Spending time at the swimming pool is one of the best parts of the summer, but if your kids don’t know how to swim on their own, they can’t make the most out of time at the pool.
Not to mention the fact that you’re not free to relax as long as you have to keep the little ones afloat.
If you spend time at a community pool, swim lessons are essential. If you have a pool on your property, they are absolutely necessary to keep everyone in your home safe.
Set up some swim lessons before summer is in full swing to make sure everyone’s skills are up to par! This will help put your mind at ease and give you an idea of your child’s confidence level in the water.
It also doesn’t take a whole lot of work to reinforce those swim lessons on your own. With just a few simple techniques, you can have all your little ones swimming like pros in no time.
Let’s run through a few games that will reinforce those swimming lessons and help improve their confidence in the pool. Remember, keeping these activities fun will help the lessons learned stick!
1) Get Wet
The first and most important part of swim lessons is to get familiar with the water, so give your kids some time to get their feet wet.
Either hold the children in your hands or put them in flotation gear to allow them to feel how the water moves around them. You want to go slow on this stage and get a sense for how comfortable your child feels.
Swim lessons can be scary for some kids, so showing them there’s nothing to fear is a big part of the process.
2) Blow Bubbles
Once your little or newbie swimmers are comfortable in the water, it’s time to acquaint them with the basic practice of holding their breath. Have your child get in the pool with both hands on the wall.
They can then practice placing their face in the water and blowing bubbles through their nose for as long as they can. It’s a simple exercise, but it allows your child to feel what it’s like to temporarily stop them from breathing in, and that’s what they’ll need to do in the water.
Once your child masters blowing bubbles, it’s time to get them off the wall. Take time to have them float in a few different positions. Start with their face up, resting on your hand at first, and then supporting themselves.
Then move to floating face down while holding on to a kick board. Challenge your swimmer to float with their face in the water while blowing bubbles for as long as they can. The goal is to get used to the horizontal body position they’ll use when swimming.
4) Kicking Contest
As your littles get more comfortable floating and holding their breath, it’s time to build their stroke one piece at a time. We’ll start with the kick. Have your child do their best to tread water.
This exercise is great because most children will instinctually do the kind of frog kick we want them to learn (to see good examples of the kick we’re looking for, find videos of breaststroke swimmers).
Once your child learns to tread water, have them grab onto the kick board and practice moving themselves around with just their legs. All of a sudden, you’ll have a mobile swimmer on your hands.
5) Superhero Glide
What child doesn’t love pretending to be a superhero? One your littles have mastered the art of holding their breath underwater, have a fun competition of seeing who can glide across the pool the farthest!
To do the superhero glide, have your child grab onto the wall of the pool and then push off with their legs, holding their hands above their head like Superman does.
6) Maneuvering Through the Water
Moving through the water while holding your breath can be one of the hardest skills for your child to learn. There’s resistance while trying to paddle your arms, changing directions, losing and gaining momentum, all while trying not to get water up their nose.
Try using dive sticks, pennies, or other items that can sink to help your new swimmers practice holding their breath along with all the techniques mentioned above.
7) Little Swimmer’s Practice
Once your child is confident holding their breath and kicking at the same time, they’re ready to take on their first stroke. Start by showing your child the front crawl stroke. The hand enters the water straight in front of the head, pulls down to the hip, and then exits the water to the recovery.
When your swimmer is ready, do some assisted swimming. Have them lay out horizontally and support them in the water by placing your hand under their stomach. Your child will be able to comfortably work on their stroke without sinking.
It can take some time to get the hang of coordinating the stroke and the kick, but once they can create enough momentum to keep themselves afloat as they swim, they’re good to go! Let them push off the wall and try the whole thing for themselves.
Don’t expect things to be perfect right away, but with some practice and patience, you’ll have a beginner swimmer on your hands.
Remember to Have Fun!
As you work on swim lessons, remember to take your time and allow your child to learn at their own pace. The most important thing is that they learn these skills and end up feeling safe in the water. Make sure to talk to your child about how they felt each lesson went.
Often, swim lessons are a chance to teach your children about safely facing their fears, so be sure to understand what’s going on in their head and what you can do to help them. With some time and some patience, your child will come to love their time in the pool.