One basic swimming skill anyone needs to master is proper breath control. It’s about finding your rhythm when you inhale above the water and exhale while you’re submerged in it.
It’s especially important to take time to teach children proper breath control while they are learning formal swim strokes. When kids are more confident with their water breathing skills, swimming becomes easier and a lot less scary for them, making it a more fun experience.
But how do you teach young kids how to breathe properly underwater? Check out these fun and easy breathing exercises for swimming, in and out of the water.
The Importance of Teaching Proper Breath Control
Learning how to hold your breath longer underwater allows your child to swim faster and experiment with all sorts of swimming strokes. That way, they can enjoy more of their time in the pool without struggling to do any of the exercises or play games with their friends.
Exhaling properly while underwater also helps your child release tension and stress, making swimming more relaxing. If they’re not confident in their ability to breathe while swimming, they might feel overwhelmed and panicky as they swim.
Breath control is also beneficial for your child’s mental health. Deep breathing (and knowing how to do it right) is amazing for relieving anxiety in children. This will help them not only in the pool but also in dealing with the stresses of everyday life.
Don’t know where to start with teaching your child proper breath control? Here are several tips on how to teach your child to breathe while swimming, before and during their time in the pool.
Breathing Exercises to Try Before Hitting the Water
Play in the bathtub
In the days leading up to their swimming lesson, try to let your child play in the bathtub more. To prep them for breath control lessons, gently pour water down their face while in the bath. This will train them to practice holding their breath when there’s water on their face.
Bob for apples
A fun way to help teach them to hold their breath longer underwater is to bob for apples. This is the perfect game to play during the autumn season or Halloween, but can be done at any time of the year!
Simply fill up a big bucket with water and throw a few apples in it. Challenge your kid to take an apple out of the bucket with their mouth; no hands are allowed.
This is an awesome opportunity for your kid to practice breath control even when they’re out of the pool. Make it a family affair with mom and dad joining in for extra fun!
Guided deep breathing exercises
To exercise your child’s lungs before they get into the swimming pool, give them some easy deep breathing exercises.
Guide them by counting down how long they should hold their breath. An easy deep breathing exercise would be to ask them to inhale, hold their breath for five seconds, and then exhale.
Not only will this help increase their stamina for when they learn breath control in the pool, but it can also calm their nerves when they’re feeling anxious.
Breathing Exercises for Swimming in the Pool
Bob up and down to make bubbles
One of the simplest breathing exercises for swimming is bobbing to produce bubbles underwater. This is something even a beginner swimming student should be able to do.
While holding the pool’s edge in a shallow part of the pool, let your child inhale with their mouth, bob their head into the pool, blow bubbles out of their nose underwater, and come back up again. Doing this about 5-10 times in a row can help them find their rhythm when breathing underwater.
This is a great breathing exercise for kids because it allows them to get used to filling their lungs with air and then expelling that air underwater. It also teaches them that they are, in fact, in control of their breathing while they swim.
Let them ride on your back
Let your child ride on your back if you’re swimming with them. Make sure their arms are wrapped around your neck. Then, simply go up and down the water while carrying your child. This will teach them to hold their breath when they know they’re about to go underwater and to refill their lungs with air when they go above the water.
Some roleplay action might be extra fun for you and your kid, too! Pretend to be a shark or dolphin while doing this for the extra giggles.
Challenge them to look for toys or coins underwater
Playing fun games in the pool is an excellent way to encourage your child as they take swimming lessons. You can even help them hone their breath control skills in the guise of a competitive game, like racing to find rings or toys underwater for a prize. That way, they practice holding their breath for a long time underwater without even realizing it.
The prize can be anything that will excite and encourage them to do well in the challenge, like a treat after their swim lessons or getting to pick their favorite show for screen time.
Mastering Breath Control Makes Swimming More Fun
Breath control may be intimidating for young kids at first. But with proper training and fun exercises to help them practice, they’ll master the skill in no time.
Remember to be patient if your child is scared of breathing in the water at first. Reassure them that they’re in a safe environment and come up with fun breathing exercises to get them excited to learn.
Ready to teach your child how to breathe properly in the pool? Check out our swim programs and see which one is best for your child. Whether you prefer a group or a private one-on-one swim lesson, we’re here to make sure your child is confident in their breath control each time they go for a swim.