Swimming can be described as the ability for one to move harmoniously through the water. Swimming is a very wonderful thing especially to infants and children who are in the process of growing. It is good for their growth, health and fitness. However, it is wise for every parent and swimming teacher to take caution while imparting swimming lessons to children.
Learning swimming is a process and not a product. Therefore, a standard well designed swim lesson plan for infants should be put in place and adhered to by both the teacher and the parent.
Although most pediatricians do not approve of infant swimming, infants from as old as 6 months to 6 years can be taught swimming and be very good at it. To learn about swimming, it is important that these terms may be understood; Underwater swim-this is swimming while the face is immersed in water.
Pass hold-this is done when the parent’s/teacher’s hands are under the child’s armpit while both are facing the same direction and the child is beside the one holding them.
With this in mind, a swim lesson plan for infants as well as a swim lesson guide for novice teachers can include a sample progression as this;
Pass 1: Face-above-the-water
Here, with the child held in a horizontal direction, they are gently glided on the surface of the water using pass hold from one point to another in a child pace. The face of the child should always be kept above the waters at this stage. Only when the child has fully demonstrated comfortability with immersing their face in water should the next step be taken.
Pass 2: Brief underwater
This step is similar to step #1 except that here, while the child is gently being glided across the surface of the water, their faces are immersed into the water for 2 seconds. Giving a start signal at any step is advised since this prepares the child to be ready. Care should be taken so that the child should swallow water for health reasons.
Pass 3:Underwater swim
As the child continues to show progress, the duration of facial immersion can be lengthened to such that only 3 or 4 seconds is spent on the surface during a pass. Immersion is not dunking the whole body into the water. Parts of the head and the back should be on the surface as the push is made gently and subtly.
Pass 4: Extended underwater swim
Essentially, for a basic swimming lesson, this step is taken as the top most. The length of immersing a child’s face can be extended slightly by one or two seconds. However, the child is the one to determine when and for how long the extended time should be. The key to success for swim lesson plan for infants is for the teacher to be in a position to learn the signals communicated by the child such as eyes, expression of the face, exhalation of air among others. For instance, an exhalation means that inhalation will follow consequently. Therefore, the child should be brought on the surface to breath.
In all these steps, the teacher should progressively be very close to the child for safety even as new swimming techniques are being explored. Furthermore, the teacher should be non-aggressive with the child and with a smiling face. The child should be taught water safety also.