Teach Your Child to Swim

2 to 3 Years

Lessons

Your curious tot will be more active in the water -- though he will definitely still need you or another adult to hold him. In your pool or swimming program, play fun games that require him to move his arms (throw a ball across the pool and have him reach for it, for example), kick his legs, and float supported on his stomach or back. Show him how to blow bubbles in the water so he'll learn to get his face wet without swallowing water. By the time he's 3, he may be able to do many of these things with little help from you.

Safety Savvy

  • Your toddler may now feel so comfortable in the water that he thinks he can swim by himself. Don't leave him alone, even for a minute. He needs constant adult supervision around water.
  • Make sure the pool gate is always closed and the lock is out of reach.
  • Stress basic pool safety, like not running near the pool and only going into the water with Mommy or Daddy.
  • Avoid water wings, air-filled swimsuits, and inflatable flotation toys. He'll sink if they deflate, and they may give him -- and you -- a false sense of security. If you want to use a flotation device, buy a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Don't leave toys in the pool after he gets out. He may be tempted to reach for them.

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