Any tips on teaching kids how to float in the water? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if this is in the wrong forum but I wasn't sure where to put it. My DS (almost 5) has been taking swimming lessons on and off for a couple of years. Last summer he also swam with us a lot in our complex pool and could swim under water fairly well, but not with his head out. The problem is, he's stalled at 'level 2' (there are 6 levels for 3-6 year olds) in his lessons because he can't float on his back for 5 seconds. He can do everything else and has been able to for ages. It's basic stuff like putting his head under and practicing arm and leg action while supported. I'd really like him to progress a bit more before the summer but he has to be able to float first. He's a very active kid and he just can't relax enough to float. Does anyone have any tips? The teachers always seem to have back to back lessons so there's no chance to ask them anything. Thanks 

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#2 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 02:35 PM
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Can you get one private lesson to help him out?  we wound up quitting the leveled lessons and going private with my boys because they could. not. float.  they are 13 and 15 now and are safe/competent, although they will never be competitive swimmers.

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#3 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 04:40 PM
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I would suggest either trying lessons somewhere else (where the instructors may approach things differently) or a private lesson to work on this skill.  The main issue with my kids tends to be keeping their bellies up and their toes pointed down in the water.  In our swim program, they start by supporting the child under the back, then to supporting just their head (this keeps the head out of the water while you can coach correct body float position), then supporting under the head with 1 or 2 fingers (mostly for security) and then to independent backfloat.

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#4 of 4 Old 03-13-2012, 05:25 PM
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A lot of kids struggle with back float 'cause they may get a wash of water over their face the first few times. Positioning can be really key, especially for kids with little body fat, they tend to float more vertically. Have dc try a star position (arms & legs spread) or, if that doesn't work, pencil position (legs straight & arms straight above head). Dc should also be looking slightly back so their chin is raised. A good cue for many is "ears in the water, toes in the water" which helps them stretch out their body. Also have dc count really slowly to 5 before they stop as many kids will assume the right position but then stand up again before they've settled into a proper float.


Hope that helps some.

Doula mama to dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08) and expecting (Apr '17)
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