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Predicament: Teach a Two-Year-Old to Swim?

by Editorial Team | July 15th, 2013 | Parenting Predicament

little girl waterslideIs a two-year-old too young to learn to swim? My daughter would love to know how and of course I’d feel better if she knew how to swim, but where we live they don’t have lessons for kids that young. Should I try to teach her myself? I’m not sure I could.

  1. Fred Robley says:

    Yes, most 2 year olds are capable of swimming in calm water such as an in ground pool. I found that a calm confident parent is the best teacher. There is a strong bond and trust that overcomes any fear the child might otherwise experience. Warm water ( around 80 degrees F ) and pleasant surroundings
    make for a more enjoyable experience for parent and child. Swimming pool survival classes are taught successfully for parents and infants as young as 6 mths old but these courses focus more on floating than actual swimming. Swimming is the very next step after learning to safely float on his back. A gentle flutter kick and movement of the arms generates movement across the surface of the water. I like to stay in water around chest deep with the baby close to my chest while maintaining continuous eye contact. I can be sure that the child doesn’t have a bad experience with choking or gagging because I always keep his nose and mouth above water level. Swimming is wonderful exercise and very relaxing for both parent and child. I really like the newer wading pools that allow gradual entree ( with a very gentle slope from the edge of the pool towards deeper water. Children can splash and play in the shallow water and they don’t need assistance to exit the water. Enjoy life with your children by teaching them to swim. Time in the water is so important so don’t get in a rush. Be patient and enjoy the journey.
    One additional note: Chubby kids are more buoyant than lean children. Some kids will benefit from a floatation device that prevents them from sinking below the surface. Use only enough floatation to lift the face above the surface. It is not a good idea to lift the entire head and neck above water. Let your child get comfortable with the natural buoyancy of his body. Otherwise, he will likely become anxious when it is time to swim without floatation device.

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