Teach your kids to swim on holiday

A hotel pool is one of the best places to teach your child to swim – especially if they have a kids’ swimming pool. Read our handy guide to teaching your kids to swim on holiday and watch them go!

Being on holiday is a great time to teach your kids to swim. The water is warm, everyone is relaxed and you have all the time in the world to devote to your children and improving their ability in the pool.

For your child, having swimming lessons on holiday is far less daunting than in the local pool. There are a lot more kids around, the pools are generally smaller and less deep, and they can go in and out as many times as they like. It’s no wonder many children come back from holiday full of confidence in the water.

So regard your summer break as a fantastic opportunity to give your child some one-to-one swimming lessons and help them get a head start in the kids’ swimming pool when they continue back home.

When can you start swimming lessons for children?

This is a constant source of debate among parents and swimming experts, and for every parent that waits until their child is four years old to start lessons, there’s another that will be introducing theirs to the water at four weeks.

Generally speaking, if you are teaching your child to swim, you should start between the ages of two and three. There’s no harm in introducing your baby to the water earlier – indeed, it can help increase their confidence when they begin more formal lessons – but make sure you hold them securely above the water at all times.

Swimming aids

If you are thinking about giving your infant or toddler swimming lessons for the first time, they will need a buoyancy aid. Armbands are good, both while your child is in the water and as an extra safety precaution when wandering around the poolside.

However, for teaching a child to swim, noodles are fantastic. The long cylindrical floats are ideal for supporting a child’s body while giving them the space to move their arms and legs. The best way to use a noodle is to curve it into a semi-circle and place it under each of your child’s armpits so the two ends stick out above the water.

Building up confidence in the water

One of the first hurdles to get over in most kids swimming classes is getting them to put their face in the water. One of the best ways of doing this is to play a game, such as blowing out the candles. After telling them to take a deep breath above the water and hold it, tell them to go underwater and blow out the candles of a huge birthday cake.

What will help at this stage is a good pair of goggles, both for your child and yourself. Once your child is happy to put their face in the water, you can then progress to going completely underwater, with you going down with them. You can be holding hands to begin with, then go on to submerging and letting go. Eye contact provides reassurance for your child that they are safe and you are close by.

Start swimming

Once your children can swim short distances with their face in the water, it’s time to hone their technique so they can go further. The first stage is to concentrate on the leg kick, so get them to hold a float in front of them with both hands, then start kicking. Encourage them to put their face in the water as they kick and blow bubbles into the water.

Once they are confident in their kicking, introduce the arm rotations. Start with one arm, the other holding the float, and encourage them to keep the rotating arm straight. Then switch arms and work on getting the other arm as good as the first. Remember to give plenty of praise at every stage.

Finally, if you are happy they can do each individual movement well, take away the float and get them to put the whole stroke together. At all stages, remember to show them how to do it first. Seeing you put the complete stroke together will encourage them to stick at it and keep practicing.

Make it fun!

Like most learning, it’s always more effective when it’s fun, so play plenty of games in the water in between lessons. Water races and games such as ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’ will keep your kids entertained for hours, and reinforce the lessons and techniques you have been teaching them.

Of course, one of the most popular kids’ games is hunting for treasure, where you drop some goggles or toys into the pool and get your child to find them. Swimming through inflatable rings, mermaid races and pretending to be a starfish by floating on your back, arms and legs out, are also great games to increase confidence in the water.

Now you have the skills to start teaching your kids to swim, all you need is a great pool. Fortunately, we have loads of them. Pick a fantastic location from one of Club Med’s all-inclusive resorts

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