Kids learn through play, so one of the easiest ways to teach breath control is by making it FUN! Try a bubble blowing contest by timing how long they can blow bubbles with their face in the water, and then see if they can beat their time. Or, let them wear goggles in the tub and they can “search” for pool toys on the bottom of the tub. They may not understand what’s happening with their breathing, but they will gradually be able to hold their breath longer and learn when they need to come up for air.
As they learn to hold their breath for longer periods of time, they will eventually be able to learn how to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth as they practice freestyle swimming.
If your child is ready to dive for toys outside the tub, try taking some rockets or rings to the big pool and throw them into the shallow end (or deep, if your child is older/more comfortable) and see how many they can get before coming up for air. At first, they may only be able to grab one, but as their breath control improves they will likely be able to grab several before they need to surface! ALWAYS supervise kids as they are in the pool – safety first!
BUILD ENDURANCE ABOVE WATER
The more active your child is outside the water, the more endurance they will have when they hop in the pool. Stay active by walking daily, letting them spend LOTS of time outside and encouraging active games like tag, soccer or basketball. The more comfortable they feel breathing when exercising, the more aware they will be of their own body. This will help them understand what it feels like to bring air into their lungs, and what it feels like to be out of breath. Learning these “simple” things will help them as they stretch themselves more and more in the pool.
TRY A SWIM CLASS
If you’re ready to take the next step in your child’s swimming journey, join us at SwimWest for a trial class. We’d love to show your child how we build breath control into each lesson, and how we can help your child learn to love the water! For more information or to sign up for a trial class, please visit www.swimwest.com