When it comes to swimming, there are a few simple things to keep in mind to ensure a successful learning process. One important factor which deters many people from learning to swim is fear. Emotions can have a significant effect on a child’s (or adult’s) ability to learn. If you or your child is especially fearful, try spending time in the water in a positive setting such as pool playtime, or just relaxing on the steps with a cool drink. Children should NEVER be thrown into a pool or forced under the water. Such an experience can be deeply scarring and may put a damper on his/her will to learn to swim in the future. In fact, pressuring a fearful child may lead to regression rather than progress.
Once you are ready to learn, begin slowly by exploring the water – its buoyancy, resistance, and overall feel. Try holding onto the side and lifting your feet away from the bottom to get a sense of your flotation capabilities. You may choose to practice kicking at this point. Keeping your face close to (or in!) the water with eyes looking down, allow your legs to float up behind you. When they have floated to the surface, begin your kick by pushing downwards through the water with the tops of your feet. Remember: excessive splashing does not equate to a powerful kick.
If you are prepared to get moving through the water, begin by floating with your face in the water. Always keep in mind that body position has a significant effect on your ability to float and swim comfortably. Think of the human body as a see-saw in the water: when your head comes up, your feet go down and vice versa. Thus, if you want your legs to propel you through the water properly, you will need to lower your head (that includes your face!) into the water and look directly towards the bottom of the pool. Stay shallow as you practice so that you can easily stand up to rest.
Hopefully, with these simple tips, you will be confident enough to take up the task of learning to swim. Good luck and happy swimming!