Learning to swim is an important life skill. Not only is it great for health and fitness, but it is a great way for young children to make new friends, pick up social skills, and burn off pent-up energy. On a more serious note, the ability to swim may one day save their life.

Many parents these days are choosing to introduce their children to the water at a very early age; classes now start from birth, where babies are taught lifesaving skills like floating and holding their breath underwater. However, most parents decide to begin swimming lessons when their child is slightly older, often once their little one has started school as it is a great after school activity. Here are some great tips for parents who are about to take the plunge with their little one.

Take it Slow

All children learn in different ways, and some are more confident than others when taking to the water. If your child is apprehensive or reluctant, take a step back and try to see things through their eyes. The swimming pool is a daunting place with lots of strange people and loud noises, not to mention the deep water. Rather than losing your temper or forcing your child to enter the water, encourage them. Why not sit on the side and dangle your feet in the water with them to overcome the initial fear? Let them ride on your back if they are uncomfortable once in the water, and always reassure them that you are there if they need you.

Make it Fun

As with most activities, children are much more likely to enjoy themselves if you can make it a fun experience. The last thing you want is for your child to associate the pool with being unhappy or frightened. Play with them, make up games, let them splash you, whatever it takes to make them laugh. You could bring fun floatation devices or pick out lovely swimming costumes so that they are excited about putting them to use.

Pick a Good Swimming Class

It is a good idea to enrol your kids into a swimming class where they will learn different strokes, skills and build up their strength. Classes teach them to swim longer distances, and they will meet lots of youngsters of similar age and ability, and make new friends.

Swimming will bring hours of joy and pleasure throughout a person’s life. Can you imagine holidaying by the seaside without taking a dip in the waves? Or relaxing by the pool in the sunshine without being able to take a refreshing swim to cool down? Learning to swim at a young age means that these pleasures can be enjoyed all the more. A family holiday will be more fun for everyone if you can relax safe in the knowledge that your children are having an enjoyable, and safe, time in the pool.