Teaching kids to swim: My favorite suits and floats to stay away from

I am not a parenting expert by any means. In fact, you will probably want to do the opposite of any advice I put up on this site. I let my kid crawl on the airplane floor. I live by the 5 second rule. Oh, and last week Jace threw a fit in the mall, so I plopped him on the ground and let him scream at the top of his lungs in front of everyone.

The one area I do have a ton of knowledge in- swim lessons. My whole family was swimmers and divers. I was a swim instructor for 7 years. My mom was as well.( In fact there’s a funny story about how my parents met as teenagers, but that’s for another day.) My mom actually taught me how to swim across the pool by 18 months old. Granted, I was a rather plump child with had extra boyantcy. Kris swimmingI want to share some of mine and my mom’s advice, and some of our pet peeves. I’m not going to teach your kid how to swim on here. That needs to be hands on. But I will share some of the best swim suits, floats, and techniques to get your kid to love the water.


  • Unknown-1These swimsuits have several floats sewn right into the suit. I recommend this suit over any other type of floatation device. Here’s why: The floats are around the waist, so it allows their arms free to paddle (or as we say “scoop the ice cream”). As your kid get more comfortable in the water, you cut out the floats one by one. It allows you to gradually get your child comfortable swimming on their own.  My mom used this with my sister, and it’s awesome. There’s a couple different brands available on Amazon and on Swim Outlet.


  • Unknown-2My mom and I HATE these things. First off, because they are attached around the arm, the kid isn’t able to use their arms to paddle. Secondly, it teaches your kid to swim vertical instead of horizontal. Yes, it keeps your kid afloat, but it in no way helps them learn to swim.



  • Most people think these are mainly for older kids to retrieve at the bottom of the deep end. But we use these a lot with young kids. Use them on the stairs, just deep enough so they have to get their chin or mouth wet. The idea is to get them comfortable with their face in the water. As they get more comfortable, put the sticks a little lower so they have to put their nose, and eventually entire face in the water,


  • 25487240949376pOur family was very adamant about getting us used to going under the water very early. They dunked us at 6 months old. I don’t want to suggest that without knowing your kid’s temperament. You could also make them scared of the water. But you do want them to get used to water being on their face. You can use water bottles to pour over their head. My friend actually gave me this boat, which fills up with water and pours out. I love this thing.

Most importantly, just get your little ones used to the water early. I’ve taught several older kids (8-12 years old) who were prettified of the water. It very hard to get them comfortable at that age if they’re not used to it. Heck, I’ve even taught adults how to swim. It’s not just a sport. It’s a life-saving skill.

If you have any questions, give me a shout! I’d love to hear your stories about your little ones learning to swim.

30 thoughts on “Teaching kids to swim: My favorite suits and floats to stay away from

  1. Kris, watching you on wbir & reading your stories about letting your son throw fits in the mall or crawl on the plane cracks me up.. I could never ever imagine you doing this. I love reading your blog. 😀 Terrie

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