5 brilliant tips to teach your kids how to swim

1. Talk to the fishies

Practise talking to pretend fishies by getting your child to blow bubbles in the water. Then ask him to put his ear in the water to listen for a response.

2. Catch the fishies

Sit next to your child on the steps in the shallow end, or stand facing each other and ask your little one to try and catch the fishies with their hands. To do this, ask them to perform a front crawl-like arm stroke by reaching the arms up in the air, plunging them into the water, and then pulling the water towards themselves to catch the fishies.

3. Motorboat front float

Securely hold your child under their arms, facing you, and start walking backward into the water. As you pick up a little speed, the water will gently push the child into a front float position. Spin slowly in a circle and chant, “Motorboat, motorboat, go so slow.” Pick up a little speed and say, “Motorboat, motorboat, go so fast.” With the last line “Motorboat, motorboat, step on the gas!” you can either blow bubbles or encourage your child to kick their feet.

4. Red light, green light

Sit next to your child on the shallow steps of the pool. If your child is a little older, they can hold onto the side of the pool, facing the wall. Red light means stop, yellow light means kick slowly, and green light means kick like crazy!

5. Taking the plunge

In the shallow end, crouch two feet away from the wall, and hold your child so they are standing on your knees with your hands supporting his waist. Then ask them to jump off your knees and grab onto the nearby wall. The first few times, they may not actually swim, but use the propulsion from jumping to get to the wall. This technique slowly gets your child used to swimming independently. Let them hang onto the wall for a moment so they can get used to supporting their body weight.

6. Safe swimming

According to the Lifesaving Society, the majority of backyard-pool drowning victims under five were alone when they fell into the pool. This is why it’s so important for parents to provide adequate supervision, and children learn basic swimming skills as early as possible; a child’s ability to paddle two feet and grab on to the wall can potentially save their life.