How To Teach A Child To Swim

Swimming is a great way to keep your child active and promote physical fitness. It’s also a fun, rewarding experience that can help build confidence in children. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips and tricks for how to teach your child to swim safely and effectively. Let’s dive in!

Start With Water Safety

Water safety is the most important aspect of teaching a child how to swim. The best way to keep your child safe around water is to provide constant, focused supervision and teach them how to swim. It is recommended that you start teaching your child in water that is shallow enough for them to stand-up if they need a break. Begin by teaching your child to tread in the water and show them proper positioning in the water. You can also use toys and games to make teaching more fun. Finally, if your child is fearful of the water, be patient and use reassuring words and activities to help them feel more comfortable.

Introduce your Child to the Water

Getting a child comfortable with water can be a challenge, but it is essential for learning how to swim. Before getting into the pool, you should help them get used to the feeling of water through activities such as baths, showers and playing in the sprinklers. When they are comfortable with the feeling of water, you can then introduce them to pools and other places where they can swim. Show them that swimming is safe and fun by going to watch others swim, and when they are ready, ask them when they would like to get in. Taking it slow will help them feel more comfortable and more confident in the water.

Establish a Positive Environment

When teaching your child to swim, it is important to establish a positive environment. This can be done by arriving early to the program, having a knowledge of the program’s structure and expectations, and introducing your child to the instructor and staff before they start. Having an understanding of the program’s safety standards and having a clear understanding of the skills being taught at each level is also beneficial. By creating a positive environment, your child will be more comfortable in the water and have an easier time learning. Additionally, having a clear understanding of the skills being taught in each level will help you support your child’s development as they progress through the program.

Show Your Child the Basics

Before jumping in to the deep end, start by teaching your child the basics. Show them how to enter the water safely and how to hold their breath when they go under. Explain that it’s important to keep their head above the water at all times. Teach them how to float on their back, and how to use their arms and legs to propel themselves in the water. Demonstrate how to get back into the pool safely, and how to get out of the pool in an emergency. Show your child what it looks like to tread water, and how to use the side of the pool or wall as support. Lastly, make sure they know how to reach out for help if they ever need it. By teaching your child these basics, you can ensure a safe and fun swimming experience for both of you.

Practice Proper Positioning in the Water

When learning to swim, proper positioning is key for both adults and kids. It is important to keep the upper body and head low in the water. A very simple exercise to practice proper positioning is to have your child push off from the wall of the pool with their arms outstretched and submerge their face in the water. Have them keep their arms out straight and keep their head low in the water while they practice kicking their legs. To help your child gain confidence in this position, fill a bathtub with enough water to cover them up to their chin. Use this time to teach them slow air exchange by having them slowly exhale when their face is submerged in the water and look up to take a breath when ready.

Breath Control and Blowing Bubbles

Breath control is an integral part of learning to swim and mastering this skill is essential for any beginner swimmer. Teaching your child how to blow bubbles can help them learn how to control their breath when submerged. To start, have your child sit in a bathtub or on the steps of a swimming pool and show them how to hold their breath, place their mouth in the water and blow bubbles at the surface. Once they’ve gotten the hang of this, they can progress to blowing bubbles with their whole face or head in the water. As they progress, they will be able to submerge themselves for longer periods of time and develop better breath control. Using toys and games can make this process fun for your child, so don’t be afraid to get creative! With patience and practice, your child will soon be a confident and competent swimmer.

Teachable Moments in Shallow Water

One of the best ways to teach a child to swim is to use teachable moments in shallow water. By providing a safe and comfortable environment, your child can practice their water skills without being overwhelmed. Begin by introducing your child to the water in a shallow pool or beach area. Show them how to float on their back and demonstrate proper positioning. It’s important to keep the atmosphere positive and playful, so use toys and games to keep it fun. Make sure to use verbal cues and physical demonstrations when teaching new skills so your child can quickly learn. Spend time helping your child practice their breath control and blowing bubbles in the water. Gradually progress to more challenging skills, such as kicking and gliding, as your child becomes more comfortable in the water. With patience and practice, you can help your child become a confident swimmer.

Use Toys to Keep it Fun!

Toys are a great way to keep kids interested in swimming and make it fun. Things like water rings, inflatable toys, and other flotation devices can help them move around in the water while they’re learning. However, it’s important to remember that these items are not a substitute for life jackets or other safety devices, and should only be used under adult supervision. Additionally, using toys to teach swimming is a great way to encourage your child to practice their basic swimming movements such as scooping and kicking. Try pairing toys with specific movements and teaching your child to use them. For example, you can have them blow bubbles with their “dolphin toy” or kick their legs with their “clownfish toy”. Games, songs, and other activities can also be used to engage children and make learning fun. Investing in waterproof toys and pool toys is a great way to keep your child engaged and excited about swimming!

Float and Glide Time

Floating and gliding are two essential swimming skills for children to master. Floating is a great starting point for children who are just beginning to get comfortable in the water. To teach your child how to float, start by having them get into a “starfish” position on their front or back. Make sure they keep their arms and legs outstretched and balanced in the water. Once they are comfortable in the position, gently guide them to glide forward or backward in the water. To help them stay afloat, encourage them to use their arms and legs as propellers. After they have mastered floating and gliding, they will be ready to move on to more advanced swimming skills!

Kicking and Stroke Development

Kicking is a fundamental part of swimming and it’s important to teach your child the basics of proper kicking technique. In the front crawl stroke, your child will need to learn how to kick with a bent-leg, flutter kick. This can be achieved by demonstrating the proper technique in front of your child, as well as having them practice kicking in the shallow end of the pool. For breaststroke, your child will need to learn how to properly use a whip kick, which involves quickly and repeatedly extending and flexing their legs. This can be practiced by having them swim short distances on their stomach, using the whip kick to propel them through the water.

Once your child is comfortable with the basics of kicking, you can move onto stroke development. This involves teaching your child the fundamentals of each stroke such as positioning in the water, breath control, arm movements and body rotation. You can practice this with your child in the shallow end of the pool, having them practice each portion of the stroke separately until they’re comfortable with each aspect.

You may also want to consider enrolling your child in group swimming lessons for kids. This will give them a more structured environment to learn and practice the different strokes with an experienced instructor who can guide them through each step. Additionally, these classes will also provide a fun and social atmosphere for your child to interact with other kids who are also learning how to swim.

Invest in Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons are a great way to ensure that your child is getting the best instruction and practice available. Investing in swimming lessons will ensure that your child meets Swim Australia’s learn-to-swim standards and develops their confidence in the water. Private lessons for children aged 3+ years for 30 minutes per week can be expected to result in your child being able to swim in around 6 months. Swimming lessons are beneficial as they make a child drown-proof and can teach them a crucial survival skill that reduces the possibility of a tragic accident. Swimming lessons don’t just teach your children how to swim, they also teach them how to be comfortable around water and provide a safety net if ever needed.

Overcoming Fear of the Water

Learning to swim can be a daunting task for a child, especially if they have a fear of the water. To help your child overcome their fear and become comfortable in the water, start by introducing them to the basics of water safety. Show them how to float on their back, as well as how to move around in the water. After they understand the basics, you can then begin to use games and activities to help them become more comfortable and confident with swimming. Have them practice blowing bubbles underwater, and throwing toys into the pool for them to retrieve. As they become more comfortable in the water, you can gradually progress to deeper areas. With each step, offer words of encouragement and positive reinforcement so they feel secure and safe. Reassurance is key when teaching a child to swim, so make sure to be patient and offer plenty of praise. With practice and patience, your child will eventually become a confident swimmer!

Use Games and Activities to Teach

Swimming is an immensely important skill to have, and it’s never too early to start teaching your child how to swim. However, teaching a child to swim can be quite challenging since it requires a lot of patience and effort. Fortunately, there are several games and activities that can make the process easier and more fun.

One game that can help teach your child to swim is “Talk to the Fishies.” This game involves getting your child to blow bubbles into the water as if they were talking to pretend fish. It’s a great way to build confidence in the water and can be used as a way to introduce them to the water.

Another game is “Catch the Fishies,” which involves having your child practice their motorboat-style front float. You can also play “Red Light, Green Light” in the pool which will help them practice their breath control and learn how to stay afloat.

Finally, you can use toys such as beach balls and bath toys for fun activities like “Blowing Balls” or “Bath Crawl.” These games will help keep your child engaged while teaching them important skills like kicking and stroke development. Plus, they’ll have a blast playing them!

No matter what games and activities you use, the most important thing is to keep it fun so your child will stay motivated and excited about learning.

Reassurance is Key

When teaching a child to swim, it is essential to provide them with the reassurance and security they need. This can be done by providing a one-on-one class with a swim teacher that can give the focused attention required to ensure their safety. It is also important to take a hands-on approach, showing the child how to do things, rather than just telling them. Additionally, key cue words, phrases or question trees should be used to help the child gain confidence in themselves and the water. Parents should also get involved in the activity, getting into the swimming pool with their child and providing them with support. With the right amount of patience and reassurance, your child will be swimming in no time!

Be Patient with Yourself and Your Child

Learning to swim is a gradual process and can take time. It is important to be patient with both yourself and your child as they learn. Don’t expect them to be able to swim confidently after a few lessons; rather, be positive and encourage them to keep practising. If your child feels overwhelmed or scared, take a break and then try again. It can also be helpful to cheer on their successes no matter how small. Celebrate the progress that your child is making, even if it’s simply putting their face in the water for a few seconds. This will help build confidence and give them more motivation to keep swimming.


In conclusion, teaching a child to swim is a rewarding task that requires patience and commitment. Start with basic safety lessons and progress to more advanced swimming skills as your child becomes more confident. With patience and plenty of practice, your child will learn to swim and will have a lifelong skill to enjoy.

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