Learning how to swim freestyle and mastering different strokes can help keep children safe while in the water. They’re essential swim skills that every child should know.
This article will discuss the benefits of teaching your child how to swim early and how to teach freestyle swimming to kids. We’ll share four fun activities you can do with your kids to help them learn the basics of freestyle swimming.
Why Kids Should Learn How to Swim Early
Teaching your child how to swim at an early age equips them with essential skills that will benefit them as they grow older.
These benefits include staying safe in the water, as well as the following:
Swimming engages your child’s muscles and offers a safe and effective workout they’ll enjoy. For this reason, swimming promotes muscle development, builds strength, and works on creating muscle memory.
It also improves cardiovascular fitness since it can keep their heart rate up without too much impact stress on their body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming can improve your child’s mood.
Like all forms of exercise, it releases endorphins and hormones in the brain that make people happy. As a result, swimming can lower your child’s stress and anxiety and improve their sleeping patterns.
Group swimming lessons are an opportunity for your child to meet people of the same age and swimming ability, which helps them make lifelong friends and improve their social skills, thus boosting their self-esteem.
These lessons may also involve activities and games encouraging children to work together and improve their team-building skills.
How to Swim Freestyle: The First Step for Kids
Now that we have established the importance of developing your child’s swimming skills, it’s time to dive deeper into how to teach a kid to swim freestyle.
Freestyle swimming is ideal for kids and beginners as the movements involved come naturally. Here are several activities they can do at home to make learning the technique easier.
Proper breathing technique goes a long way when teaching kids how to swim freestyle. To help them do this, you can ask kids to blow bubbles by having them submerge their mouth and nose underwater, inhaling above the water, and only exhaling the bubbles when they are back underwater.
You can work on breathing with your kids in your own bathtub at home before introducing them to the pool. Once at the pool, you can assist your child by practicing freestyle breathing. They should be able to exhale underwater and inhale with their head above water facing sideways.
Proper breathing techniques will help your child get used to exhaling and inhaling air instead of accidentally swallowing pool water. To make the breathing lessons fun, you can even incorporate them into a song or through rhythmic counting.
Leg Movements or Kicking
Your child must also learn to keep their toes pointed and legs straight when swimming freestyle. You can have your child lie down on a flat surface and practice kicking their legs alternately, while keeping them parallel. One way to make this even more fun is to play “Red Light, Green Light” to encourage stopping and starting kicking.
When they are confident enough, they can then do this in the pool using a kickboard until they are used to the leg movements. Remind them not to kick too hard, as this will only tire them.
There are specific techniques for perfecting freestyle arm movement. You can start by asking your kid to lie in a horizontal position where they can freely move their arms.
To demonstrate proper arm movement, they must keep their arms outstretched, then move their limbs in a circular motion alternately.
Once they are used to the movement, you can teach them the proper technique. Their elbow must lead the arm out of the water before stretching outward to follow the length of their body. They may then drop their arm back down into the water and extend it to propel them forward.
It is important that your child understands the concept of this pattern and glides without using too much energy. Similar to teaching them leg movements, your kid can practice the exercise in the pool using a kickboard.
When performing the freestyle swimming technique, the correct positioning of the head is crucial to ensure proper breathing and help your child avoid swallowing pool water. This may also prevent neck and shoulder pains.
In the pool, you can ask your kid to submerge their head and look towards the bottom of the pool. Remind them not to raise their heads to look in the direction in which they are swimming, as it is important to keep the entire body parallel with the floor.
You can also teach your child to move or turn their head along with their entire body while their arm is moving. The movements of their head and body should always be synchronized.
When to Enroll Your Kids at a Swim Clinic
Swimming lessons can be fun for both children and parents alike. But, while freestyle swimming is easy to learn, it’s not always the easiest to teach to kids. For this reason, you may want to consider enrolling your child in weekly group swim lessons.
Through formal swimming lessons, you can rest easy knowing your children are in safe hands and learning from a professional. Your kids can also learn swimming techniques alongside other kids, making these lessons more fun and allowing them to form lifelong friendships.