Swimming lessons aren't just a good idea to teach your child to swim. It's a great way to introduce the importance of exercise, a wonderful way to bond and have fun with your child, in addition to giving your child confidence to be around water. Swim lessons are something your child will use and remember throughout their entire lives. There are several things you can do at home to help your child learn to swim when they aren't at their lesson. See below for helpful tips to help teach your toddler to swim.
Begin warming your toddler up to the water by just holding him in your arms and gently swaying him back and forth to feel the movement of the water. You don't want to jump in and start him swimming right away. Acclimate him to the water first. Pour water onto his legs, back, and arms and make it a relaxing and fun experience. If your child begins to get overly clingy or frightened, move to a shallow area of the water (if possible) and allow your child to play there. Try to move him out again to deeper waters (with you holding him) when he gets used to the water a little more.
Have your child (with you holding him) blow bubbles in the water by putting his mouth in the water and blowing out. If your child is fine with blowing bubbles in the water, try taking it a step further to see if he will put his entire face into the water. You can try to see if he can open his eyes under the water to make it a little more fun. You can go under the water and look at your child as well.
Kicking can be fun, as your child will love to kick up the water and splash. Teach your child to flutter kick both feet and legs. Try teaching this both laying on his stomach and flipped over on his back. Simply hold your child's mid-section and upper body so they stay up on top of the water and keep a horizontal form. Later when your child can hold himself up, you can have him hold onto the side of the pool and practice kicking themselves.
Just as with kicking, paddling your arms while swimming is just as important. Teach your child to paddle his arms while holding him in a horizontal position. Show him how to move his arms into the water one at a time with cupped hands, moving them down towards the pool floor, then back and around to the starting position. Once your child becomes more comfortable, he can practice this himself while wearing a life vest or arm floats.
Teaching your child to swim is important and can be life-saving. Don't be too pushy so you don't scare your child, take it slow and follow your child's cues—if your child is too frightened, back off. If your child is getting very comfortable in the water, move forward and teach them more. Ask your child's swim instructor about other tips to help teach your child other swimming lessons at home.