Kids love to swim and wherever there is water, you'll find children playing and splashing. But what should you think about when you’re near water with your children? We spoke with Swimming Instructor Anna Nordström and got some helpful tips on swimming techniques and water safety.
Why is it so important that children learn to swim?
Being able to swim is essential because it enables people to survive in water. You can’t underestimate the importance of water experience and swimming skills. If you can’t swim or aren’t used to being in the water, it can be very distressing if you involuntarily end up underwater.
Can a parent teach a child to swim?
Absolutely! The earlier the better. Start practising swimming techniques in the pre-school years. Remember to keep it fun and on your child’s terms – no pressure. Show them how you do it and then repeat as many times as is necessary. Swimming skills have to be practiced over and over again. In the beginning, it can feel hopeless for children who can’t manage certain movements easily. After a while, everything comes together and when it does, it sticks! It is very important to remember that if your child gets tired of an exercise, accept it and try something else. In the end, it’s all about enabling your child to feel comfortable in the water.
Do you have any tips on exercises?
If you teach breaststroke, go over the leg movements and the arm movements separately. Breaststroke demands a lot of coordination and it can be a good idea to try out the movements on land.
You can explain the arm movements as a “heart”. Starting at your own heart, make a heart shape straight down toward your stomach. Remember to keep your fingers together like a paddle.
The easiest way to practice the leg movements is by sitting on your bottom on land. Pull your legs up parallel to your stomach and then slowly pull them around in a circle, like a frog. Repeat over and over.
Water safety – is there anything special you should think about, on the beach or at the pool?
Water safety is something everyone must know and it’s very important that every child learns these rules:
- Always swim with someone else.
- Always tell someone where you will be swimming.
- Never push anyone in the water (even if you can swim, you can’t be sure that your friend feels as comfortable in the water).
- Never hold anyone down under the water.
- Never jump or dive in unknown water – it may be shallower than you think or there may be rocks underwater.
- Don’t swim under bridges or diving boards.
- Swim along the edge of the water.
- Don’t run on bridges or edges of pools – these are often very slippery.
- Remember that inflatable toys are not flotation devices. Avoid playing with these in open water.
- Always call for help if you or anyone else is in danger.
We thank swimming instructor Anna Nordström for her advice and wish you all a safe and fun swimming summer!