Teach Your Child To Swim - Part 2 of 6

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Learning to Float and Kick

Never leave your child unattended around water, even if they know how to swim!

Make sure your child knows these basic safety rules:

  1. Never go near or in the water without an adult.
  2. Don't dive or jump into the water unless you know how deep it is.
  3. Don't run near the edge of the pool.
  4. Always do what the lifeguard tells you.

Learning to Float

Learning to float is the most important part of learning to swim. By now your child will be used to the water, and happy to get her face wet or put her head under water.

It's easiest to start with floating on her back, as she doesn't have to hold her breath. Tell your child to lie flat on her back, stretching out her arms above her head. Support her with your hands in the small of her back. Her body should be parallel to the surface of the water, or the bottom of the pool, with her head tipped back and ears submerged. Encourage her to relax, and breath smoothly in and out. Practice until she is happy floating in this way for long periods of time.

When your child is confident floating on her back, she can progress to floating on her front. The key is taking a big breath, as much air as possible, and relaxing. Make sure she puts her head in line with her body, face down in the water, keeping as flat as possible.

Smaller children may find learning to float on their back difficult and stressful. Try to make it into a game. Don't rush, be patient, and let them get used to it very gradually over a few visits to the pool.

Learning to glide and kick

Once your child is confident floating on his back or front, he can start gliding through the water. He can also practice this holding onto a float. Have him stand in the shallow end or holding onto the side and push off with his arms stretched out in front, face down in the water. See how far he can glide. Each time try to beat the last glide. Try playing 'rockets' taking off from the side of the pool, or pretend to be a frog jumping.

Next have your child glide on his back. Get him to hold on to the side of the pool with keens bent, push off, letting go and spring back. Your child will then glide across the pool.

When he is happy gliding across the water, on his front or back, add in kicking. You can practice kicking together, holding onto the side of the pool, legs stretched out behind you, and do smooth kicks with legs straight.

Give your child a treat after swimming, like a refreshing glass of Sunny-D.

Next month… Arms and Legs

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