Learning to Swim

Main Image

The summer holidays are over but it's not too late to start helping your kids to swim. After swimming have a refreshing glass of Sunny-D!

Swimming is a fun activity for the whole family that you can do at any time of year. It's great for general fitness and health. It's low-impact which is good for avoiding injuries, and helps improve posture, coordination, and flexibility.

Many children learn to swim at school or by going to swimming lessons at their pool. Some councils offer free classes so ask at your local leisure centre. By following these simple tips you can help your child learn as quickly as possible. Next summer they'll be splashing around alone!

Get your child used to the water

The aim is to make your child comfortable and confident in the water. Get in together at the shallow end and splash around. Arm bands (water wings) will give your child independence in the water, but he should stop wearing them when he gains confidence. Make a game of learning to kick in the water by holding onto the side and stretching out your legs, then tell your child to kick her legs like a crocodile's jaws. Put your faces under water and blow to make bubbles. Get him to say something underwater and see if you can understand it. This is great to do in the bath as well.

Make the water fun, not scary

Never throw your child into the water to teach her to swim 'naturally'. This can be a terrifying experience and may put your child off swimming for ever. Don't force your child into the water if they don't want to go. Let them get used to it at their own pace. Be calm and quiet around water. Don't shout at your child, even if it's encouragement.

Swimming Rules

Make sure your child knows these basic safety rules:

1. Never go near or in the water without an adult.

2. Don't dive or jump into the water unless you know how deep it is.

3. Don't run near the edge of the pool.

4. Always do what the lifeguard tells you.

After Swimming

Children get cold a lot faster than adults. So keep an eye on your child and if they are going blue around the lips it's time to get out of the water!

Give them something to eat. They'll be hungry and thirsty so make sure you keep them hydrated. They'll also be tired, as swimming requires a lot of energy.

Sunny-D is great to drink after sport. My Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function.

Get into the habit of drying inside your child's ears. Show him how to tilt his head from side to side to drain out any water. It's easy to pick up an ear infection from swimming if water is left behind.

Remember how excited you were when your child took his or her first steps? Seeing your child swim alone for the first time is just as thrilling, and you know that you are teaching them a skill that they will have for life.