My girls love going swimming with my mom. They proudly tell anyone that Grandma is a lifeguard. She’s also a certified aquafit teacher, instructor trainer, Red Cross consultant, and the head of swim programs at her pool. She knows how to have fun in the water and she helps kids have fun there too. So I asked her to share her tips for how to help your child love swimming too.
Start in the bathtub and make bath time fun. Fill the tub with more water—nipple deep for a child sitting in the tub, allow them to splash, pour water, play with toys.
Don’t be afraid to pour water over your child’s head. Help them learn to blow bubbles. Help them float in the tub on their back and their tummy.
Take them to a pool and play. It doesn’t have to be a swim lesson. Have them walk, hop, jump, skip, forward, backward and sideways through the water. If they fall over, help them get back up and praise them for doing good—ask them if they saw any fish, don’t make it a big thing.
Splash water, play with toys, encourage them to go under water. It’s great to have tea parties on the bottom of the pool. Let them scream underwater or shout their name as loud as they can. Have them hum a tune and listen to your tune.
Remember to stay within arms reach all the time, and focus on your child and their fun. Kids learn by example so if you’re not prepared to get wet and have fun, they won’t be either (so don’t do your hair and make up just before going to the pool).
Stifle your own fears, and figure out why you have them, and don’t let your fear hinder your child. Don’t impose restrictions on your child because of your fear. Keep them safe, but don’t stifle.
What have you done to help your child love swimming?