DIY Teach Your Child How to Swim
Skill #1: Get Your Face Wet
Goal: Put your entire face comfortably into the water and open your eyes.
The most important skill that every single individual must learn is getting your face wet. Trust me- it’s such a simple task that only takes a few minutes during bath time. And it will have a positive influence on your child for the rest of his life.
Do not use towels or bath visors or anything to shield your child’s face from water. Please understand that although you may think you are helping, you are doing your child a serious disservice by ‘protecting’ his face from the water. It’s just water and it’s completely natural to have water on one’s face. Water is a huge, destructive force of nature, but it is also calming, therapeutic and magical. In order to survive in water, one must have a healthy respect for it, so it’s best to teach your child in a controlled, safe environment.
Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1-4 years. – Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Trust me, swimming lessons involve putting your face in the water. No matter what age or ability I’m teaching, I start every single lesson with water on the face. I don’t care if your 4, 14, 40 or 84. You need to be comfortable with water on your face.
You can save yourself a lot of time, money and tears if you follow these basic steps. Trust me, your future swim instructor will thank you. Remember, these are lifesaving skills that your child will use for the rest of his life.
*Don’t use goggles. Learning how to swim should be as minimal as possible.
If your child is apprehensive, it’s especially important to make him comfortable. Start with the temperature of the water. Putting your face in water that is too cold or too hot is not only uncomfortable but also unsafe. I teach in pools that are 85-93 degrees. The bath is the perfect place to start.
Pour water over your head:
- Use the cue “1, 2, 3” to gently pour a cup of water on your child’s arms.
- Repeat the cue to pour water on the shoulders, back, belly, then over the head.
- Let water trickle down the face.
Use the same cue every time. Do not use a towel or visor to wipe their eyes. Simply have them blink the water out.
Put your face in the water:
- Both you and your child – put your chin in the water for 1 second. Do the same with your mouth, nose, eyes and entire face. Repeat the sequence for 2 seconds, then 3, 4 and 5.
- Things to remember: “It’s just water. The water is our friend. Blink, blink, blink.”
The next blog post in this series will cover DIY Teach Your Child How to Swim Skill #2: Blow Bubbles. Please share this with any parents, grandparents or caregivers that work with children and can benefit from this educational information. It could save a child’s life. Check out the Do-it-Yourself Teach Your Child How to Swim Packages: