As the weather warms up, we all starting thinking about it.....swimming. Most of us are excited and can't wait to get started. Whether your child is enthusiastic or apprehensive, there are some things you can start working on NOW to help them advance more quickly in lessons this summer. If you have access to a pool....GREAT! Start taking them. If not, you can do most of the these things at home in the bathtub.
1. Practice blowing bubbles. It seems so simple, but it makes a HUGE difference if children learn to blow out rather than suck in when their face hits the water. With younger children, practice blowing with your face out of the water at first. Once you see them blowing, show them how to start blowing above the water and then lower your lips to the water while continuing to blow. Remember to make it fun! Have them pretend to be a sea creature or hold a boat and make it zoom while blowing bubbles.
2. Get them used to having water in their ears. At bathtime we talk about getting our ears clean. They can lay on their stomachs and dip in one ear at a time, but encourage them to lay on their backs if you can. Have them balance something on their tummies or hold something over their heads that they can look at. Have them count how many toy airplanes you have in your hands.
3. Get them used to having water on their faces. Have them splash the water on their faces themselves. Have them pour a small container of water over their heads so the water runs down their face. Turn on the sprinklers in the backyard when it gets warm enough. Remember, you have to keep it fun and positive.
4. Get them prone. In order to swim, they have to be used to being in a horizontal position. Have them lay on their tummies in the bath or on a stair of the pool and pretend to be alligators. See if they can put their face in while they're prone. If not, have them start by trying to get their chins and shoulders wet when they're horizontal.
Did I emphasize this enough?......MAKE IT FUN! Make them think it's their idea. Make it a game. Whatever you do, try not to criticize or get frustrated. Take it at their speed. You still have months before lessons start and you want your kids to be excited. Do you have other things you like to work on with your kids?