For some children, discovering the depths may seem terrifying and for others it can be a really exciting adventure! In any case, this stage of aquatic learning is particularly important in building up your child confidence in the water.
To accompany your child in his learning journey, some equipment can be very useful. It will allow him/her to learn and practice thanks to playful and varied situations, which are adapted to the level of a beginner young swimmer.
Discovering the water
This is the most important step because this is when your child encounters a new environment. He becomes familiar with water and discovers new sensations.
Learning to swim
Your child will start to move in the water alone. He will discover what makes him move forward and feel that the water is carrying him.
This is the most apprehended stage, especially by parents! At that time, your child will go underwater snorkeling. The goal is to teach him to plunge and move underwater without fear.
The aquatic learning pedagogy is divided into three stages, "Discovering water," "Discovering swimming," and finally "Discovering immersion." When the child goes through one of these steps and then progresses through them, he or she should do so while having fun!
In this article, we'll focus on the third stage of the aquatic discovery: swimming underwater, and we’ll tell you more about how to choose the immersion equipment best suited to your child's level of discovery.
Some children are more comfortable underwater than on the surface. Thus, the discovery of immersion can start as soon as the child controls his breathing in the water, which is usually at around 3 or 4 years old, and sometimes it is even before starting swimming. To know if your child is ready, just look to see if your child keeps his mouth closed when he puts it in the water, if he can hold his breath and finally, if he can make bubbles.
No-one can force a child to go underwater. Your child has to go at his own pace so he can feel comfortable and confident when discovering immersion for the first time.
If your child asks for swimming goggles, it can be useful. Although he will have to be able to open his eyes underwater without equipment, visual cues may help him to feel more comfortable underwater at the beginning.
When discovering immersion, games and playful situations are essential. Your child won’t have a buoyancy aid and therefore, his confidence will depend on your presence and on the situations he is facing.
This stage can begin even before your child starts swimming. However, you have to be patient, especially if your child is young! To start with, you can use weighted objects, that you can immerse at different depths. At first, put them at a shallow depth, so that your child can walk and stand. He/she will then be able to focus on immersion more effectively.
The diving rings are a popular tool for professionals to approach this stage of aquatic learning. They are resistant and highly visible due to their bright colour.
For older children who approach immersion with apprehension, it’s good to emphasize on the playful side of the situation while limiting the loss of markers for the child. Immersion assistance handles (Ticrawl) are perfect for meeting those criteria. They allow the child, who has sufficiently developed coordination, to find land support in the water even if he or she does not have foot. Against the wall, the child will be able to learn to move sideways and then to dive into the water at his own pace, like a salamander.
Once the child is no longer afraid to put his head underwater, he must learn to do so head first, then by swimming as long as possible. For this, nothing beats the classic game of "passing between the legs."
So that you can participate as well, and thus make the exercise even funnier, you can use the water arches: Aquaway Diving Game. The larger the arch, the easier it is to pass underneath. And with several arches, your child can try to cover the greatest possible distance.
For it to be even more playful and fun, the immersion aid handles (Ticrawl) Swimming Game, can be really useful. They will allow your child to hold on to the bottom of the water and work on coordination without realizing it, moving forward further and further. He will also be able to see that, without these small suction cups, his body will rise. And yes! The body is floating!!!