Ages 2 and Younger

 

If you are teaching a child under the age of two how to swim there are different techniques you want to use in order for your child to be safe in the water. As always you should start out with the “before you begin” steps listed on another page (LINK GOES HERE). Once you are ready there are nine basic steps/exercises that you and your child can do to teach them how to be safe in the water. These steps were developed by Gretchen Mack, the founder of Water Babies Swim School.


1. Kicking
2. Dipping
3. Letting Go
4. Releasing
5. Turning Over and Floating
6. Pulling
7. Turning and Pulling
8. Into the Water From the Side
9. Having Fun


1. Kicking

You want to start by holding your baby on your should as if they were giving you a hug and then start walking backward so the baby gets the sensation of motion. You then use your hands to guide their legs until they get comfortable with the motion. Make sure that you are teaching you baby the correct way to kick and keeping their feet underwater.

2. Dipping

This is the most important step in teaching your baby how to swim. Place your dominant hand on the baby’s back and your other hand on the chest. Count to three (or countdown from three) and then blow on baby’s face and quickly dip their face in the water. You must blow on their face continuously until the face is completely underwater. When you are finished bring the baby back up to your chest and relax before trying again.

This is a good point to mention that sooner or later your baby (like the rest of us) will get water in their mouth. Do not freak out. See how your baby reacts; some will not think it’s a big deal, they will simply cough and keep right on going. The baby will pick up on your level of confidence so do not panic; remember that you are always in control. Also, never leave a lesson on a negative note.

3. Letting Go

This step is more for you, the parent, than for the baby. It gets you used to letting the baby go and it helps the baby to realize that they can float. Follow your order of the blow and dip; but this time when the baby is underwater let go of them for just a second.

4. Releasing

Once again put one your dominant hand on the baby’s back and the other one on the chest. Blow and dip and this time let got a little longer than the last time. Bring the baby back to your chest, relax and then try again. This helps the baby with their breathing control.

5. Turning Over and Floating

Start with the baby in front of you (not to the side) with one hand under each of baby’s arms. Countdown and blow on baby’s face. Lift out of the water and then turn them over on their back slowly. Let your weaker hand support the head and use your dominant hand to touch them and reassure them. The baby will squirm and fuss but be strong and stay in that position until the baby gets comfortable. This will help the baby realize that they can float on their own and will not sink.

6. Pulling

Put the baby’s head on your shoulder like a pillow. Move the baby down so that they are floating and gently move your hands away from their head. Rotate which hand leaves the head and have a continuous motion to get them used to being wet. Get it to where you and the baby are moving backward and they can get a sense of motion. When rotating your hands brush your thumbs near the ears to prevent the baby from turning their head and getting water in their mouth.

7. Turning and Pulling

Start with your baby in the dipping position in front of you. Dip, then lift and turn as in the previous exercise and then start pulling. Keep the motion going and eventually you should be able to momentarily release your baby and have them be able to be on their own.

8. Into the Water From the Side

Put the baby on the edge of the pool and get them comfy (try giving them a toy). Take hands on arms or elbows, wherever you are comfortable, and pull them forward into the water. Don’t submerge them just let them feel the forward motion. Do the same thing again but this time get their face wet. This will help the baby get used to falling from a height in case they were to ever fall in by accident.

9. Having Fun

In addition to just working on the skills here you also need to play with your baby in the water. Playtime allows children to take what they learned in their lessons and put it all together. It also helps them be comfortable in the water.




1. Kicking
2. Dipping
3. Letting Go
4. Releasing
5. Turning Over and Floating
6. Pulling
7. Turning and Pulling
8. Into the Water From the Side
9. Having Fun




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Before You Begin
Ages 2 and Under
Toddler: Ages 2-4
Ages 4 and Older
Swimming Beyond Lessons
Bibliography
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