Every parent knows how beneficial swimming is for children. But not everyone knows how to teach a child to swim correctly, quickly and without causing unnecessary stress. To learn how not to scare the child and how to instill the love for water and healthy outdoor activities in a teenager, we invite you to consult this article. We will study together the main techniques and analyze the mistakes that should not be made. After reading this article, you will be able to safely proceed to the practical part!
Physiologically, a child has the ability to swim from birth. While in the womb, babies “float” in the amniotic fluid for nine months. Post-partum, the child can hold their breath and perform rowing movements with their hands on an instinctive level. Here, however, there is one peculiarity: if this reflex is not maintained during the first two months, it will fade away.
Studies have demonstrated that swimming for children of early age allows them to reduce stress levels, and, as a consequence, to strengthen their immune system and increase their body responses to external “attacks”. The best results are shown from swimming for 30 minutes three times a week.
Going back to the question of age – learning to swim should be initiated when the parents are ready for it. After all, they have to overcome difficulties with the child, hand-in-hand, and get rid of fears. As a rule of thumb, the older the child is, the easier it is to negotiate with them. In most cases, they are already aware of the benefits of swimming and are interested in learning.
When it comes to raising a professional swimmer, precious time at the early age should not be wasted. Sports coaches recommend to start training at the age of 4. It is during this period that a natural thirst for new things and the physiological ability of the brain to quickly master coordinated movements of the legs and the arms are learned.
If the “student” is afraid of water, do not convince them otherwise. To achieve a quick result, it is crucial that the lessons take place in a comfortable and safe environment. Parents should focus not on overcoming fear, but rather on creating a sense of security. This can be done in the following ways:
When teaching, it is important to keep calm, not to rush the child, and not to raise your voice. A parent should be a “lifeline”, a “guide” on the way to the unknown. When the fear of water is left behind, it is time to start learning to stay afloat. This moment should not be delayed, as it allows to get used to being in the water and touching the bottom.
Remain calm and be a confident guide for your child, not only during swimming lessons but also in any other situation. Always know where your child is and what is going on in their surroundings, so that you can provide timely assistance or support to them. Download the “Find my Kids” app from the AppStore and GooglePlay.
Overcoming the fear of water may be done in the swimming pool. There is less open space, a comfortable temperature, and an area with borders, which all add to the feeling of security. Judging by the survey of parents, about half of the children successfully master swimming in the pool. This way, the young swimmer is not affected by external distracting factors (fish, rocks, saltwater, etc.). If necessary, an instructor or other safety officer, such a lifeguard, can be pointed out to the child to reassure them further.
Transparent water will help the learning child to control their movements, observe the position of their legs, and simply not to be afraid of what may be hiding in the opaque river. It is recommended to start learning to swim in open water starting from the age of at least 4 years old. In any case, it is best to refer to each concrete situation and to be responsive to the child’s condition.
Regardless of the age at which the skill is mastered, it is important to know: the correct body position is in line and horizontal with the face lowered into the water. It is instinctive for a person to lift their head up. However, a lowered face helps to maintain balance and prevents overfatigue of the cervical vertebrae during prolonged exposure to water.
This position increases the ability to float in water and adds speed to any swimming style. Therefore, when you teach to swim “from scratch”, it is better to work out the correct position right away, so that later you do not waste time and effort on having your child learn the new correct technique.
In the swimming sport, 4 main styles may be distinguished:
If you are not raising a professional athlete, it is not necessary to immediately accustom them to one particular style. First of all, what needs to be mastered, is the breathing technique, as well as the work of the legs and the arms.
In the event of daily practice, it is pretty likely to achieve the desired result over the course of a seven-day vacation. There are even express methods, developed by experienced instructors, that allow to master basic movements within the matter of one to two days. The most important thing here is not to force anything and to focus on the degree of readiness of your child.
The learning process also depends on what is desired to be achieved as a result: whether you just need to teach the child to stay afloat or immediately get acquainted with the desired style. If you are more inclined towards the latter option, professional swimmers recommend starting with the crawl style.
Naturally, when choosing exercises, it is important to focus on the child’s age. Next, we will consider the basic techniques that correspond to age-related physiological and psychological characteristics.
It is impossible to force a young individual to swim without desire, there is no point in this. At the age of 3-4 years old, the child becomes familiar with the world through a game format. Therefore, in a playful way, you can instill the main skills in kids, and the swimming technique will be worked on as they grow up.
We bring a couple of exercises that would allow to learn the correct movements, to your attention:
Such exercises will help your child get used to the water, and to not cry when drops of water get into the eyes or the nose. Protective equipment, such as glasses, a cap and other accessories, may be used to create maximum comfort for your child.
If the training session is referred to as a fun activity with parents, the child will look forward to new exciting lessons. By the way, such exercises have a good preventive psychological effect and allow to relieve muscle and emotional tension.
The age frame from 7 to 10 years old is characterized by awareness when performing the exercise. There is no longer a need to invent enticing playful activities. Young learners are ready to master swimming based on their own initiative. Of course, parents should not forget that motivation at this age still depends on external factors. Therefore, as with babies, it is important to create an atmosphere that stimulates, arouses interest and brings positive emotions. Praise the child frequently and avoid ridicule.
Now let’s get down to practice. Performing the exercises described below will ensure that your child learns to swim:
Of course, it is too early to talk about the ideal technique of performing the exercise at this stage. However, the child will already know how to float on the surface of the water and move forward.
Teaching your child to swim before going on a holiday? Do not worry about them not only on water, but also on land. To prevent your child from getting lost in a place that is unknown to them, download the “Find my Kids” app with GPS function and LIVE-listening functions from the AppStore and GooglePlay.
If you find the above method too difficult or time-consuming (especially when summer is in full swing and you want to teach your child to be at ease with swimming in a matter of days), try a different option. It will allow you to achieve results in a short time period, without focusing on mastering the technique.
The essence of the lessons comes down to several exercises:
When the child has mastered the third task, ask them to remove two hands at once. In this way, they will learn to “float” on water. However, that is only half of the task. After that, they need to be taught to move forward. This can be done with the use of the following exercises:
This method is claimed to be highly effective with the result that may be achieved after only one lesson.
You can teach your teenager using the methods outlined above. After 12 years of age, it is easier for children to complete the described tasks and they follow the instructions easily. Difficulties arising in learning, most often, can be caused by psychological factors:
Here, an adult needs to find an approach to an older child, motivate them to acquire new skills, and demonstrate the benefits of swimming. Once a relationship of trust is established, the training sessions may start.
In addition to following the techniques and rules described above, it is important not to make other mistakes. Please note that the following needs to be avoided during lessons:
That, perhaps, is everything that parents need to know when beginning to master the task of being a personal trainer for their children. Help your child to fall in love with water, teach them some basic movements, practice the coordination of arms and feet, as well as proper breathing. Do not rush to start a new stage if the child has not learned and consolidated their existing skills. During classes, follow the recommendations described in the article, take into account the age and the psychological characteristics of your child, maintain a positive attitude and believe in yourself!
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