Teaching Kids How To Breathe When Swimming

I have a problem knowing which is the best way of teaching kids how to breathe when swimming. I need to know what is the best way.

Do I teach bubble breath 1st then bi-lateral? At one pool I did training at, this is what they do. But at this pool I am at now there is no guidance on this so I am doing drills etc. but do not want to waste the child's time in learning.

You will be hard-pushed to find a black-and-white ABC guide to teaching kids how to breathe when swimming. Something that works for one child may not be so successful with another.

You are quite right to start with blowing bubbles but even that does not always work on every child, particularly very young kids. Some of them simply will not blow because they are too scared or have no clue as to exactly what you want them to do.

For very young children, pretending to blow out candles on their birthday cake is usually a winner as it is something they can associate with. If they do not want to blow bubbles, then blowing across the water's surface will do to start. You can then move on blowing small toys and floating objects along the water's surface.

You mention in your question that you are doing drills, which suggests to me that you are teaching some slightly older children that can already swim. Which drills you choose will depend on the swimming stroke being taught.

Children that can swim and understand the teaching points of a specific swimming drill will always benefit from performing it regardless of their ability to breathe.

Effective Steps To Work Through

To go from blowing bubbles to bi-lateral breathing there are many stages in between, and I guess that is what you are really asking me. Those stages are very much defined by the individual as they learn and progress at their own pace. If you want a basic outline, try the following:

  1. Blowing bubbles with just the mouth in the water, letting the bubbles tickle the nose
  2. Blowing bubbles with mouth and nose in the water
  3. Holding their breath and submerging mouth only, or mouth and nose
  4. Completely submerging the face (maybe wearing swim goggles if necessary), holding their breath or blowing bubbles
  5. Any of the above combined with practising a swimming stroke or drill, either with buoyancy aids or without depending on age and ability

Every aspect of swimming involves some kind of breathing technique. From simple blowing bubbles whilst swimming along to performing push and glides and star floats to diving down under the water to pick up an object. Every time one of these is performed, some kind of breathing technique is required.

Fun Is The Key

As a new teacher, it is nice to see you are conscious of wasting a pupil's time, but as long as the swimming lesson is fun, there will be no issues with ensuring they learn.

Make your swimming lessons fun in a constructive way by using toys, sinkers, and games.

Part of the lesson should be focusing on technique, and then the fun elements can be a welcome distraction from learning for the children. If they are carefully constructed they will be learning by default as the fun stuff involves all elements of swimming anyway and their strength and stamina will be enhanced in the process.

If you find a happy balance then you will become a popular and successful swimming teacher.

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