4 Simple Steps To Teaching Your Toddlers How To Float

4 Simple Steps To Teaching Your Toddlers How To Float

Disclaimer: As a SwimWays SwimSteps Ambassador, I was given products for this review. However, as a mother I completely stand by my thoughts and opinion in regards to SwimWays products. 

As a mother, child safety in and around the water is extremely important. Every time I hear a story about a child drowning, I want to lock Little J in her room and forbid her to go near a pool. But realistically I know that's not the answer. Truth be told, the best way to prevent your children from drowning is to help teach them how to swim at a young age. Recently we have seriously stepped up our efforts to teach Little J how to swim. Luckily, my friends at SwimWays have helped us along the way. 

For the next few months I'll be discussing water safety and sharing different tips and tricks on how to help encourage your toddlers to swim. This particular post will be centered around phase one of our swimming journey, floating. 

We started Little J off by teaching her how to lie flat on her back on the ground. Parents of small children know that this alone can be quite an accomplishment. Once she felt comfortable lying still on her back, we moved to the tub. We spent a few minutes each day for about a week helping her become more comfortable lying on her back in the tub (without splashing, another huge accomplishment for a toddler). Once she felt comfortable, we packed up our gear and headed to the pool. 

After tying (unsuccessfully) to help Little J feel comfortable enough to lie back in my arms in the pool, we decided that the next day we would put her in her swim vest to help her overcome her fears. And it worked like a charm! It gave Little J the confidence she needed to lie back while also alleviating my fears. 

The next trip to the pool went much smoother. We started off by letting her get comfortable with floating on her stomach before we moved on to floating on the back. Though we're not officially out of the floating stage, she has improved significantly since her first attempt, we plan on taking weekly trips to the pool until she is. We're one step closer to keeping our daughter safe in the water. And as a mother, that is an incredibly satisfying feeling. 

Now that you've read about our adventures in floating, here's a quick refresher on teaching your toddlers how to float. 

People often assume that floating is a basic instinct, that it comes naturally, however, in reality, it can take tons of practice, even for adults. For children, it can be especially difficult since they are less buoyant and often times less comfortable in the water. 

1. Swim coaches often times recommend having your children lie down flat on their back on the ground first so that they know how to position their bodies without having to worry about the water. 

2. Once they feel comfortable practicing the floating position on the ground, try putting them in the bathtub, this will help them to prepare for the pool. Once you've conquered both the ground, and the bathtub, it's time to move onto the pool. 

3. As we found out with Little J, putting your child in a swim vest can help to alleviate their fears of sinking. This also allows them to learn how to properly balance their bodies so that they stay afloat once the vest comes off. 

4. Allow your child to become comfortable at his or her own pace. Rushing them can lead them to develop a fear of the water. Let them learn at their own speed. 

Want more useful swim tips, be sure to tune in later this month for phase two of our swimming journey! 

Until next time,


  1. All really good tips! It is so important to teach our children to swim...every year we have drownings in the lake near our home and most of the time they are people (kids and adults) who weren't strong swimmers. It makes me incredibly sad when I hear of it happening. Recently I read how teaching your child to float can really help prevent drownings. Great information Reese and even though my kids are older and all know how to float and swim, I will pass this along. It's important for people to see.

    1. Thank you, and yes, it is super important! My sister and I didn't learn how to swim until we were about 10. Neither of my parents knew how to swim, so I'm happy that they encouraged us to learn. We want to break the cycle with Little J and have her swimming by four.

      And yes, something a simple as floating can prevent drownings. My mind was blown when I saw this video of a 6 month old baby floating. Amazing huh? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0mUPr68x2U

      Thanks for stopping by Michelle!

  2. It's so important to start teaching water safety and swimming techniques at an early age even you don't have a pool. You just never know when your children are going to be around water and something as simple as knowing how to float and not panic in the water can save their lives. We've been taking trips to the pool and working on getting both kids comfortable with the water. JJ has taken to it like a natural, but Moo is still a bit weary and holds down the pool steps. We'll keep trying though. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, the important thing is to keep trying! It took me a while to get over my fear of water as a kid, now as an adult, one of my favorite exercises is swimming laps. I've even swam in open water for a competition (back in my younger days) Moo will be ready in no time!

  3. I just play in the pool on the weekends and we spend the whole day there. It's absolutely a blast and a great workout!! -Playing was how I learned to swim!

    Not to mention a place to meet some new friends!


    1. Hi Kim,

      I agree, it is a blast and an amazing full-body workout! We just took her to the pool again this weekend and she's improved since last week. We're hoping to have her floating by the end of next month! I'll keep you guys updated.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading!


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