4 to 5 Years
Now that your child is developing the coordination necessary to learn to swim by herself, you can enroll her in formal swimming lessons. If she doesn't have much experience in the water, look for a program that helps her get comfortable. You may be able to take part in her first class to make the transition easier for her. In the shallow water, she should be able to learn how to float independently, submerge her head under the water for five to ten seconds, go from a standing to a swimming position without assistance, glide through the water, and use coordinated kicking and arm movements. She should learn water safety as well as water skills.
- Even though you don't have to hold your child, you or the instructor should practice "reach supervision" by being in the water and within reaching distance.
- Be patient. Your child may be a fish one day and afraid of the water the next. Don't force her to do an activity until she's ready.
- Make sure your pool has the deep and shallow ends marked. A lifeline separating the two ends is a good idea.
- Never assume another adult is watching, even if a lifeguard is present.
- Some children hate to get their face wet. Practice at home by encouraging her to put her head under the shower spray.