SOURCE: Author Rita Goldberg

Author Rita Goldberg

June 30, 2011 12:27 ET

Tips for Teaching Kids to Swim

Swimming Educator Reveals Kids Can Survive

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - Jun 30, 2011) - Rita Goldberg can't believe some people teach kids to swim by proverbially throwing them in the water to see if they sink or swim instinctively.

"Many parents and some traumatic swim programs still use that ancient and ridiculous method of introducing children to swimming by throwing them into the water without any knowledge about swimming whatsoever -- and all they're doing is teaching their children how to be terrified of the water," said Goldberg, a former national swimmer in Great Britain, owner of a swimming school and author of the children's book "I Love to Swim" (www.ilovetoswimthebook.com). "These advocates claim they are teaching survival, but I believe teaching survival can be -- and should be -- gentle and fun."

Goldberg's tips for teaching kids to swim include:

  • Start Young - New studies show that the best age to teach a child to swim is between the ages of six and twelve months. Just as parents are learning this is a good time to teach children how to read, they are beginning to understand this is a time when children are able to absorb information like sponges. Teaching them to swim at this early age is a great way to make swimming second nature to them.
  • Float to Survive - Focus on giving your child the best lifesaving tool you could offer them -- the ability to survive in the water. The first thing I teach children is the ability to float on their backs. This is the most important survival skill of all. This enables all swimmers to rest, breathe and call for help, thus alleviating the "silent" danger of floating face down.
  • Gentle and Fun - Swimming will come more naturally to children who are taught gently, without trauma, and with a sense of fun. Parents see the swimming pool as a potential death trap for their kids, but all kids see is a big, wet playground. You're not going to change their opinion, so stop trying. Focus on calm, gentle fun, and your kids will take to their lessons like fish to water.

About Rita Goldberg

Before opening her British Swim School locations in the USA, Rita Goldberg was a national swimmer in Britain, who became a dedicated teacher. Working in the education system for many years, she left in 1981 to open her swim school.

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