If you’ve ever seen kiddos at our school demonstrate a ‘jellyfish float’ where they’re face down and holding their breath in the pool, you might’ve wondered how such a skill will help them with their swimming technique. There are actually many benefits to that particular skill, but did you know it also doubles as one of our favorite breath control exercises?
You might not realize it, but swimming breathing is different than the breathing we do outside of the water. In order for your little one to become a strong, confident swimmer, they will absolutely need to master breath control. Here are a few fun ways you can help your kids practice holding their breath underwater:
Bob for Apples
As fall approaches, your family might already be dreaming of cooler weather and fun outdoor activities. A classic fall activity that we recommend adding to your list is bobbing for apples. Be sure to use clean, filtered water and pre-washed apples, and then have fun taking turns with your little one dunking their faces underwater as they try to grasp an apple with their teeth.
It’s not only a fun and silly activity, but it also gets them used to holding their breath over and over again. This helps increase stamina, and also gets them used to their faces being splashed which contributes to even greater overall comfort in the water.
Dive for Rings
As kids get more advanced in swimming they need to be able to hold their breath underwater for more extended periods. And when they work up to learning swimming strokes be able to alternate their breathing on both sides to master freestyle breathing. This is where diving for rings come into play.
Most kids can’t resist the urge to retrieve a colorful ring from a step, your ankle, or the bottom of the pool (depending on how deep they’re comfortable going). With every new depth they reach, they’re being trained to hold their breath even longer. Make a game out of it and they’ll have no idea they’re practicing their breath control while they play.
If your child is younger, or still needs some help with swimming breathing, blowing bubbles is one of the best ways to start. Incorporate blowing bubbles into a song and make sure you go first so they can see how it’s done. Stick your face in the water and blow the most outrageous bubbles you can, so your child can see how much fun you’re having and want to join along.
Getting into the habit of blowing bubbles helps babies and toddlers develop breath control and also get used to blowing out rather than accidentally sucking in the pool water. These are both very important skills for them to master before moving on in their swimming skills.
A key part of a strong swimming technique foundation is having breath control and ultimately mastering proper swimming breathing. Give these fun activities a go with your little ones and you’re sure to help them increase their stamina over time. Contact us to learn more about our swimming lessons for babies and kids, or to enroll your child in our swimming program.