Parents often ask us how to practice emerging swim skills when the family is at the pool or on vacation. We love how committed families are to helping their children develop into safer, independent swimmers.
Good news! There’s an any-time way to get some extra practice right in your own home – bath time!
Here are three things you can do during a bath that align with skills your child will learn at Big Blue.
Practice holding onto the wall and monkey walk.
Learning to get out of the water independently is a big part of water safety. At Big Blue, your child will learn to grasp and hold onto the wall. Then, they learn to shuffle their hands as they navigate toward a ladder or a safe place to get out. We call the shuffle the monkey walk.
In the tub, encourage your child to grasp and hold onto the edge when you tell them to. Then, have them model the monkey walk from one end of the tub, down the side, to the other.
Practice building breath control.
Pouring water over a baby or child’s head helps them anticipate pre-pour blinking, closing their eyes and holding their breath on their own. As they progress, we work on submersions. First, children submerge their mouths, then mouths and nose, then their eyes.
During a bath, countdown to pouring a small cup of water over your child’s head. As they gain comfort and confidence in the water, increase the amount of water and then ask them to show you how they submerge their face and blow bubbles.
A Big Blue tip: Try bubble-blowing before washing your child’s body or hair, so they aren’t blowing bubbles in soapy water. Of course, some little swimmers will want to blow bubbles either way!
Practice that back float.
In Big Blue lessons, we work with your child – first with assistance, then with more independence as they gain comfort – on their back float. This involves learning to balance in the water with ears submerged and belly up.
A back float is a critical step toward independent swimming and an important safety skill. It’s also a fun and easy bath activity!
Bathtime is a fantastic opportunity to build confidence in the water during a fun and relaxing time. Remember, there is no need to feel stressed about accomplishing each of these in any bath. It should be a fun and relaxing time you spend together that also builds your child’s comfort in and around water. Our lessons are highly individualized; each child learns at their own pace. The same happens at home in the bath! If your child isn’t comfortable with a skill, that’s ok. You can try again another time. There are endless baths in their future!