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Swimming is a great life skill that every child should learn. If you are not confident in the water yourself, see if you can find a local swimming class for your child. The most important thing is that your child enjoys being in water, and learns what is safe and what is not. They will learn to never swim alone, to always check the depth, and to know their limitations.
If you are comfortable in water yourself, head to your local swimming pool together. Use floats at first - either a blow up float on each arm or foam "noodles" - so that your child can enjoy the fun of splashing about without fear of sinking. Make up games, like trying to reach a floating ball that you throw, and be there to support your child under the arms if they need reassurance.
Show them how to move themselves forward in the water by moving their arms and legs. Play "talk to the fishes" and blow bubbles in the water so that they get used to the feeling of putting their head in water. As they become more confident let them try to swim small distances in shallow water without their floats. This Youtube video from Puddle Ducks shows you one way of teaching your child with what they call "woggles" but are mostly known as "noodles".
Here are some tips from Water Safety Ireland.
One of the ways children learn is through play. A child who is playing is refining learning skills that continue to develop during childhood and beyond. "Pretend play" is important for developing your child's language skills. Children make up their own games, but playing games with others helps their concentration and social skills. Play can also help to show what children know and understand.
Spending time playing with your child is a great way of helping them learn. Games like "Simon says" and "One, two, three red lights" are great fun. There are lots of activities you can do like playing card games or board games when you can have a quiet time together. Your child can learn the rules by watching a dry run first. Then you can play for real. An important thing to learn is that you don't always win. It can be good for young children to win, to give them confidence but learning to lose is important too. There will be many times in life when you don't win and learning to cope with that is a good life skill you can teach your child too.
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