DIY Teach Your Child How to Swim
Skill #4: Front Glide with Kicks
Goal: Keep the whole body on top of the water face down in a horizontal position, while moving forward by kicking.
Remember to continue practicing Skill #1: Get Your Face Wet, Skill #2: Blow Bubbles and Skill #3: Front Float every time you go to the pool. Learning how to swim is a lifelong process. You are helping your child foster a healthy relationship with water, which will benefit him positively for the rest of his life.
Front Glide with Kicks
This skill can be introduced as an extension of Skill #3 (Front float). Support your child in front of you in a horizontal position on the surface of the water. Reach your arms out and with your thumbs on the back of the knees, keep her legs straight and help her kick to make little splashes on top of the water. Walk backward to show that the effort is moving her forward.
- Pay attention to body position, which needs to be horizontal, NOT vertical. If legs are “bicycling,” use your hands to help kick with her entire leg. This is important because with muscle memory your child can develop maximum efficiency. If you are working with infants, be sure to support the head and neck so your child’s face doesn’t fall into the water. Then, practice putting her face in the water and/or blowing bubbles.
- If this is a difficult skill for your child or if she is kicking with crazy legs all over the place, help her out. Use your hands to help her kick properly for 5 seconds, then let go and have her practice by herself for 5 seconds. Although perfect stroke technique is not the focus right now, it is important to make corrections for proper body position.
Kicks can be powerful and create propulsion, so they are an important swimming skill to learn. Kids can practice kicking on the steps, on the wall, with a kick board, and even on the floor or in bed! With your help, your child will have efficient kicks in no time.
To start out, you can practice on the steps, as seen in the video below…
The safety tip I’d like to give is to learn CPR. It is important to know infant, child and adult CPR as an added layer of safety. The next blog post in this series will cover DIY Teach Your Child How to Swim Skill #5: Arm Pulls. 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.
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