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How to teach a child to swim
How to teach a child to swim

Lifehacker has collected instructions for different ages, choose the one you need and master with your baby.

How to teach a child to swim
How to teach a child to swim

How to teach a child to swim under 3 years old

Water procedures with a baby are undoubtedly useful, and a toddler can be accustomed to them from a very early age. However, they do not imply independent movement, which means they have nothing to do with swimming.

In addition, such exercises reinforce incorrect movements and body position. As a result, when later the child will master full-fledged swimming, he will have to be retrained for a long time. To lay the foundation for a young swimmer, you need to introduce him to the water element gradually and exclusively in a playful way.

How to prepare your baby

The main task of the parents at this stage is to help the child overcome the fear of big water. Ideally, you can try to teach him to immerse his face in water, as well as blow bubbles through his mouth and nose. Then the skills will come in handy for proper breathing. To do this, do the following:

  • Play with your baby and toys in the shallow pool with warm clear water.
  • Splatter on top of each other. Do not be afraid to get water on your face and calm your child so that he does not fear it.
  • Blow bubbles together as you dip your face into the water. First with the mouth and then with the nose.
  • Ask the toddler to squat, plunge into the water, and immediately emerge.

How to teach a child to swim from 3 to 5 years old

Kids at this age can already be taught to swim freely without any style, if you show endurance. Young children are not able to concentrate and follow instructions for a long time, to do things unusual for them, so learning should be done in a playful manner.

1. Choose the right place

It is best to teach your child to swim in a pool or large tub like a jacuzzi. The sea is much less suitable because of the salt water and waves that will interfere. A river or lake is also not ideal: the water in them is opaque and cold, so it will be difficult for the baby psychologically.

Depth - waist-deep or slightly higher so that the swimmer feels safe. The water temperature is preferably higher - 25–28 ° С. At the same time, until the baby gets used to swimming goggles, moisture should not cause burning eyes if they are opened at depth.

2. Take off the armbands and vest

Discard any equipment designed to keep you afloat. Circles, boards and other devices upset the balance of the body and prevent the baby from learning to float on the water on its own.

When using a vest or oversleeves, the child squeezes into the supports and raises his head high, straining his neck. You can really learn to swim only by diving under the water, so it is important to immediately remove all watercraft.

3. Teach your child to wear glasses

Like all subsequent steps, this one must be performed exclusively in a playful way, and it is even better to show it by example. With five-year-olds, problems, most likely, will not arise, but younger children can be capricious.

Try on your baby's glasses and note how they fit. Constantly praise and admire him, even if you only managed to lean the protection against your face and not put an elastic band on the back of your head. Click on the glasses and show what a funny grunting sound they make, and invite your child to try it. If the glasses are not fixed on the face, say "The eye is unstuck."

If the baby is afraid and does not want to put on the accessory, be friendly, do not press and be patient. Switch to fiddling with toys and try again later. Little by little, after 5-10 fittings, he will give in, especially when he realizes how well he can see underwater with glasses.

4. Let your baby get used to the water

Before teaching, a child needs to be liberated and stop being afraid of water. To do this, play a little with him.

  • Splash in shallow water by splashing with your hands and feet.
  • Hold hands and, lowering your face into the water, blow bubbles through your mouth, nose.
  • Show your tongues to each other and make grimaces underwater.

5. Practice lowering your face into the water

Swimming training is based on immersing your face in water. This is unnatural for a child, so you can't just tell him, "Do it like this." And this is where games come to the rescue.

  • First, spray so that the moisture gets on your baby's face. You can water it a little at a time, showing that it is not scary and fun.
  • Squat and jump at different depths so that when immersed, the water reaches the child's lips, then to the eyes, and so gradually ask him to plunge with his head for a second. You don't need to close your eyes.
  • Scatter toys at a shallow depth so that they cannot be reached with your hand without plunging into your head, and ask your baby to carry out a rescue operation or collect treasures.
  • When the child takes a sip of water and coughs, react calmly and cheerfully, making it clear that nothing bad has happened. Ask to exhale sharply through the nose, as if blowing your nose, and the remaining water will easily leave the nasopharynx, and with them discomfort.

6. Learn to breathe out into water

The next stage is mastering the exhalation into water. It is used in all styles and is key to proper swimming technique. In part, the child is already familiar with this technique, blowing bubbles is an exhalation.

  • Continue building the skill by blowing bubbles at the side of the pool. The baby must certainly do this with his nose, since inhalation is carried out through the mouth.
  • The jumps and squats from the previous step will also help. Add to these exhalations into the water at the time of immersion.
  • For correct exhalation, ask the child to take in air, close his mouth with his hand and make a drawling sound "mmm" with his nose.

7. Practice staying afloat

For this there are simple exercises - "jellyfish" and "asterisk", which are very popular with children. Their essence lies in hanging in the water while holding the breath and relaxing the neck.

How to do the jellyfish exercise

  • Ask your baby to lie down in the water and lightly support him under the breast. The whole body and, most importantly, the neck are in a relaxed state, reminiscent of a jellyfish. You need to look at the bottom, not in front of you.
  • To get your child to do this, think of a treasure hunting game or something like that.

How to do the asterisk exercise

  • Place the young swimmer in the water and support under the chest with your hands. Ask him to spread his arms and legs, depicting a star.
  • As in the previous exercise, the face should be lowered into the water and the neck should be relaxed. Use to motivate the game.
  • Another option that can be done for variety is the sprocket on the back.

8. Try sliding in water

Now it's time to start moving. For this there is a special "arrow" exercise, which is a basic pose in many swimming styles.

  • Support your baby under the chest and ask him to raise his arms above his head, and then lie down gently on the water, straightening his body and relaxing his neck.
  • When you consolidate this technique, let the child try to do all of the above on his own. Move a couple of meters away from the edge of the pool and tell them to push off with your feet from the side and move in your direction.

9. Practice your leg movements

There are two options here: a crawl movement, when the legs alternately move up and down, or in breaststroke style - the legs are bent at the knees and the swimmer pushes off the water in the manner of a frog.

For babies of this age, both options are correct. And to understand which one is more suitable for a child is easy if you ask him to swim a short distance and check what movements he will make intuitively - swings or jerks.

The essence of the exercise is to make an "arrow" and, when sliding, turn on the legs. Both options are best done with the correct technique if possible. Watch how this is done and demonstrate to your child on land or in shallow water.

Kroll: the legs almost do not bend at the knees, but move from the hip, the feet are stretched back as much as possible. The movements are more like scissors rather than cycling

Breaststroke: the legs are bent at the knees and pulled slightly towards themselves, the feet are tucked forward. Then they are spread apart and there is a sharp push

10. Connect your hands

For a small child, the easiest way to move is the breaststroke when the strokes are performed with both hands at the same time.

However, it is not necessary to demand from the baby their impeccable performance. If it is too difficult for him, dog-like movements are allowed, when the strokes are performed alternately and the hands seem to cling to the water.

The principle is the same. The movement starts from the "arrow" position, then arms and legs are included in the work.

11. Teach your baby to breathe

All the previous exercises are performed while holding your breath, but you can't swim that far. Therefore, when the child has mastered all the basic movements, you need to teach him to raise his head and inhale without stopping.

This should only be done with the mouth, because when breathing through the nose, drops of water can enter the nasopharynx and cause discomfort. Strengthen your breathing skills with fish games.

"Brooding fish" - at a depth where the child does not reach the bottom, ask to push off from the side and slowly swim towards you, lowering his face into the water

"Curious fish" - have your child complete the previous exercise, and then, at your command, simply raise his head without inhaling. At this moment, he must help himself, pushing off the water with his feet

"Delighted fish" - this time the baby needs to do the same thing, only when raising his head, quickly inhale air through his mouth. Previously, you can practice a sharp breath when emerging in the shallower part of the pool, where the water is up to the baby's chest

How to teach a child 5-6 years old and older to swim

Older children perceive the learning process more effectively. They consciously perform tasks and practice exercises, so at this age you can teach a child to swim like an adult.

This is done according to the standard algorithm, which is described in detail in our article, or using express methods. For example, the trainer Denis Tarakanov's system allows you to learn to swim in one or two sessions. Just ask your child to do the following exercises in order. Each about 10 times.

1. On the steps by the pool or in the children's pond, where the depth reaches 30–40 cm, ask the child to put his hands on the bottom and stretch out to his full height. The whole body is submerged, only the head is above the water, the neck is relaxed. The swimmer should hold his breath and lie there for 5-10 seconds, and then gently raise his face, inhale through his mouth and repeat the exercise.

How to teach a child to swim: you need to practice holding the breath
How to teach a child to swim: you need to practice holding the breath

2. Have the child do the same, but put his face in the water and raise one of the hands, leaning only on the other.

The child puts his face in the water and raises one of his hands
The child puts his face in the water and raises one of his hands

3. Repeat the learned technique again, but now explain to the baby that he must remove both hands and hang in the water like that, counting to himself to five.

How to teach a child to swim: you need to remove both hands and hang in the water
How to teach a child to swim: you need to remove both hands and hang in the water

4. Ask the child to stretch out his arms in front of him at the moment of hovering and stay in this position for 5-10 seconds holding his breath. After that, let him rest his hands on the bottom, raise his head to inhale with his mouth and repeat the exercise.

The child should stretch out his arms in front of him at the moment of hanging
The child should stretch out his arms in front of him at the moment of hanging

5. Let the baby move 50–70 cm away from the edge of the pool and, turning to face him, perform a new variation of the exercise. After inhaling, you need to gently push off from the bottom and slide with your arms outstretched forward, without lifting your face out of the water.

How to teach a child to swim: you need to gently push off and slide with outstretched arms
How to teach a child to swim: you need to gently push off and slide with outstretched arms

6. Connect the legs: after the push, the child should gently swing his legs without pulling his feet out of the water.

The child should gently swing their feet
The child should gently swing their feet

7. Now hands are included in the work: let the kid row them like a dog or breaststroke. The main thing is to move them under water at the level of the face, but not under the stomach.

How to teach a child to swim: you need to row with your hands
How to teach a child to swim: you need to row with your hands

8. Ask your baby to repeat the previous exercise, but when moving, gently raise his head above the water for a couple of seconds. You do not need to inhale, just consolidate the action to understand that it is not difficult.

When moving, the child gently raises his head above the water
When moving, the child gently raises his head above the water

nine. Finally, have the baby push off and float, moving his legs and arms, and then try to raise his head above the water and inhale through his mouth.

How to teach a child to swim: you need to push off and move
How to teach a child to swim: you need to push off and move

Details on how to correctly perform each exercise can be seen in the video:

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