When and how to teach your child to swim?

When and how to teach your child to swim?

A majority of children begin to learn to swim around 5 or 6 years old, especially during swimming lessons at school. However, this learning can start much earlier. Surely you’ve heard of “baby swimming” lessons at the pool? It is therefore indeed possible to begin familiarization with water from a very young age. Obviously, you will have to proceed in stages, the goal being that your child is first comfortable in the water before learning to swim. If you do it early enough, it will be able to swim alone from around 5 years old, without buoy or armband. So to know when and above all how to teach your child to swimread on!

child learning to swim

Tips for teaching your child to swim

Teach your baby to close his eyes and mouth underwater

If you are the parent of a very young child under the age of 1, it is entirely possible to start teach your baby to close their eyes and mouth underwater.

Human beings have the reflex to close their eyes when they receive air in the face, so you have to take advantage of this to prepare baby for the aquatic environment. Regularly blow gently on your infant’s face to get him into the habit of closing his eyes “on command.”

Then when bathing or washing the face, talk to your child, explaining to him that he must close his eyes and mouth because he will get water on him. Even if it’s a baby, it’s important to verbalize what you’re preparing to do. Then blow on his face and gently pass a little water on his face with your hand or with a washcloth.

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Once baby has the reflex well anchored, you can use more and more water. First pass the shower over his head with a low flow just 1 second and you can finish by enter the pool water with himwithout the risk of being bothered by splashes or swallowing water.

Start by playing in the water of the small pool

When baby grows and is able to walk on his own without support, get him used to walking and moving around in water. If you have a garden, you can start with a small pool or inflatable water games. Make sure that the bottom of the structure is flat and not inflated with air. Indeed, quilted bottoms are more unstable because of the bouncing effect. Your child is at risk of becoming unbalanced, which can be frightening for him.

At the swimming pool, start by evolving in the small pool. Show your child how to splash with hands and legs while standing and play at pouring water on his body with a plastic watering can. Also show him how to sit in the water and crawl. Around 3 years old, you can show him that he can “walk with his hands” by letting his legs float behind him in a horizontal position.

child swimmingchild swimming

Introduce toddlers to water by blowing bubbles

Even if your child is comfortable in the water and loves to play in it, dipping their head in water is likely to scare them. He is probably afraid of getting stuck or swallowing water.

It will therefore be necessary to show him that even if he obviously cannot inspire when he is immersed, he can on the other hand learn to blow in water. Before trying to blow bubbles underwaterstart by checking that your child knows how to blow at all, and not just by reflex when breathing.

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At home, between the ages of 2 and 4, first play small games such as blowing on a pompom or a ping-pong ball to move them as far as possible. In the bath or with a simple glass of water, show him how to blow bubbles with a straw. When he succeeds, show him that he can make bubbles directly with his mouth by placing it just on the surface of the water.

Once he is comfortable, immerse yourself in the pool with him and play bubbles, plunging the mouth, then the nose. To keep it progressive and fun, equip him with goggles so he can keep seeing everything that’s going on. Alternate between blowing bubbles with your mouth or nose. He will understand that he can repel water by blowing instead of risking swallowing it.

Move in the water without having feet and without being afraid

If your child manages to play in the water without being afraid of splashes in the face and manages to immerse himself up to the mouth, thelearning to swim is on the right track! However, after the fear of drinking from a cup, the fear that almost always comes back is to move about in the water without having a foothold.

Between 3 and 4 years (or earlier if ready), equip your child with a swimming belt so that it can evolve in the water without your support. Avoid armbands which move its center of gravity as well as the buoy which constrains it to a vertical position.

Without even talking about swimming, first just move it along the pool holding the edge. Then add small obstacles that your child will have to overcome by letting go of the edge for just a second or two. You can play to put your head under a partially submerged hoop for example. You can also position yourself in front of him by asking him to let go of the edge so that he joins you and grabs your hands.

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It has to be fun so that move in water without having feet be fun, like a challenge to take up.

Learn to lie in the water and then swim

Finally, before launching into the heart of the pool, it is essential for your child tolearn to lie down in the water. This is what will concretely allow him to swim without the need for an armband or a buoy.

Start by making him aware of the importance of using your legs. In addition to the belt, give him a chip or a foam board and show him that you have to kick your legs to move forward. At first, your child will tend to keep the accessories glued to his chest. But as you go, encourage him to use them with his arms outstretched in front of him.

Afterwards, show him the movements to perform for the breaststroke. Make it fun by doing belly workouts at home on a stool! Once in the water, push him to use his arms and legs, like in “training”. At first, keep the swimming belt on, then take it off and place your hands under his belly. It is obviously only when he manages to swim without help that you can remove the swimming belt and possibly go with him where he has no footing. In this case, you will of course always have to accompany him in the water.

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