Swim Blog

5 Swim Skills Your Preschooler Needs to Rock at the Pool

June 27, 2024
Preschool girl learning to swim

Hey there, parents! As the sun shines brighter and the temperature rises, the allure of splashing around in the pool becomes irresistible, especially for our energetic preschoolers. It’s a time for fun, laughter, and creating lasting summer memories. But amidst the joy, it’s crucial to remember the importance of water safety.

Equipping our little ones with essential swim skills can empower them to enjoy the water safely and confidently. So, let’s dive into the five must-have skills your preschooler needs to rock at the pool (and stay safe) this summer!

Blowing Bubbles: Breath Control for Underwater Fun

Have you ever noticed how kids instinctively blow raspberries? That’s their natural inclination to control their breath! This skill becomes super important in the water. Blowing bubbles helps kids get comfortable putting their faces in the water, a key step in learning to swim. It also teaches them how to exhale underwater and inhale when their face is out of the water – a fundamental for any stroke.

  • Bubble Games: Make it fun! Play bubble races, blow bubbles through straws, or see who can make the biggest bubble underwater.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Encourage your child to practice blowing bubbles in different water positions – on their tummy, back, and even while floating.

Kicking and Paddling: The Engine of Swimming

Kicking and paddling are the powerhouse moves that propel your little one through the water. Mastering these skills will help them move independently and gain confidence.

  • Flutter Kick: Teach your child to kick their legs up and down with straight legs and pointed toes. It’s like they’re kicking a soccer ball underwater!
  • Frog Kick: This one’s a bit trickier but super fun! Have them bend their knees, bring their feet together, and then kick their legs out to the sides before snapping them back together.
  • Dog Paddle: The classic doggy paddle is a great way to practice arm and leg coordination. Show your child how to “scoop” the water with their hands while kicking their legs.

Floating: Relax and Let the Water Do the Work

Floating is not just a relaxing pool activity; it’s a crucial survival skill. It teaches children to trust the water’s buoyancy and conserves energy in case they get tired or accidentally fall in.

  • Back Float: This is usually the easiest float for beginners. Have your child lie on their back, spread their arms and legs, and look up at the sky. Gently support their back and head until they feel comfortable.
  • Front Float: This one takes a bit more practice. Have your child lie on their tummy with their face in the water and arms extended forward. They can kick their legs gently to help them stay afloat.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Help your child practice floating with and without your support.

Submerging: Diving into Underwater Exploration

Getting comfortable underwater opens up a whole new world of fun! It’s important for learning to swim and staying safe in the water.

  • Start Slowly: Begin by encouraging your child to put their face in the water and blow bubbles. Once they’re comfortable, you can try dunking their head briefly while holding them securely.
  • Make it a Game: Play games like retrieving toys from the bottom of the pool or having underwater tea parties with their stuffed animals.
  • Build Confidence: Offer praise and encouragement as your child progresses.

Getting to the Wall: The Safety Exit Strategy

Knowing how to reach the wall or edge of the pool is a fundamental safety skill. It’s their escape route if they get tired or scared.

  • Swimming: If your child can swim, encourage them to practice swimming to the wall.
  • Rolling and Kicking: Teach them to roll onto their back and kick their legs to reach the wall.
  • Reach for Safety: Show them how to grab onto the edge of the pool or a flotation device if they need help.

Bonus Skill: Jumping In (Safely!)

Jumping into the water is a thrilling experience for kids and a great way to build confidence. Just make sure they do it safely!

  • Feet First: Always start with feet-first jumps until your child is a confident swimmer.
  • Safe Area: Ensure they jump into a deep enough area of the pool and away from any obstacles.
  • Adult Supervision: Never let your child jump into the water without adult supervision.

Ready, Set, Swim!

With these five essential swim skills (and a bonus jump!), your preschooler will be well on their way to becoming a confident and safe swimmer. Remember, practice, patience, and a whole lot of fun are the key ingredients to success.

And if you’re looking for expert guidance and a structured learning environment to help your little one master these skills, we invite you to check out our Preschool Aquatics program at The Swim Advantage in Orland Park. Our experienced instructors create a safe and supportive space for children to learn and grow in the water, building a lifelong love of swimming.