Is it important for a child to swim?
Learning to swim properly: this is guaranteed to work!
Learning to swim properly does not work until the age of five at the earliest
Getting used to the water cannot be started early enough - preferably as early as infancy as part of baby swimming. Of course, the little ones don't really learn to swim in the process. Baby swimming also has no influence on later swimming ability. Many swimming pools now also offer water habituation courses for children aged three and over. Here, water-shy children are relieved of their fear of the element of water with lots of fun and games and the little ones practice important prerequisites for later swimming and diving, e.g. B. Hold your breath while submerging. In addition, doing sports in a group is not only fun but also healthy.
From around the age of four, children can stay afloat for a short time by treading water. In the USA almost all children learn the so-called "doggie paddle" first and then go straight to the crawl. The relatively simple sequence of movements of the crawl, which does not yet require regular breathing, can be learned by children from around five years of age.
Regular breaststroke often only works from the age of six, because the cooperation of arms and legs requires body coordination that children only develop when they reach school age. Once a child has gained some experience and confidence in the water, they can also learn to swim back.
- My tip for learning to swim:
Children should only learn to swim if they can cycle safely without training wheels. Then coordination and motor skills are so well developed that swimming technique no longer causes them any major problems.
It is best for your child to learn to swim before they start school. School swimming is often only offered as a sport from the third grade and of course a teacher who is alone in the swimming pool with 25 children cannot look after individual children individually. By the way, girls are usually a little more skilled at learning to swim. Boys often use too much force, which is rather unfavorable when swimming, since it depends on well-measured movements.
Swimming: sport and water fun at the same time
For the little ones it is enough if they play, splash and splash in knee to waist-high water under constant supervision. It becomes particularly interesting with the right toys: a plastic doll for bathing, sand molds for scooping, ships made of plastic or paper, buckets or cups with holes through which the water runs out, colorful, inflated balloons ... You can also give your child a frisbee and let them float on the water. How many pebbles can it fill in before the disc goes down? If your child is already in kindergarten, they can crawl, crawl or roll around in shallow water (knee-deep maximum). You will have a lot of fun with our following exercises in chest-deep water (don't forget your armbands!):
- Barge: Your child lies on their back in the water with their head in your hands. Step backwards and slowly drag your child through the water. If straight ahead gets too boring, you can also make generous curves.
- Racing boat: If possible, your child needs a swimming board for this. It can lie on it with its back or stomach and you take it by the feet and push it through the water as fast as you can. Your child learns to keep their body straight.
- Rocket: Encourage your child to push off the edge of the pool or stairs and slide in the water. This works best when your child lies prone in the water, keeps his arms stretched over his head (palms facing down or against each other) and trunk and legs are also stretched. Initially, show your child a few times.
Danger! Children under three years of age do not yet have a sense of direction in the water. Once their heads are submerged, they often cannot find their way to the surface and can even drown in knee-deep water! Swimming aids such as armbands or swimming seats do not provide reliable protection against drowning. On the contrary: it is difficult for smaller children to straighten up after capsizing.
Learn to swim with the child yourself?If you are a keen swimmer yourself and are not overly impatient, you can practice swimming with your child on your own. Parents who do not feel completely safe in the water would do well to enroll their child in a swimming course. If you are unsure yourself, you cannot give your child the necessary feeling of security in the water to learn to swim. Another advantage of a professional swimming instructor is that they have more experience in teaching swimming movements in a way that is child-friendly and in small steps. And of course, most children have more fun and motivate them when they learn to swim with their peers.
You should pay attention to this when choosing a swimming pool!
The swimming pool should have a pleasant water temperature (above 30 degrees if possible) so that you and your child can enjoy the sport. And of course the water has to be clean. If you smell the smell of chlorine when you enter the swimming pool, something is wrong with the quality of the water. The well-known smell of chlorine does not come from the chlorine itself, but from the reaction of the chlorine with urine and sweat. Your child should also not come home with red eyes after swimming, this could be an indication of too much chlorine in the water.
How long does it take before your child can swim?
You should allow around 20 hours of 30-minute practice until your child is ready to get their "seahorse" badge. For the "seahorse" it has to swim 25 meters, jump into swimming deep water and be able to pick up an object in chest-deep water from the ground. But with a swimming course alone or with the “seahorse”, children cannot swim safely and persistently. You should then go swimming with your child as regularly as possible or, after a few months, let your child take an advanced course. Very important when swimming: keep calm, give lots of praise and keep encouraging if your swimming still doesn't work out as hoped. In particular, switching to a different swimming pool, swimming without a trusted instructor or first swimming experience in the sea or at a lake can completely set little newcomers back. If suddenly nothing works: be patient, after a short period of acclimatization, during which you should give your child extra encouragement, things usually work better again quickly.
- Danger! After the hard-earned badge, children are easily prone to overestimating themselves. So you shouldn't let your child out of your sight in the water! When swimming in the sea and in wave pools (wave pools are only for experienced swimmers!), Children get into danger particularly quickly. Basically, it's best to swim alongside. If the surf is strong, you should not let your child into the sea up to the knee.
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