Tips for learning to swim
For starters, it is always the intention that a child can float before learning the swimming strokes. A child must be able to float well both on its back and on its stomach with lifeguard course near me .
But before a child dares to float, he must first dare to enter the water (and underwater). What can you as a parent do to help your child? Most of the tips below are about that.
1. Take the child to the pool yourself
First, physically put yourself in the position of a child. Get on your knees in the pool, at the height of your child, and look around you. You will then see a huge flat water, with all bobbing heads in it.
You – and therefore your child – see heads approaching and moving away. That those heads are swimming people is not the first thing that comes to your child’s mind.
Run and play with your child in shallow water. Show that it’s fun to make crazy moves in the water. Also teach your child to jump from a small height into the water. Let it run through the water. Also use the arms, and splash around. In this way the child learns to deal with the counter pressure of the water and with splashes in the face.
2. Play underwater face games
Learn in a playful way that you can go underwater with your face without any problems. Don’t force it of course, but try to put one ear under water first. Do you hear anything then? What? Likewise with your nose under water.
Give the child goggles to see underwater. And try together (in a random place, for example in the car) to hold your breath for ten seconds. Try that underwater too.
3. Practice lying on your back
First, demonstrate how you can float relaxed on your back. It goes like this: ears in the water, looking at the ceiling, squeezing buttocks. At first, the child finds this very scary.
Maintain constant body contact with your child during this exercise. Have the child raise the hands to shoulder height, then bend the knees, tilt the head back and straighten the legs (bounce off slightly), and push the buttocks up. Support the child’s back or buttocks with one hand. Don’t take it too long and build confidence slowly.
4. Practice trial and error in the water
When a child falls, when walking or playing in the water, the first reaction of many people is to immediately jump to help the child get up, grab and comfort. That’s understandable, but it could be better.
If a child falls, it is startled. It ‘s scary too. But it is better to give the child the chance to get up again on their own. Feel free to let it soak for a while. If it doesn’t work, of course you help and then you slowly show how you stand up in the water with lifeguard course near me.
When a child has stood up independently, it helps to strengthen self-confidence in the water.
5. Practice lying on the stomach
Lying on the stomach is easier as the child keeps the face well in the water. Look at the bottom. Let’s see what happens to your legs when you raise your head: the further your head bends back, the more your legs go down. Then you can’t lie down anymore.
Start at the side. Bend your knees, push off with one leg against the wall and float. If that goes well, practice it from a standing position. If the head is well in the water (look at the bottom), the buttocks will naturally rise.
Go into shallow water and have the child put their hands on the bottom. Rotate the hands so that the fingers point towards the toes. The buttocks are now rising. Then ask the child to let go of one hand and then both hands. You stand in front of the child and hold his hands. Pull the child through the water and let him put his face in the water.
6. Practice pinball with the legs
Once the child can float, practice pinball with the legs (the leg stroke in chest crawl). First with as many splashes as possible (that’s nice), then without splashes. Keep feet under water.
7. Always start with the legs
If you want to teach your child a swimming stroke, always start with the legs. Many parents would like to immediately learn a combination breaststroke, but that is almost never possible. That is too difficult for a small child. So start with the legs, and always on the back first.
Today, the modern instruction is like this:
start lying on your back
bend the knees while keeping the knees together. The feet then sink to the bottom
then let the legs (toes out) go shoulder-width apart and turn them back until they are straight again.
8. Emphasize the ‘Pipo position’ of the feet
The most difficult and time-consuming thing is to teach a child to correct the position of the feet. The feet must always be turned outwards. Call it ‘Pipo feet’, or ‘turn on your turn signals’. Or ask your own swimming teacher what he (or she) calls it.
In any case, let the child pull the toes up well. Then the feet are already slightly in the correct position. Then turn the toes out. This position of the feet is important to get good propulsion in the water. You can also practice this very well at home. On the couch. Or let the child walk with the feet turned out and the toes up. Another trick is to let the child swim with water shoes.
Note: make sure that the child does NOT pull in the knees during the leg stroke on the back. The knees must remain under water and that is only possible if the buttocks are pushed up well.
9. What NOT to do when learning to swim
Don’t pressure your child to do something they don’t want or don’t dare. So don’t push , because that won’t work. It makes no sense if a child gets nervous in the changing room.
Don’t make swimming a bad experience, but keep it fun. If a child complains of a cold or other aches and pains, just stop. Also, never yell in the water.
10. What YOU SHOULD DO to learn to swim
Be honest with yourself, with your child and especially with the swimming instructors. Tell them if something is wrong with your child. Is it gifted ? Does it have a fear of water ? Does it have flap feet? Is it difficult to learn? Is the motor a disaster child? Tell the swimming teacher. They can then take this into account in the approach to your child.
If a child has to go to swimming lessons, make sure the time before it is relaxed. Get away from home on time so you don’t have to rush. Come a little earlier than the others the very first time. This way the child can see clearly what is happening.
Talk to your child about this experience. Confirm that he or she is now grown and address your child as such. He or she no longer has ‘hands’ but ‘hands’. After all, a huge step has been taken.
Reward your child every time he or she has done a brave or clever performance in the water. Praise it, even though the feat only lasted 3 seconds and you didn’t even have time to blink.
Give your child time. A lot of time. Don’t rush it, and don’t expect your child to get a swimming certificate within 6 months. Even if it is initially a sporty type. All children learn to swim; anyway. But give them their own pace.
The more you enjoy the water together, the more fun your child will have in (learning to) swim. In this way, it will also progress more quickly on the way to the diploma. But remember that it is not at all uncommon if it takes a year and a half. Especially if your child is very young.