Best way to learn to swim?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Parson's Wife, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    There are no swim classes located close to us, and my children are just fearless around water...I want them to learn to swim.
    When we (my husband is expert, but he learned by falling in) and I can swim some, though I'm not a fish. Hate water in my eyes and up my nose. I can get some pretty good speed.... point. What is the best way to teach your children, or maybe anyone, to swim?

    We have a 4ft pool. So for them it would be deep enough.
    Any suggestions?

    *As a note...drop them in and let'em not an option.
  2. seismic wonder2

    seismic wonder2 I got mad ninja skills

    Feb 3, 2007
    san diego ca
    What ever you do, DO NOT GO WITH THE ARM FLOATY THINGS!!!! Try not to have anything that floats in the pool. They will learn to rely on those things to keep them alive and not their own skills.

    If they aren't afraid of the water get them in and let them play.
    1. Show them they can get around faster horizontal than vertical.
    2. Then show them they can go further faster by kicking than just pushing off from the bottom.
    3. Then further faster by reaching out to grab a handful of water and pull themselves along.

    before they know it they know how to swim. They won't go to the olympics but you'll feel better about them being near water.

    Make games like, tag-ur it!, dive for quarters, or rings etc. Get them a snorkle, mask and fins to go "diving". They will learn very quickly on their own.
    Don't let them play the "dunking" games. They can be very tramatizing.
  3. newnanchic

    newnanchic Songster

    Jan 3, 2008
    Newnan, Georgia
    It will be easier for them to learn from somone other than your husband and yourself. Ask around at Church if some of the youth would be intrested in helping to teach them to swim. Good Luck !!!!
  4. warcard

    warcard Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    SE Indiana
    I agree that arm floats are a bad idea, they don't allow for natural arm movements. But it's not neccessairly (sp) bad to have floating items in the pool to help learn skills.

    #1 lesson - Floating (yourself)
    a) front float - just hold your breath and lean forward allowing your feet to lift off the ground, push down with cupped hands leaning back to take a breath
    b) back float - you will probably need to help them at first, Relax! put your arms out to the side, push off from the bottom and lean back, allow your legs to spread apart, RELAX! (this is the key, if you are tense you will sink)
    Some people naturally sink, if this is true (and not just a case of not relaxing) just move on to other skills.

    #2 - Kicking
    Hold onto the side of the pool and move legs up and down, try and keep the toes pointed, once they seem to get the hang of this and feel like they are putting pressure on the wall I would get a kickboard or boogie board. They can lean the top half of their body on the board while kicking. This will help them learn how to create efficent forward momentum while keeping their head out of the water. Once they are going forward well have them start holding onto the board lower and put their faces in the water. This is a sissor kick, you can do it on your front, side, or back and even with limited arm movements you can get somewhere. You can even drop the board entirely if you wish, keeping your hands clasped out in front like a dive position or held at your side.

    #3 - Armstrokes
    Holding onto the board, start kicking, take one hand off, push down into water and back along body, bring arm up out of the water and return to board. Repeat on other side. Again they should start to feel the extra push added by the stroke. Once they feel comfortable with the movement have them try it without the board. You can do this with the head out of the water but it is easier with the face in the water, add the face in the water as they feel more comfortable. At this point they have the basic idea of the crawl or freestyle stroke.

    There are more strokes and kicks (next easiest is normally the frog or breaststroke) but this is already getting a little long and should get you started.
  5. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Having officially faiiled beginner swimming myself 3x as a kid before finally passing on the 4th try...

    warcard has it right - start by getting them to float on their backs - use your hand to support them in the small of their backs and then less and less until they are finally floating on their own.

    Keeping their chin UP and forehead back, and tummy arched up will help.

    From there they learn the front float and so on... once they can back float they will learn they can be lighter than the water.

    Good luck!
  6. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    I agree that floating is absolutely necessary. Too many people wear themselves out in the water kicking and trying to swim or thrash around where if they had just floated in place their rescue would have been certain.

    My daughter was one of those fearless types and she HATED my husband or I trying to teach her. She kept telling us she knew how to swim - until she wanted to go down a slide at the pool and they required her to swim across the deep end first. She realized she couldn't do it and the deep water scared her. We weren't able to get her in swim lessons right after that, but we took a trip to Mexico where there was a pool with a slide into the deep end. She desperately wanted to use the slide but we told her we would not spend our whole vacation sitting at the bottom of the slide waiting for her. After that she took our advice and learned not to be afraid of the deep water, learned how to propel herself by kicking and dog paddling and how to float.

    Best of luck!
  7. English Chick

    English Chick English Mum

    Jun 27, 2008
    Cheshire UK
    [​IMG] Can't comment on this one ParsonsWife, I have never been able to swim! have tried to numerous times, but sink like a brick! just one of life's natural non-swimmers! [​IMG]
  8. kodiakchicken

    kodiakchicken Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Kodiak, Alaska
    English - isn't it odd how some people are like that? I have always been able to lie on my back and float for hours, and I'm not small person! A friend of our is very small though and no matter what, he sinks straight down.
  9. fullhouse

    fullhouse Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Kickboard and learning to float on your back are the two "big" things that help teach swimming in my opinion. I am a total fish!
  10. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    I learned to swim at a summer camp that my best friend begged my parents to send me along with her. They did 'Polar Bear' Swim lessons at 6am because the water was freezing. I learned to float and dog paddle first, so I wasn't afraid of water.

    My dad, however, just threw my brothers into a 15ft deep dam lake. My mother slapped the sh*t out of him and retrieved both of them before they sunk. They 'learned' to swim in the small above ground pool my mother bought later that year.

    I'd definitely say teach them to float on their backs and breathe calmly, when they get tired. That can really save their lives.

    Good luck!

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