One Weird Old Tip to Get Your Child Swimming

by Pool Builders on 02-27-2010 in Articles

Teaching a very young child to swim can be extremely challenging. Toddlers often develop totally irrational fears - they're learning how to control and manipulate their environment and the most effective way they can do this is by kicking and screaming if they don't want to do something! The one place they are likely to feel most out of control is in the swimming pool - they can't float, they can't breathe underwater, they lose contact with the ground and are continually being forced to do things they don't want to do by you - their parent! The trick is to get the child familiarised with water from a very early age so that they don't feel nervous or out of control. A confident child will learn to swim much faster than a nervous child.

So how do you get a very young child (less than a year old) to be more confidant in the water? Babies have a little known and not very well understood reflex. When you blow on their face they take a small breath in. This is your passport to swimming nirvana! Cradle your child in one arm and try to maintain eye contact. Count them down from 3 and then blow on their face. When you see them inhale (make sure they do, this doesn't work with all babies) submerge them just up to the top of their nose in the water. As they have just inhaled their natural reaction will be to breathe out and blow bubbles. Bring them straight back out again. They will probably look a bit startled at this point but should not be choking or swallowing any water. Over time and repetition you can increase the depth to which you are submerging them. This will build water confidence and familiarity so that when they start having proper private swimming lessons they should be much more receptive and manageable in the pool.

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