1. Have fun with pool toys during bath time.
It might seem a little funny at first but let the kids play with small pool toys during bath time. Use this time to allow them to get familiar with some of the teaching tools used during swim lessons. Bath time is a great place to introduce goggles for fun games to explore the depths of the sea for sunken treasures. Timid swimmers can easily reach toys without needing to submerge in the water and work towards being comfortable with their face in the water.
2. Get their heads wet in the bathtub.
Most children are not big fans of getting water on their faces. Letting them know ahead of time what will happen allows them to also learn to hold their breath for small amounts of time. This tip may already be an almost daily occurrence, as parents need to rinse their little one’s heads somehow. But if you let the child know what you’re going to do and teach them to hold their breath, they won’t give it a second thought. You can easily practice this in a shower as well.
3. Blow bubbles in the water.
The fun swim game never loses it’s ability to make you smile. First, show the child how you put your face in the water and expel air to create the bubbles. Encourage your child to attempt the same. If they are nervous, show them that they can start by just putting their mouths into the water, easing them into it. If they can master this tip, they will have learned some breath control and gain more confidence when it comes to getting up for air safely. Once they master it, time in the bath feels like being at the water park!
4. Submerging and breathing.
In the bathtub, ask your child to put their face (eyes closed or with goggles), or their whole head if possible, into the water and hold their breath. In the beginning, start with just teaching them to hold their breath underwater. Once they can do it, tell them that they can come up for air and then go back under for another 2-3 seconds. When they’re really good, make it a game to see if they can do this a few times in a row. Breath control is a key component to most all more advanced swimming skills.
5. Show your kids examples of positive swim technique.
Of course, during the summer Olympics is the best time to be able to do this naturally, but the internet is full of professional swimming videos and Michael Phelps is a household name. Sit down with your child to watch a few videos before their lesson and look at the different strokes. Even early on it can be beneficial to their swim development to talk with them about proper head position, keeping a straight spine, and correct arm positioning. It’s important for kids to see someone else exhibiting true form before they are asked to do it themselves.
6. Swim with your child.
It’s important that your child be introduced to the pool that will hold their lessons beforehand. Often a fear of swimming can be linked to being anxious about all of the unknowns. It can be very intimidating for children to go new places. By taking them for a free-spirited afternoon of fun, you can also give them a heads up about what will happen during their lesson, what their instructor’s name is (if you know it), and where you’ll be during their lesson, especially if they won’t be able to see you.
Preparing your child for swim lessons can help them to feel at ease in the water. The calmness and enjoyment they feel will allow them to fully grasp the techniques their instructor is teaching them. In the end, a skilled swimmer receives the benefit of a lifetime of water fun. For more tips on skills to work on at home, visit this blog post or contact us today, we’re here to help!