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Swim Step 3: Teaching Kids to Swim

Editor’s Note: This is the third post in our three-part series focused on teaching kids 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!


After introducing your child to the pool, watching them explore the water and gain confidence, the time has finally arrived to start swim training! You may choose to enroll your child in formal swim lessons right away or begin with some exercises at home or use a combination of both methods for a balanced approach.

At this stage, your child will start testing their limits of what they can do, so it’s important to remember to stay within arms reach of your child and remind them that they should never be in the water without an adult who knows how to swim.

Formal Swim Lessons

If you are going the route of formal swim lessons, a great place to start your search for a swim instructor is using the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Local Partners. Additional swim lesson providers include the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and your local YMCA.

An experienced swim instructor can be an excellent partner in your child’s learning to swim journey, and group classes can help your child gain confidence along with their peers, particularly for children four and older. (Further Reading: Choosing a Formal Swim Instructor by Mario Vittone)

Swim Training Aids

Power SwimrFor teaching kids at home, you may wish to use a flotation aid such as the SwimWays Power Swimr swim vest. (There are differing opinions about the use of flotation aids in swim lessons, so we recommend reading more about this subject before you decide what’s best for your child.)

Power Swimr flotation padsThe SwimWays Power Swimr is a graduated swim trainer that includes 9 removable inner flotation pads inside (5 in the back and 4 in the front.)

As your child gains confidence and skill, remove the pads one at a time to gradually move your child into a proper forward swimming position.

Graduated swim trainers enable your child to learn at his or her own pace. It’s helpful to think of the Power Swimr like training wheels for the pool.

Power Swimr graduated swim training system

Important note: If you are heading to a community pool or club to practice swimming with your child, check to see if there are any restrictions on flotation aids. Some pools require a Coast Guard-approved device such as our Swim Trainer PFD.

Tips from Our Swimming Expert

Watch this video to see some swim training tips in action!

If your kids are learning to swim this summer, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and share your experience with us and other parents! Connect with our Swim Steps ambassadors who are also teaching their kids to swim this summer too.