You know you want your child to know how to swim—this is an essential life skill and will help you feel more confident in your child’s safety and enjoyment around water. However, you may now know what “swim lessons” should look like. Here are a few basic things that you should expect out of your child’s lessons.

Water Safety

Swimming lessons should teach children water safety as a fundamental principle that will give them a foundation from which to build on to keep themselves safe around water. These precautions include things like never running around a pool, staying in areas where they are able to touch the bottom (at least until they are very strong swimmers) and being near walls when they do venture into deeper water, and making sure an adult is aware of them when they are in and out of the pool. Also, to never dive headfirst into shallow water! These are all things that kids may find fun and exciting, but emphasize their safety and the reasons why those things can be dangerous so that they aren’t tempted to try them anyway!

How to Float

The most important thing for your child to be able to do is keep their head above water. This means they need to be able to kick to the surface after completely submerged, flip onto their backs, and maintain the proper position to allow them to float for an extended period of time. This will (likely) not happen on the first go; teachers should work up to this by taking it a step at a time and emphasizing repetition to make the steps natural responses. It takes a good amount of practice and a lot of encouragement, especially for nervous children.

Basic Strokes

Once your child can float comfortably, they need to be able to move around in the water purposefully. They should start with the most basic and uncomplicated strokes that will just get them to the edge of the pool so they can grab the wall and rest. Teachers may have creative ways of describing the motions of these strokes, which should be memorable and easy for the children to understand. As your child grasps these, they can add elements of technique to their strokes until they are strong and confident swimmers.

These are the most basic and essential points for your children to learn in their first swim lessons. Be patient with their progress and encourage them to work hard, rewarding them for their success. They (and you) will feel confident in their abilities once these basics are grasped.

Ready to take your kids to the pool? Check out these water safety tips before you go.