One of the most crucial skills for a child to learn is how to swim. If a boat overturns or some other accident occurs around water, you want your children to at least be able to get to the surface of the water and tread water so that they can stay alive. I don’t know how many times I’ve had nightmares about my children drowning, especially after my daughter nearly died at age one. I had to empty a large amount of water out of her lungs before she could breathe again.
For this reason I feel that it is important for children to learn how to swim. Swim lessons can be expensive, and if you have young kids ages 2-7, I have some simple activities they can do in the bathtub to be ready for more advanced swim lessons. Once they have done those activities, they can learn to move both legs and arms to stay afloat in a doggie paddle. When they can tread water for a couple of seconds, keep increasing the time as they stay in one place. If they can tread water in place for 60 seconds, they are ready to tread water all the way across the swimming pool. I always provided some form of reward for my child to swim across the pool for the first time, treading water. Children feel proud of their accomplishment when they are able to go the entire length of the pool.
After they are able to tread water, they are ready for proper swimming. The child can hold on to the side of the pool and kick his feet while not bending his legs. While swimming properly, the child’s feet should never go out of the water, so splashing isn’t supposed to happen. The child can use a floating board to hold on to while going across the pool, focusing only on feet being straight while kicking under the water. Next, the child adds dunking the face in, and breathing to the side while holding the paddle board. The reason you need the paddle board is that the child can’t focus on three things at the same time: the feet, the breathing, and the arms. The child needs to perfect each skill until it comes naturally, so that the child can focus on the next skill.
It helps to have the swim instructor swim right in front of the child while the child watches. The shoulders are supposed to come out of the water, and each stroke should reach as far to the front as possible. After that, the elbow is supposed to bend up, then back. One of my sons kept curving when he swam because his right arm was stronger than his left arm. He needed to try to stroke evenly with each arm to swim straight. Also, keeping the head dipped continuously is hard for some children, but this can be overcome while doing exercises in the bath tub, where the child feels safe.
For more information on easy swim lessons for the bath tub: Bath Time Fun: 49 Ideas for Homeschoolers.Tweet