Editor’s Note: This is the third post in our three-part series focused on teaching children to swim with the SwimWays Swim Steps program. The steps include Swim Step 1: Water Introduction, Swim Step 2: Water Exploration, and Swim Step 3: Swim Training. Swim along with us and teach your child the skills of a lifetime!
They grow up so fast, don’t they? If you’re reading this, your child should have the skills from swim steps 1 and 2 down, and they should be between the ages of 4-6! Here, they’ll begin using kickboards and start to learn paddle-like strokes while wearing flotation devices! Remember, they are still learning, so be sure that you, or another responsible adult continues to be with them and available to help while they are in the water.
There are so many positive effects of teaching your children to swim at an early age. Studies show that children who are taught to swim by the age of 5 have increased confidence, are ahead in their cognitive and physical development and are more likely to have higher IQ’s (due to an early exposure to sensory and motor stimuli in the water). Learning this skill by this age can also help in developing math skills. Finally, better oral expression and social skills are also wonderful benefits of swimming.
During your child’s Swim Step 3 training, they should continue wearing swim training flotation aids like the Sea Squirt Swim Trainer Life Jacket or Power Swimr. These wearable flotation devices help them stay in well-balanced swimming positions and they’re easily adjustable.
These vests help them to use their arms and kick their legs- training them to develop coordination for independent movement in the water.
As your child progresses, and continues to wear the Power Swimr or Sea Squirts Swim Assist Vest, you can begin to take 1 of the 9 flotation pads out at a time.
Make sure you continue to encourage and be patient with them as they are still learning. Also, remind them never to swim without proper supervision.
A great swim training practice is to allow your child to stand where their toes can just touch the bottom of the pool. Then, tell them to try to use their arms and legs to spin around in a circle.
Another great technique is to begin to back away as your child swims (even using the doggie-paddle method) toward you. This gives them the opportunity to control where and how they get around the pool.
Consider signing them up for organized swim lessons. These are great for children (particularly those 4+), as it encourages confidence and can further their love of spending time in the water! The USA Swim Foundation is a great resource for finding swim lessons for your child. Make sure to check with your child’s swim instructor on the requirements for swim training equipment before he or she starts their swimming lessons. Some instructors may require U.S. Coast Guard Approved swim gear such as the Sea Squirts Swim Trainer Life Jackets.
Be sure to take a look at the video on Swim Step 3 training. And don’t forget to use your other resources: Review the American Red Cross water safety checklist and visit our resources page on TeachMeToSwim.com.