Sounds ridiculous right? You can’t swim in a bathtub. In the case of comfortability, the ability to even be around water (pool or no pool) is important. You can do a lot from play to breath control. In almost everything that you do, finding a way to practice aspects of what you’re learning outside of the actual facility you’d be performing in can help. Home is a wonderful place to practice almost anything. This is where you are probably the most comfortable and have the least pressure. Your child will be in the same position.
Bathtub practice is very beneficial for all ages. For children, this is a good time to connect water with play. Here are some steps to take during bath time!
Use toys such a ducks, dolls, animals, etc. and have your child give them a swimming lesson. Have them practice what the teacher will most likely do with them. Encourage your child to have the toy go underwater like, “Lets see if the blue duck can go under the sea!” Have your child use the 1-2-3 cues that the teacher would also use. Using pretend and play is a great way to get a child to get more comfortable with something if they feel like their the one in control.
Whether your child is 4 months-old or 4 years-old, different versions of splashing can be fun! Use a plastic cup or Tupperware bowl to pour water on your chid’s head. We do this during lessons with out “Rain Buckets.” Most of my kids LOVE them.
Make sure you always use the 1-2-3 cue and start from the back of their head and move forward towards their face. This is a great way to get them used to the feeling of water on their face. Singing a song can be helpful as the water is being poured on their head. Personally, I like to use “Rain, Rain Go Away,” or “Its Raining, It’s Pouring.”
If they are maybe not ready for water being dunked on their head try singing, “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Have them slash their hands and kick their feet. Again, make it fun!!
You could also have your swimmer use the cup/bucket themselves, and have them splash their own face, head, or even body. If they are not yet comfortable getting their head wet, work your way up. Start by having them get their toes splashed, followed by their knees, then their belly, etc. working your way up to their head for the final Splash!
Once they have mastered the previous steps, have them put their face in the water (with your supervision, of course) and have them practice holding their breath. This is way they are the ones in control of their bodies and able to gain some confidence. Start by giving them a goal. “Lets put your face in for 3 seconds!” When they do it, bump it up to 5, then maybe 7! Make it a fun challenge-a game!
These are just a few ways to get your young ones to get more comfortable in the water. Still want more comfort tips? Check out part three: Open Swim!