You want to teach your toddler to swim back to the wall in case they fall into a pool. But how exactly do you do it? Tested on hundreds of children, these are THE BEST 10 ACTIVITIES TO TEACH A TODDLER TO SWIM:
1. Hold the child under the armpits. Position yourself either in front of the child or side by side
Now you can encourage your child to kick their legs up and down a scoop their arms under the water.
2. Swim with noodle under armpits and head above water
Again, encourage your child to kick and paddle and to push their chin up, above the water. Watch a FREE SWIM LESSON (Lesson 8) from our online course that shows you how to practice with your child.
3. Swim on horsey (straddling the noodle)
Tell your child to “bicycle” their legs and to scoop their arms under the water, in order to keep balance.
4. Swim with swim belt and head above the water
Why we like swim belts for teaching children to swim…
- they don’t constrict the arm movements
- unlike the water wings or paddle jumper who are attached to the child’s arms, the swim belt is attached at the waist, which means kids can move freely and learn how to efficiently move their arms when swimming
Swim belts help children learn the following important skills:
- how to apply the right resistance with their arms so they can keep their head above the water
- how to tread water and to swim the doggy paddle with the head above the water
5. Swim on the back with adult support
In the beginning have your child rest their head on your shoulder. Encourage them to push their belly up and kick softly. Slowly progress to lowering the child’s head on your chest, then in front of your chest with their ears submerged. With most children, the progression should happen gradually, over the course of 5 – 10 lessons.
6. Blowing bubbles and breath control
Practice by holding the child under armpits face to face with you or having the child sit on your knee. Also practice kicking with a noodle on the waist and holding a kick board. Encourage blowing slow and long bubbles. Watch a FREE SWIM LESSON (Lesson 3) from our online course that shows you how to teach your child breath control when swimming.
7. Monkey-Bars or the Crab-walk — walking sideways on the wall
This activity helps children develop arm strength, balance, hand grip. It is also a safety skill.
Sing: “Humpty-Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a little fall“. This fun activity helps children learn another important water safety skill: jump – turn – swim back to the wall.
9. Submerge in both vertical and horizontal positions
- Unless you know your child is ready for it, don’t introduce this activity in the first lesson.
- To submerge in a vertical position, have your child sit on your knee and bounce them up and down. Blow gently in their face (this helps them hold their breath), lower your knee until your child’s head is fully submerged, then quickly bring your knee (along with your child) up.
- To submerge in an horizontal position, place a toy on the edge of the pool. Tell your child to stretch their arms out and reach for the toy. Tell them to take a breath and close their mouth. With a scooping motion submerge them horizontally towards the wall and the toy.
10. Swim with the head submerged, then come up for breath
Practice first with your support and a noodle under the armpits. After 5-10 lessons, or when you think your child is ready, remove the noodle so they can swim on their own. This skill is really the ultimate goal to help your child swim independently. Watch a FREE SWIM LESSON (Lesson 12) from our online course that shows you how to teach your child to swim underwater then come up to breathe.
Don’t forget to be patient, use toys and make learning to swim fun for your child.
Teach Your Child To Swim™ was especially designed for parents who want to help their kids learn to swim and to be safe in the water: www.teachyourchildtoswim.com.
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