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How To Teach a Preschooler To Pump on a Swing

Children as young as four can learn to keep themselves in motion on a swing. That means you'll have to start going to the gym for your upper-body workouts.


  • Step 1: Have your child sit on the swing and pull on its ropes or chains, and lean forward and backward without help from you. This will show them that merely shifting their weight makes the swing move.
  • Step 2: Once they're in motion, describe what they should do. Say, "Hold on tight, reach with your toes as you go forward, and lean back," and, "Bend your knees when you're going backwards."
  • Step 3: If your child isn't getting the hang of it, especially if they are getting frustrated or upset, don't push them. Or rather, do push them – until they are a bit older and ready to try again. Most kids master swinging solo by the time they're five.
  • Step 4: When they seem comfortable manipulating the swing themselves, give them a gentle push from behind to get them started.
  • TIP: If there's an empty swing next to your child, sit on it and demonstrate swinging yourself.
  • Step 5: To help them get the forward motion right, stand in front of them, just out of the swing's range, and tell them to try to touch you with their toes as they lean backward.
  • FACT: Did you know? In 1903, New York City opened the first municipally built playground in the country, so that kids who lived in nearby tenements would have a safe place to play.

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