Learn to Swim with Becca


This reporter taught swimming at Tocaloma Day Camp in Los Angeles this summer as a lifeguard and Counselor in Training.

Drowning is the number one cause of death for kids five and under. It is very important to put your kids into swim lessons at a young age to keep them safe.

Here are the beginning steps of how to teach your kid to swim:

The first step is to get them comfortable in the water. I like to pretend that there are “fishies” in the water, and they put their ears in and try to listen for any fish. Also, I have them blow bubbles and try to get them to put their face in the water for the first time. The most important part is to keep it fun and engaging because the pool can be very scary for your little one.

The next thing we work on is kicks. We hold onto the wall and kick our feet as fast as we can and try to keep our legs as straight as possible because it’ll make us go faster later on. A game I like to play with kids learning how to kick is red light green light: they hold onto the wall, and if I say green light, they kick as fast as they can; yellow light, they kick slowly; and red light, they stop. I also like to add purple light, which is an underwater dance party.  All the kids love that one. 

After that, we work on glides. They put their hands together and squeeze their arms into their ears. Then they push off the wall and glide out to me. When they master that, we add kicks to the glides and see how far they can go. To make it more fun for the kids, I call them mermaid- or superman-glides and they pretend they are a mermaid or a superhero when they glide out to me.

One of the final things I do with the kids is work on the freestyle stroke. For them, though, I call them ice cream scoopers. They put both hands on the wall and pretend to scoop ice cream and plop it onto the edge of the pool. During this time I ask what their favorite ice cream flavor is and pretend to eat the ice cream afterwards. After they master freestyle on the wall, it’s time for them to swim out to me with their ice cream scoopers. Here is where we combine all the skills together. They have to glide off the wall with powerful kicks and then go into their big ice cream scoopers all the way to me.

Make swimming lessons fun and engaging for your little one. Just adding a little imagination will go a long way and your child will learn to love the water. Learning to swim can take a lot of time, so make sure it’s fun so that your child will want to swim forever and not give up.

If you know someone who does not know how to swim, encourage them to take swim lessons as soon as possible and prevent children and adolescents from the 900 deaths a year from drowning.