Teaching Swimming To Toddlers: When Do You Teach Dog Paddle?

Teaching Swimming To Toddlers And Dog Paddle?

Question:
Do you think the dog paddle is a good, basic beginner stroke for teaching swimming to toddlers?

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Someone commented recently: "when I learned to swim, I was taught to dog paddle first. After that, it was pretty easy to learn the other strokes. I have seen too many people who learned the freestyle stroke first and they fight the water and have no endurance. The dog paddle teaches you to stay up without getting exhausted".

Most swim teachers would agree now days that it depends on how old you start to learn to swim.

A Very Useful Thing Up To The Age Of 3

Teaching dog paddle is a very useful thing up to the age of 3 (some would say up to 5 years old) as that is well within the limits if a child's physical development to that age. After the age of about 3 years old children are developing enough strength and dexterity to be able to begin stroke like actions and by the time they are 5 in most case are more than capable of doing full swimming strokes.


Therefore it seems that it is best to teach dog paddle to children up to the age of between 3 to 5 years of age and after that age teach them to do proper stroking action. Always remembering that until a child reaches that age of 5 their stoke is only going to resemble the correct action. Personally I rarely teach a child over 3 Dog paddle.

In answer to the comment, "I have seen too many people who learned the freestyle stroke first and they fight the water and have no endurance. The dog paddle teaches you to stay up without getting exhausted", I would never teach freestyle in isolation but as part of a set of strokes.


Image of a dog swimming in the water: Is teaching dog paddle teaching swimming to toddlers?
Is What's Good For Dogs Good For Toddles

First It Would Be Floating On The Front

If it could be said that I teach anything first it would be floating on the front, as in torpedo and on the back, followed by backstroke because you don't have to worry about learning to breath.

The biggest cause of people struggling in their swimming (or fighting the water) is that they have not been taught how to work with the water. The credit given to dog paddle may have more to do with your sense comfort in the water not the actual dog paddle.

The reality is that for someone over the age of 5 you could have taught them to swim using a variety of full strokes in way less time than the student could learn dog paddle if they were taught properly.

Enjoy
   Richard




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