Editor’s Note: This is the second post in our three-part series focused on teaching children to swim with the SwimWays Swim Steps program. The steps include Swim Step 1: Water Introduction, Swim Step 2: Water Exploration, and Swim Step 3: Swim Training. Swim along with us and teach your child the skills of a lifetime!
Congratulations! If your child has completed the skills in Swim Step 1, you’re ready to walk them through Swim Step 2! This step is about helping your child gain some independence and more confidence in the water. Here is where they’ll begin to paddle and kick, which are important building blocks for their future swim training.
Here’s a list of skills your child will be working on in SwimSteps 2: floating, kicking, splashing, and paddling! They’ll be building muscle coordination and balance in this step as well. At this stage, your child should be wearing a flotation aid, such as; Swim Vest, Float Shorty or Swim Sweater. (Please note that our Swim Steps flotation aids aren’t life-saving devices and are only meant for swim training. We do however, have kids PFD life vests here!)
There are so many positive effects of teaching your children to swim at an early age. Studies show that children who are taught to swim by the age of 5 have increased confidence, are ahead in their cognitive and physical development and are more likely to have higher IQ’s (due to an early exposure to sensory and motor stimuli in the water). Learning this skill by this age can also help in developing math skills. Finally, better oral expression and social skills are also wonderful benefits of swimming.
1. Touch Supervision
It’s very important that you stay within arm’s reach of your child (known as Touch Supervision) while they continue to explore the water in this step. This will help to build trust and security in the pool, as well as gain some independence.
2. Fun + Instruction
Combine your little one’s swim training with time spent with a swim instructor and time directed at having fun in the pool. You can even use floating pool toys such as Pick Me Up Pelican. Place the floating toys around the pool and as your child begins to swim over to collect them, they’ll be developing hand-eye coordination, balance, and confidence! But remember to stay within arm’s reach of your child.
3. Breath Control
Breath control is the next step, and a great way to do this is by using games. Lower and raise a toy above and below the surface of the water. Make sure they also have goggles to keep water out of their eyes.
After you’re child has completed these skill sets, and is between the ages of 4-6, they’ll be ready for Swim Step 3!
Be sure to take a look at the video on Swim Step 2 training. And don’t forget to use your other resources: review the American Red Cross water safety checklist and visit our resources page on TeachMeToSwim.com.