How can I teach my 2 and 3 year old to start swimming?

Posted on September 29th, 2011
Categories: News

It starts long before you go to the pool.

First teach them how to hold their breath, this can be done playfully during bath time.  Pour a few drops of water on your face as you take a huge breath and hold, then take turns to do the same with your child gently increasing the amount of water.   Use simple phrase like “your turn…. and now Mummy’s turn” or “look what i can do..”  prompts.  Children learn easily when they copy you.


  • take a favourite bath toy with you and encourage your child to chase it across the pool (as you hold them) paddling with their legs and hands.
  • again play the game of holding your breath as you pour water on your face and take turns.  Learning will come easily once they can hold their breath.
  • as the child chases their favourite toy encourage them to paddle with their arms and legs, only move them towards the toy when they do so.
  • holding onto the poolside – very important for safety.   Hold your child under the arms and place them infront of you facing outwards .  Whooosh them towards the wall and encourage them to hold onto the poolside, do this a couple of times and gradually practice climbing out a few times.
  • jumping in – this can be alot of fun.  You can begin by doing a sitting jump where your toddler sits by the side and you gently pull them in, call their name, count 1,2,3,  hold your breath and gently pull them in, because you have by now practised holding breath they should be able to do this without much difficulty.  You can then gradually move towards independent jumping.
  • there are many chidren’s nursery rhymes that you can use to teach your child and make learning fun.  Remember at the end of your session allow your child some free uninterupted play time in the water (keeping a close eye) when they have their own fun playing,  they will look forward to another water session.
  • the session should only last about 30minutes and thats plenty of time.