While we can’t overstate the importance of professional swimming lessons tailored specifically to babies and children, there are plenty of fun ways for your little one to learn essential water skills while playing about in the pool.
These simple activities are great practice for your child and help reinforce the skills learnt in their instructor-led lessons. Plus, they make for great playtime for you both!
Talking with the fishes
Take turns talking to imaginary fishes. Have your child duck her head under the water while you blow bubbles, so she can listen to the ‘fishes’, then switch roles – she blows the bubbles while you listen underwater. This will help your little one to learn breathing control and become more comfortable being submerged in water. If you child happens to accidentally swallow some water, try not to panic yourself; reassure them and encourage them to continue with the game – it’s a minor mishap that happens to everyone!
Have your child stand in the shallow end of the pool and ask him to catch as many fishes as he can by plunging his arms into the water and pulling as much water – and imaginary fishes – towards him. This will help develop a strong arm action. Make sure he keeps his fingers together “so the fishes don’t slip through”; this is a good habit to learn. Ask him how many fishes he caught, then have him throw them back in the water with a big splash and try again to catch more fishes!
Hold your child under her arms, with her facing you. Walk backwards through the water so her body floats into a near-horizontal position on her front. Go faster if you like, and spin in a circle. Encourage your little one to kick her feet as you go. This will help her get used to a horizontal swimming position.
Sit your child on the side of the pool. The rules are, when you say, ‘green light’, he kicks the water as fast as he can; ‘yellow light’ means kick slowly and ‘red light’ means stop. This will help him learn kick strength, so he can propel himself through the water using his legs. Make sure he points his toes while kicking – the correct technique for maximum propulsion while swimming.
The Big Leap
In the shallow end, position yourself facing the pool wall, around two feet (60cm) away, and crouch down. Hold your child so she is standing on your knees and facing the pool wall. Have her jump from your knees and grab on to the wall. Let her hang on for a bit so she gets used to supporting her own weight, before you lift her down for another go. Gradually increase your distance from the wall as she gains confidence.
At Swimkidz, we have taught thousands of little ones to swim and become safer around water. Our world-class trained instructors work hard to ensure every moment spent in their lessons is fun-filled and memorable. We explain exactly what we are doing and why, with clear demonstrations; in effect, we are teaching you to teach your little one!
For more information on our dedicated baby and child swimming lesson, including classes near you, please contact us.