Guide for Parents to Teach Swimming

Question:
Is there any step-to-step guide for parents to teach swimming, particularly for kids, say around 7 years of age. Kids seem to always fear venturing out of the shallow. Can you recommend any technique that is recent on teaching swimming to kids of that age?

Answer:
Before winter is totally upon us, there is still time to teach kids how to swim in some southern states, especially Florida. For the rest of us, there are an increasing number of indoor swimming pools throughout the U.S.

Seven is actually a good age to teach a child to swim though children can learn as early as three and some earlier than that. Many experts prefer the child’s muscles and cognitive skills to be more developed and do not recommend trying to teach infants to swim. The idea is to get the child to feel comfortable in the water, to like the water and to lose their natural fear of water. This can be achieved by playing gently with the child and alleviating any possible fears. Tossing balls and helping the child catch, splashing little waves at each other and generally having fun.

All of these “play times” are important for the later teaching of actual swim stroke techniques. The parents should provide the preliminary fun and comfort phase of the training and leave the actual swim technique to a certified professional swim teacher.

The old “Throw the kid in the pool and make him sink or swim,” has been reviled by all the experts. This is the absolute worst thing you can do to a child, most likely creating a lifelong fear of the water.

Check our Health & Fitness Home Page for more health tips on exercise and weight loss and just plain healthy living. And let us know how you’re doing. Good luck.

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