Competent swimming skills are also important life skills. While a baby or toddler may not yet be developmentally ready to participate in official independent swimming lessons, there are certainly ways that caregivers can prepare them for future water experiences and swimming lessons. Follow the five steps below to confidently prepare your child for a healthy swimming lesson experience.
Trust and Positive Parent Child Water Experiences
It is important to give your toddler early and positive experiences in the water. Whether you actually enroll in a parent child class, or whether you simply take baby into the water on your own, be sure that he or she is safely exposed to water and doesn’t feel afraid of it. Allow your baby or toddler to experience the feeling of water on his or her face and body. If your child seems frightened, panicky, or angry, try very short initial time periods in the water and very gradually work up to longer time segments. Negative water experiences can lead to poor swimming attitudes that persist long into life, so it is best to focus on positivity rather than rapid progress.
Children in group swimming lessons need to be able to listen to directions and to follow them. Make sure that your toddler has had opportunities to appropriately display a long enough attention span and focused listening skills to be safe and effective during water based instruction. When he or she is ready for class, there are many quality swimming lessons to choose from. There is a program to meet every family and child’s schedule, budget, and swimming needs and goals.
Kicking is a basic swimming skill. Give your toddler plenty of opportunities to practice kicking on land before attempting kicking in the water. Build foot strength and accuracy by practicing pointing and flexing the feet and kicking balls on land.
Breathing And Bubbles
Breathing under water can be strange to get used to. Practice having your toddler hold his or her breath, and also practice breathing outward in supervised water situations, such as the bathtub. Start with partial face submersion before attempting full head submersion and breathing techniques.
Utilize The Local Library
Search your library for swimming DVDs or children’s books about swimming. Children often learn well and make connections to storybook or movie characters. This is also a great way to point out pictures or scenes that emphasize the importance of water safety.