My 4 year old daughter started swimming lessons this week. Listening to the instructor, I’ve picked up on a few great swimming tips for kids! Hope these help your little one learn to swim with the best of them!
Let Them Get Use to the Water First: If you have a child that is apprehensive in and around the water, let them dangle their legs, hold onto your neck or stay in the shallow end, until they feel more confident. Teaching a child appropriate swimming techniques only works if they are feeling ready.
Keep Their Legs Straight: Kids have a tendency to bend their knees when they are kicking. Trying to reinforce straight legs while kicking, will help them swim more efficiently. If they are having difficulty kicking their legs straight, you can hold their legs and gently move them up and down emphasizing that the kick comes from the hips with nice straight legs.
Ice Cream Scoop Hands: Kids love to feel the water through their fingers. But when doing a stroke, it is best for the hands to be ‘cupped’ with fingers together. My daughter’s swim instructor told them to pretend their hands were ice cream scoopers, scooping the ice cream in the water.
Blowing Bubbles & Breathing: Some kids have a fear of putting their mouths in the water. For those children, putting a ping pong ball or a foam animal on the water and asking them to blow it away, can be a beginning step to bubbles. Once they feel safe enough to put their mouths in the water, blowing bubbles is a great exercise. Blowing bubbles in the water can increase their water confidence. Once they’ve mastered bubbles, teaching them to put their face in the water and teaching them to breath every 2nd stroke, will help them with their swimming form.
Treading Water: Being able to keep your head above water is essential for anyone – child or adult – when in the water. When first learning to tread, children have a tendency to move their limbs quickly which leads to them tiring easily. Teaching the child to slow down their movements is important. Work towards teaching them to move both legs at the same time – alternating movements with one foot forward and the other foot is back. Just like with slow movements, teaching them to breath slowly will help them not tire too easily.
Have Fun! Babies and children learn through play (well, even us adults if we are being honest). Swimming shouldn’t be any different. Make swimming ‘lessons’ fun and your child will be confident in the water in no time!