The basics of swimming can be taught to kids as early as one year old, based on authorities on Pediatrics. Early instruction helps prevent kids from drowning, which is the second leading reason of death among youth under the age of 19. When teaching children how to swim, having realistic expectations is very important, as many kids do not yet have the needed motor skills for swimming. So instead of teaching them breaststroke and diving right away, concentrate on conducting water games and, later on, teach them how to survive emergencies that involve the water. Keep in mind that practical knowledge of the latter results in basic swimming know-how.
Playing in the Water With Your Child
1. Begin in a shallow part of the beach or swimming pool, preferably at a spot where the child still has his head above the water even if he sits down.
2. Sing a few songs you both know and teach him to blow bubbles and splash some water. These activities not only increase his love for the water, but also teach him how to hold his breath under the water.
3. Let the child sit on the poolside and teach him how to kick his feet on the water.
4. Hold the child by the armpit in chest-deep water and drag him as you walk or float backwards. While dragging him along, tell him to kick his feet and dip his head under the water and blow some bubbles.
5. Place some toys at the bottom of shallow water, which the child should pick up. Tell him to blow bubbles when he picks the objects up; this exercise helps him develop an ability to hold his breath underwater.
Teaching Safety and Survival Skills the Right Way
1. Teach him how to float on his belly. Tell him to stretch his limbs to the sides, and while he does so, hold his thighs and belly. At first, he may find this uncomfortable, so keep encouraging him. Once he becomes comfortable doing this, tell him to submerge his face underwater from time to time. Eventually, let go of his belly and thighs so he learns how to float on his own.
2. Once you have taught him the above, you can then proceed to teaching him how to float on his back. Tell him to lean back and rest his head on one of your shoulders. Once he has his head rested on your shoulder, tell him to wave his limbs on the surface of the water while you pull him backwards by the armpit. After a few tries,
3. Once he knows the above ways to float on water without assistance, teach him how to roll from front to back float and vice versa. Rolling is done by moving the left leg and arm under the water until the body changes position.
4. Children normally dislike jumping into the water, although they love swimming. To help him overcome the fear of leaping into the water, sit him at the poolside and pull him into the swimming pool by the armpits. It may take time for him to become comfortable with this, but once he does, demonstrate the fun of jumping into the swimming pool from standing position and let him try it afterwards. Just make sure to let him jump at a depth that allows him to stand comfortably.
5. At this point, he may already have a clue on how to tread the water. To teach him the right way of treading the water, hold him by the underarms and tell him to move his limbs like paddles. Keep doing this until you think he can tread on his own, and even at that point, stay near him in case of injuries or difficulties treading the water to avoid drowning.
Teaching a child swimming basics is no guarantee of safety in and around the water. Even if you believe he already knows how to swim, you should still be nearby and be vigilant in case of drowning and other swimming-related incidents.
Also, make sure to put on him a swim diaper. This not only protects you from embarrassment in case he has an accident, it also protects the chemistry of the pool and other swimmers.
Thirdly, encouraging the child with enthusiasm works wonders and is, therefore, a must. Even kids who are scared of the water will be distracted when you do this. Couple that with letting him use a noodle or board as he gradually transitions to swimming by himself, and your child becomes a capable swimmer in just a short span of time.
Lastly, you can have a high-quality swimming pool set up in your home if you have enough space for one. Not only does your child learn how to swim better this way, a swimming pool gives your house more value and attracts more visitors. Check out different styles of swimming pools here: http://www.premierpools.com.au/pool-styles/.