learn about floating and other basic mechanics. At this stage, make sure to have your children within your reach.

Skills to Teach

There are some skills and lessons that you can teach if you opt to not enroll them in swimming lessons. It is possible to do so, but you would need to be there to help them learn and develop. Here are some pointers on what they can learn and how you can help in teaching them.

Cuing and Getting Out

These two skills work best when taught at the earliest. Usually set for toddlers, you can teach them how to acclimate with the water and how to get out of the body of water. These help them when they go to the pool.

For cuing, you can teach them when to hold their breath when going underwater. Then to breathe again when the water is no longer on their heads.

Getting out teaches them to reach for the exit right away. This one helps them when they get to the pool or in a similar body of water.

Breathing and Floating

These two lessons are among the essentials in swimming. For breathing, this helps them regulate their breaths while on the water. 

Thus, it helps them relax instead of panic. Our bodies have this instinct of not breathing while in water as a hardwired mental instinct.

You can teach children to hum then lower their faces underwater. Tell them to relax and that the water going through the nose is a normal thing. Instruct them to keep humming until they lift their faces out of the water.

As for floating, teach them how to do both back-floating and front-floating. The latter is one of the more essential skills. This is due to how most swimming motions lean towards forward strokes. 

The secret to this is head position and stretched arms. The head position helps determine which direction the body leans to. The stretched arms can help with buoyancy.

For this, have your child do an I or Y pose with palms facing the bottom. The trick here is to let them float without kicking.


This last segment is more towards teaching them how to propel themselves while on the water. The basics to these break down to these segments:

  • Keep legs straight
  • Pointed toes
  • Feet underwater

Once you have that position up, let them kick about. This should teach them the flutter kick.

You can also give them the chance to refine their techniques. Consider helping them in correcting their techniques as they practice more.

Mistakes to Avoid

There are also some mistakes to avoid when you teach children how to swim. These mistakes may also cause you to fail so pay attention.

  • Relying too much on drill videos
  • Not paying attention to correct body mechanics
  • Pushing the children too hard

For the first one, you need to know the basics yourself. This makes teaching easier to execute. You would know what to do in these drills as you can also practice them yourself.

In line with this, you also need to correct the position of the hands and body, as well as the legs and hips. When teaching children to swim, take note of the correct body mechanics and help them correct their technique. This works better when they also take swimming lessons to help reinforce those movements.

Lastly, do not push them too hard. There is a difference between pushing to succeed and pushing to exhaustion.

They won’t get it right the first time, so you would need a great deal of patience. Give them chances to practice the swimming techniques.

Teaching Kids to Swim Can Be Rewarding

Teaching kids to swim can provide opportunities for bonding between you and your children. Aside from teaching them necessary survival skills through swimming, you also encourage them to take swimming as an exercise and as a sport.

The best way to teach kids to swim is with the help of the right gear. Contact us here to know about the swimming gear and accessories we offer. These are great at helping beginners and experienced swimmers alike.

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