Learn to Swim- Build the Foundation for Confident Swimmers
It's summer and now is the perfect time for your kiddos to learn to swim! Not all parents are trained swimmers, so it can be a challenge to know where to start when teaching your child how to swim. Fear not, we've managed to find a great online resource! Coach Krissy at www.learn2swim.org has four simple steps to help your child learn to swim in no time! Learn2swim.org's mission is to reduce the risk of drowning and injury by teaching swimming basics through short videos. Coach Krissy is a professional swimming trainer and most importantly stresses fun in the pool. She highlights four simple steps for teaching your child to swim: making the pool a playground, bubbles and breathing, floating, and swimming back to wall. Swimming is not only fun and good exercise, but learning to swim creates a safe environment for children and boosts their confidence in and around the water.
Make the Pool a Playground
Coach Krissy first highlights making the pool a playground by creating a fun pool environment for your kids. First, make your pool experience fun by playing games in the pool with the children before you start swimming lessons. Splash around with them, teaching them it's ok to have water splash in your face and on your head. Remember, kids are often scolded for splashing adults or pouring liquids onto an adult's head. Show them that this is okay in the pool by having them pour water on your head and visa versa. Fun is the most important first step because it teaches them first and foremost that swimming is fun. Even if they are a little scared at first, new swimmers will remember the fun they had and carry that with them through future pool time.
Bubbles and Breathing
Coach Krissy goes on to talk about bubbles and breathing. This step is important because it teaches your child how to hold his or her breath under the water and how to breathe outside the water after coming up. Blow bubbles on the surface of the water with your child and slowly move into the water with them. Have the children bounce in and out of the water, holding their breath underneath and taking a big breath outside. After your child learns this step, he or she will be able to hold his breath under the water, which gets you one step closer to a safe pool environment.
As anyone who has ever swam in the ocean can attest, floating can save your life. Coach Krissy refers to floating as the third step in learning to swim. She discusses the difference between front and back floating. In front floating, the child puts his face in the water and pushes off the side of the wall. It is beneficial to increase the child's floating duration with each time off the wall. Remember, just like anything else you teach your child, repetition is key so the child can become comfortable with this new environment. For back floating, the child's ears should be in the water to begin. Help the child float by gently holding her, then slowly let her float on her own. Again, repetition is imperative, so do this in gradually increasing increments of time and as your child builds his or her confidence, increase their float time to show them that they can do it themselves!
Back to the Wall
Lastly, Coach Krissy talks about swimming back to the wall to complete your child's swimming experience. Returning to a safe place where they can literally and figuratively get hold of their bearings is a hugely important safety step. It teaches your child to calmly regain their "footing", rather than panic- when you panic, you don't think clearly and that's when tragedies occur. Have your child fall into the water and swim back to the wall. After repeating this several times, have your child fall into the water then swim around you back to the wall. After this last step, and lot of practice, your child will be ready to begin swimming on his or her own. This knowledge not only makes pool time fun but safe too! Something you and the children will enjoy for many years to come! Please visit www.learn2swim.org to watch Coach Krissy's videos and begin teaching your child to swim! It's always summer at Natural Stone Pools. Let us put summer in your backyard year around!