Infants/toddlers (6 months - 3 years old)
Abc Levels 1-3
- Water comfort: Work on getting your child familiar with the feel of water on their face and head. In the bathtub, use a small cup filled with water and slowly pour the water over the head like a waterfall. Have them slightly tilt their head forward while pouring the water if they have a hard time keeping their mouth closed. They may cry for the first few times which is okay as it is a new feeling for them. Limit the number of times you pour the cup of water over their head to about 2 or 3 each time. Repeat this every 'bath time'.
- Holding breath: They may not catch on to this right away but the earlier you start the better. Show them your deep breath in and closing your mouth to hold the air in for a few seconds. Make it fun by doing 'chipmunk cheeks'. Only hold breath for no more than 5 seconds at a time.
- Blowing air: There are two ways they will need to know how to do this for swimming. Blowing through their mouth and also through their nose. Getting them to blow through the nose tends to be a challenge for most kids so this skill is really important to practice. The can practice blowing through the mouth by blowing out birthday candles, blowing a balloon around the room, blowing on mommy or daddy's hand, or blowing on food to cool it down. You can also show them how to do bubbles in a cup of water through a straw after they start to get the hang of it. To teach bubbles through the nose, fill a cup or a bowl with water and show them how to "hummmm" keeping the mouth closed. Then put the nose (or whole face) in the cup or bowl while doing a continuous "hummm". Make sure they are only doing this for about 5 seconds at a time and lifting the nose or head out of the water before they stop humming.
Children ( 3 years old and Up)
Abc Levels 3 - 6
- Kicking: Working on proper kicks is very important. One way your kiddo can practice kicks is to have them lay on the floor on their tummy with their hands under their thighs and kick their legs up and down. Doing it this way forces them to keep their toes pointed like a ballerina or like they are tip toeing. Pointed toes are very important when kicking. Another way to practice is to have them lay on their back on their bed with the legs stretched straight out over the side of the bed and kick up and down with toes pointed. They should be kicking with straight legs and not bending the knees too much. Also, make sure they are keeping their head down on the bed and looking up at the ceiling instead of looking at their feet or legs. We want to avoid creating a bad head position habit.
- Shoulder Rotation: Have your child practice 'windmill arms'. Standing straight with legs together, they should do one arm at a time and at a steady pace. Not fast. Make sure the arm comes all the way back staying close to their bodies. The upper arm should brush the side of their head/ear when coming up and then come down in a forward motion to touch the side of their leg keeping the arm relaxed but straight.Exercises For Building Muscle and Strength
- Toe Raises
- Arm Circles
- Scissor Kicks