Heading into the deep end is a rite of passage for new swimmers. Most kids are prepared after six to nine lessons, but if they’re learning without a professional, make sure they know how to tread water, hold their breath, and swim independently (without floaties!) for several minutes, says Javier Gonzalez, swim director at the Anaheim Family YMCA in California.
The scariest part is often diving into the water, rather than the depth itself. Let them try sliding in from a sitting position, stepping in, or even cannon-balling first, Gonzalez recommends. If your kiddo is worried about not being able to stand, remind her that she won’t need to. She already mastered the skills she needs!
With that first jump behind her, your kid can finally focus on the splash instead of the stress. Take her and her friends out to the pool and hold a swim-capades. Have a splash contest, see who can swim the length of the pool the fastest, and rate their underwater-handstands.