Teaching Terms, Explanations and Glossary 0 – 4 years

This document has been designed as a resource for swimming teachers. Teachers are provided with a comprehensive index of teaching terms. This information not only includes the teaching term but outlines why the skill is important and how to teach a particular swimming skill.

Teachers should use this comprehensive guide in conjunction with the lesson plans.
Assisted Paddle
Back Floating
Breathing
Bubble and Breathing
Climbing out of the Pool
Conditioning
Crocodile
Diving for Rings
Free Floating
Grips
Holds
Independent Swimming
Kicking
Submersion
Swim Arounds
Streamline Floating/Kicking
Turning

Assisted Paddles
Until the age of four children do not have the fine motor skills required to perform the correct freestyle action. They can however gain great propulsion long before this time by using their arms.
We teach the paddling action in the same way that we teach kicking. We use “word action association” and the teaching axiom “show practice”. In this way we can instil motor patterns that will assist in the correct mastery of this skill.
1) Stand and raise one knee
2) Sit the child on your knee
3) Place your thumb on child’s wrist
4) Place your fingers on the back of the hand
5) Move hands under water in front of the child
6) Make sure the water applies pressure to the child’s palms.
7) Say “paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle”
8) Allow them to practice
9) Alternate “show, practise”

Back Floating
Back floating has received a lot of attention in recent years. Today many infant aquatic programs stress the importance of teaching back floating techniques, to make babies “drown proof” in the water. Parents and teachers should understand:

• No child is safe in or around water unless accompanied by an adult.
• Most children resist back floats once they can sit up – for this reason children often become distressed and protest back floating activities.

At World Wide Swim School we do not stress back floating as a lifesaving technique and we do not force children to back float. Forcing back floating is extremely detrimental to the learn-to-swim process as children develop an immediate dislike and fear of the water.

World Wide Swim School believes children should be encouraged to participate voluntarily in back floating activities. There are many ways to encourage back floating. They include;

• Sing a song while they lay back e.g. “twinkle, twinkle, little star”
• Hold a toy above the child’s head for them to see
• Tell them to look for an airplane or butterfly in the sky
• Hold a plastic mirror above their head ask child “who can you see?”

There are many different techniques that we can use to teach your child to back float. The most important thing to remember for all techniques is encourage your baby to relax via communication, song, eye contact and stimulus.

Positions To Relax Baby Include:
Cheek to Cheek/Shoulder
Sink low in the water so that your shoulders are just below the surface of the water. In this position you rest your baby’s head on your
shoulder. Gently hold baby under the armpit or simply surround them in your arms and croon gently to them. This cheek to cheek action
helps baby feel secure and relaxes them.

Cradle Hold
Hold baby in normal cradle position. Sink baby down low in water so that their ears are submerged. Lean over and look baby in the eye. You can croon and communicate. This position is perfect to maintain eye contact and make baby feel secure.

Lap
In this position, parents or teachers sit on the ledge and allow baby to lie back supported on the upper thighs. Parent can look over baby
maintaining eye contact while continuing verbal and visual communication. Gradually spread the legs to allow more flotation.

Mat Floating
Lie baby on a soft rubber floating mat. Allow water to wash in and surround baby. Let the water cover baby’s ears. Baby should never be left unattended on the mat. Surround baby with plenty of toys and keep communicating at all times.

Supporting Neck and Back
In the open water parents lay baby back, placing one hand on baby’s neck/shoulders while the other hand supports the lower back/bottom. Do not hold the head. Parents should lean over baby get eye contact and make verbal and visual communication.

Breathing
At World Wide Swim School we do not introduce breathing into the lesson until the age of two and a half. Furthermore, breathing should not be introduced unless children have a high standard of execution in all the prerequisite learn to swim principals which include breath control, submersion, free floating, propulsion and turning.

Once children lift their head in learning to breathe, it becomes more difficult for them to maintain a horizontal swimming position. In many instances, children appear to regress in their in their swimming ability each time they take a breath. Often they begin to bob up and down vertically each time they take a breath….

This can be frustrating for both parent and child as the child struggles to get his/her head out of the water. Physical strength and frequency in the water plays a large part in a child’s ability to breathe.

To avoid vertical swimming, we start teaching breathing when children’s physical strength and understanding improves. This stage is usually at two and a half years of age for a child who is swimming twice a week. Children with more exposure to water will be capable of breathing earlier.

Good skill acquisition is achieved by using horizontal breathing drills.

Breathing On The Ledge
During the early stages of breathing we do not teach explosive breathing techniques. Explosive breathing is when a swimmer blows bubbles. We begin to teach breathing by having children lie on the ledge with their face in the water.

Ask them to lift their head out of the water on the count of 3. We count “One two three head up!…. Face in!…… One two three head up! … Face in….”. If we teach this way, children will learn to inhale and exhale naturally while lying in a horizontal position. We want them to duplicate this breathing in open water.

Breathing With A Kickboard
Once children are competent breathing on the ledge they should duplicate this action using a kickboard. Children are encouraged to keep their arms straight with their face in the water. Count “One two three head up!…. Face in!…… One two three head up! … Face in….”

Kick and Breathe With a Kickboard
Using progressive teaching we now allow the child to kick with the kickboard and lift their head to take a breath. These initial breaths will be quite primitive.

Encourage straight arms for balance and have the child take just one good breath before you catch them. One good breath is better than ten bad ones. Catch the child and balance them on your arms to duplicate ledge breathing.

Swim, Lift and Breathe

When the child is competent breathing with a kick board we encourage paddling and breathing using a rhythmical technique. Walk in front of the child and call “paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, lift and breathe”. Give a visual paddling demonstration with your hands under water. On the words ‘lift and breathe’ place your hands under the child’s hands and assist them up to breathe. Watch to see the child take a breath then gently lower them back under the water.

Bubble and Breathing
During the 3 to 4 age group we begin to introduce explosive or bubble breathing. We can encourage the child to bubble and lift their head for a breath. We do not introduce bubbling before this time because once children expel their air they need to breathe and can no longer swim long distances without lifting their head.

By encouraging children to bubble too early it can become a game. Children will want to blow bubbles, limiting the distance that they are capable of swimming. Our breathing techniques before this age simply focus on the child lifting their head for a breath and putting their face back in the water. The child will inhale and exhale naturally.

Bubble and Breathe On The Ledge
This exercise is similar to breathing on the ledge, however we now instruct the child to blow bubbles under water. Repeat, “Bubble, bubble, bubble, lift for a breath, bubble, bubble, bubble, lift for a breath”.

Climbing Out of the Pool
As children’s physical strength increases, we can encourage them to climb out of the pool. We use a verbal description instructing the child “elbow, elbow, knee, knee”. In the learning process children will require gentle assistance. Parents should gradually reduce the amount of assistance until the child can perform the activity independently.

Conditioning
Conditioning is a stimulus response method used to teach baby to hold their breath in response to the verbal trigger “ready go”. This stimulus response method of conditioning teaches baby to hold their breath on command.

Conditioning is very important as it prepares baby for their first underwater experience outside the womb. Conditioning ensures baby’s first submersions are free from fuss or trauma.
1) Sit baby upright
2) Get baby’s attention
3) Use the trigger words “baby’s name, ready go”
4) Wait one second
5) Pour a full cup of water on baby’s forehead – the water runs smoothly, quickly and evenly so baby does not ingest water
6) Congratulate baby
7) Use coloured toys and objects for distraction

Crocodiles
Crocodiling is a perfect skill to encourage children to perform long, slow, arm extensions. These arm extensions are what teachers want children to duplicate when they attempt the paddling action.

In crocodiles children propel themselves along a shallow ledge using their arms. Their legs should float behind and straight like a crocodile’s tail. During this exercise children should be encouraged to keep their face underwater.

Diving For Rings
Don’t perform this activity until children have great breath control and are totally comfortable in the water. Taking children to the bottom of the pool is a big step.

In first dives to the bottom parents should submerge with the child.
1) Show child the diving toy
2) Drop fish or diving ring to the bottom of the pool
3) Say to the child “let’s get the fish”
4) Submerge with the child
5) Grab the fish and return to the surface
6) Distract the child with the fish.

When the child is totally comfortable with tandem dives, you can introduce solo dives. Remember to teach progressively. These dives should still be assisted but you no longer submerge with the child. Gradually progress this skill to assisted dives down and unassisted up. Once the child is comfortable find shallower water and have the child retrieve toys unassisted. You will now be able to progress the child to deeper water
where the child will love the activity and play for hours.

Free Floating
Floating is the most important skill in the learn-to-swim process. Floating is the basis of all learn to swim. Free floating gives baby the opportunity to feel their own buoyancy. Once baby feels that fun floating sensation and that feeling of weightlessness, they will become relaxed and at home in the water.

Free floating is also great for baby’s independence. In free floats we should start off with free float and catch. Once baby is comfortable we can further advance the skill through free float and independence. Here baby is given the opportunity to independently pull themselves up on an adults t-shirt with assistance if necessary. This activity can be made easier for the child if the adult leans back and makes a shallow ledge with their body.

Do not attempt free floating until baby is totally comfortable with submersion.

Free Floating To Adult
Baby’s first free float should be performed in open water to parent, where the parent or teacher counts two seconds and baby floats towards them. As baby’s breath control improves the time and distance in free floats can be increased.

1) Ensure baby is in the horizontal floating hold (see holds)
2) Get baby’s attention
3) Use the “trigger words” (child’s name ready go)
4) Lift, lower, submerge and release baby underwater
5) Catch or let baby pull up independently
6) Celebrate free float

Free Floating Between Adults
Free floating between adults is a great skill as children become more confident and relaxed in the water. Now children get double the amount of
floating time as they are passed back and forth between adults.

1) Adults stand and face each other (1 metre distance)
2) Catching adult get down low in the water and stretch out arms
3) Passing adult hold baby in the prone side hold (see holds)
4) Passing adult use the “trigger words”
5) Lift, lower, submerge and release baby toward catching adult
6) Catching adult, pick up or let baby climb up independently
7) Celebrate free float

Free Floating From Ledge to Adult
Sit baby on ledge before they free float. This activity prepares baby for when they are ready to free float to you on their own. Always be careful not to vertically submerge baby during any floating activity off the ledge. If a child is vertically submerged they may experience water up their nose – an uncomfortable feeling at any age. We want baby to be in the horizontal swimming position at all times.

Once baby starts floating to you off the ledge by his or her own free will, they may not push off correctly. As a result, baby may submerge vertically. Gently guide baby toward you by the back of the head. To help rectify this vertical submerging problem you will have to repeat assisted submersions over and over, encouraging baby to put their face down. Never push a child’s head underwater. Children need guidance and support in the water and may get scared if their head is forced underwater.

1) Sit baby on ledge
2) Use the “trigger words”
3) Lift, lower, submerge and release baby toward you (baby will soon begin
to initiate free float, encourage this)
4) Pick up or let baby climb up independently
5) Celebrate free float

Free Floating From Adult to Ledge
Before performing this activity teacher/parent must ensure that the water level is shallow enough so baby can independently keep mouth clear of the water. If the water level is too deep, do not attempt this activity as baby is likely to ingest water.

As baby becomes stronger and more mobile this free floating activity can be partnered with free float from ledge to adult. Baby will grow in confidence and independence as they practice floating back and forth.

1) Ensure water level is suitable when baby is crawling or resting on hands and knees
2) Stand about a metre from ledge.
3) Put baby in prone side hold (see holds)
4) Use the “trigger words”
5) Lift, lower, submerge and release baby to ledge
6) Give baby an opportunity to climb up independently, assist if necessary
7) Celebrate free float

Grips
Babies are born with a natural grasp reflex. They grasp and hold on tight to fingers, toys, clothing, and hair. By encouraging a strong grip, we build strength and independence and teach baby to support their own body weight. Building strength will be great for children’s swimming skills and beneficial for their general physical development. This strength building will enable them to hold on to the side and ultimately climb out of the pool – a skill which may one day save their life.

Grip Fingers
In this instance, baby is encouraged to grip and hold on tight to parent’s fingers. Parents can help by clasping babies’ hands between their thumb and index finger. When parents feel the baby grip tight they can open the thumb and index finger. Be alert in case baby lets go.

This exercise can be performed with baby either facing towards or facing away from the parent. Once children have a strong grip they can be bounced up and down in the water like a tea bag.

Hold Wall
As children’s physical strength improves parents can encourage them to hold on to a deck level pool or a pool with higher pool sides. Parents should begin by supporting the baby’s bottom with their knee or hand. Once baby grips the wall they can be allowed to practice on their own for short periods of time. The parent will be there to assist if they let go of the wall. Parents must be in attendance at all times in case baby falls under water. If this happens, remain calm, gently pick them up and reassure them that everything is fine.

Monkey
As children become stronger and master holding onto the wall we encourage them to monkey along the wall. Monkeying requires children to move along the wall hand over hand over hand. In the initial stages parents will need to assist these hand movements. Toys placed conveniently at short intervals may be useful to encourage children to move along. As children grow they will master this skill on their own. Parents
must always stay in attendance.

Holds
The way in which we hold children in the pool has a huge impact on their confidence and independence in the water. It is important that parents relax, as any nervous tension will rub off immediately onto the child. Wearing a T-Shirt while in the pool with the child will give them something to grip and hold on to. This will encourage independence and may one day save the child’s life.

It is important to hold the child gently and stay down low in the water. This gives them an opportunity to feel their own buoyancy and gives them the freedom to move, kick and exercise.

Back to Chest Hold
Baby’s back rests on your chest. Parents should use one hand to support baby’s bottom. The other hand can gently rest across the child’s
chest for extra support. In this hold baby can survey the pool and satisfy their natural curiosity. Hold the child gently and stay down low in the water. The lower you sink the more buoyancy baby will feel.

Cradle Hold
This hold is the same in the water as it is on land. Baby is given a great back floating sensation. Little babies will enjoy this nurturing hold. Parents should lean over baby and look them in the eye and maintain verbal and visual communication. Sink baby down low in the water allowing baby’s ears to be submerged.

Prone Side Hold
Hold the child high under the arms and out to the side. This allows their centre of gravity to be high so they don’t get that feeling of overbalance. Nestle face in close to the child, this will allow for verbal and visual communication and give them extra assurance. This hold gives child good vision of the pool and the freedom to move and kick through the water. Watch to see that child’s mouth stays clear of the water.

Vertical Eye to Eye Hold
Parent should hold the child under the armpits in a vertical position. Make sure parents are eye to eye with the child. This hold is perfect for communication as baby has a full view of parent’s face and facial expressions.

Hip Hold
The hip hold is really an extension of how most parents carry their baby on land. It allows parents to move easily in the water, maintain eye contact with their baby and have one hand free to stimulate their baby with toys.
• hold baby very softy,
• sink down low so baby can feel their own buoyancy and
• give baby independence by allowing them to grip your shirt

Horizontal Floating Hold
This is one of the most important holds in teaching infant swimming. It places baby in the correct swimming position and is used when we submerge and free float the baby. This hold ensures baby is in a horizontal not a vertical position. The horizontal position is important for floating because it allows water to run in a head to toe direction. In a vertical submersion, water passes in a toe to head direction making it very
easy for water to be push up the nose causing discomfort to the child. To hold baby correctly you must spread fingers under the baby’s chest with thumbs on top of baby’s shoulders, stretch out the arms and look baby in the eye.

Independent Swimming
Independent swimming allows children to use purposeful movements to propel themselves through the water. While these movements are often quite primitive they are more than adequate to get the child from A to B.

Once the child feels their own buoyancy and floats well very often they initiate the swim themselves. They will push off the parent and swim to the ledge, push off the ledge and swim to the parent, push off and swim between parents, the confident child will even jump in from a high wall and swim to an adult.

This independent swimming should be encouraged. Children learn through independence and self exploration. As they experiment with their new found freedom they learn their limitations and their boundaries.

Kicking
Kicking is normally the major propulsive skill in infant swimming. A strong kick will help baby move through the water. When babies are very young most of their movements are non-voluntary. They are caused by natural reflexes. As children grow they will begin to initiate voluntary movements.

Up until the age of four children do not have the fine motor skills required to perform the correct, straight legged, fast little kicking action. While they may not be able to perform the exact action we can prepare them for when they are physically ready.

Lap Kick
1) Sit baby upright on your lap facing away from you
2) Place your hands under the knees and your thumb on top
3) Move your hands quickly up and down making the flipping kicking action
4) Croon to the baby “kick, kick, kick, kick” as you manipulate their legs
5) Make sure that you make the water apply pressure to the top of the foot
6) Stop manipulation let them try while you say “kick, kick”…. Follow show practise

Over Knee Kick
1) Sit and cross one leg
2) Place your baby on their stomach with their head on your raised leg (this keeps their mouth out of the water)
3) Place fingers under the kneecaps and thumb on the back of the knee
4) Move your hands quickly up and down making a flipping kicking action
5) Croon to the baby “kick, kick, kick, kick” as you manipulate their legs
6) Make sure that you make the water apply pressure on top of the foot
7) Stop manipulation let them try while you say “kick, kick”…. Follow show practise

Seated Ledge Kick (2 years plus)
1) Sit child on ledge
2) Ensure there is no leg overhang as this restricts the depth of the kick and encourages the correct kicking action
3) Instruct the child “fast little kicks, legs straight, knees under”
4) Hover hands above the knees and feet forcing knees and feet under the water

Ledge Kick (2 years plus)
1) Lie child on the ledge on their stomach
2) Ensure there is no leg overhang as this restricts the depth of the kick, forces a flexed foot and encourages the correct kicking action
3) Place hands under the knees, thumbs along back of the leg
4) Move your hands quickly up and down making a flipping kicking action
5) Give child an opportunity to practice
6) Instruct the child “fast little kicks, legs straight

Prone Kick
1) Use two hands hold baby out to the side
2) Make sure baby is in a horizontal floating position (see holds)
3) Get your head in close to baby
4) Croon “kick, kick”, “kick,”
5) Slowly walk through the water encouraging them to kick and feel their buoyancy with your support
6) Use a coloured ball or toy for baby to look at and chase

Cuddle Kick
1) Place your baby over your shoulder (like a cuddle)
2) Lean back and get low in the water (this will allow you to put them in the horizontal floating position)
3) Place hands under and thumbs on top of knees
4) Move your hands quickly up and down making the flipping kicking action
5) Croon to the baby “kick, kick, kick, kick” as you manipulate their legs
6) As you manipulate make sure that you make the water apply pressure on top of the foot.
7) Stop manipulation let them try while you say “kick, kick”…. Show practise.
8) Watch to see baby’s mouth stays clear of the water.

Soccer Ball or Seated Kicks
1) Rest your baby’s back against your chest
2) Bring their legs up to the top of the water making a right angle with the water and your chest
3) Place hands under and thumbs on top of knees
4) Move your hands quickly up and down making the flipping kicking action
5) Walk slowly through the water
6) Croon to the baby “kick, kick, kick, kick” as you manipulate their legs
7) As you manipulate make sure that you make the water apply pressure on top of the foot
8) Use a coloured ball for baby to chase

Assisted Board Kick
1) Get child to hold the board arms straight with their face in the water
2) Parent faces backward, child faces forward
3) Parent brings child’s legs tight into the hip
4) Parent puts hands under the knees, thumbs along the back of the leg
5) Parent walks backward through the water
6) Parent flicks the legs up and in the flipping, kicking action

Submersion
In submersion the parent or teacher does not release the child underwater. Submersion prepares baby for free floating by getting them used to the underwater world with support from teacher or parent.

Submersion To Adult
Baby’s first submersion should be performed in open water to parent. In this instance baby is held out, submerged horizontally and brought up eye to eye with parent. This eye to eye contact allows for visual and verbal communication to relax and reassure the child.

1) Ensure baby is in the horizontal floating hold (see holds)
2) Get baby’s attention
3) Use the “trigger words” (child’s name ready go)
4) Lift, lower and submerge baby underwater
5) Pick up and look baby in the eye
6) Celebrate submersion

Submersion Between Adults
Once baby is comfortable with submerging to adult, introduce submerge between adults. In this instance, baby is submerged and passed between two adults. Baby should be comfortable with both adults before attempting this activity.

1) Adults stand and face one another (1 metre distance)
2) Catching adult get down low in the water and outstretch arms
3) Passing adult hold baby in the prone side hold (see holds)
4) Passing adult use the “trigger words”
5) Lift, lower, submerge and guide baby to catching adult
6) Catching adult, pick up and look baby in the eye
7) Celebrate submersion

Submersion From Adult to Ledge
Before performing this activity teacher/parent must make sure that the water level is shallow enough so baby can independently keep mouth clear of the water. If the water level is too deep, do not attempt this activity as baby is likely to ingest water.

1) Make sure water level is suitable when baby is on their hands and knees
2) Stand 1 metre from ledge
3) Put baby in prone side hold (see holds)
4) Use the “trigger words”
5) Lift, lower, submerge and guide baby to ledge
6) Assist baby as they climb out
7) Celebrate submersion

Swim Arounds
Swim arounds teach children to swim to safety. The child swims in a semi circle around an adult from one side of the ledge to the other. Swim arounds are great for teaching children a respect for deep and shallow water.

The first swim arounds should be assisted and done above water.
1) Using a toy, show child where to go
2) Grasp the child in the prone side hold and move them in a large semi circle from shallow water over the deep and back to the ledge – the child is effectively swimming around your body as you sit on the ledge
3) Place child over ledge and give them an opportunity to pull themselves up Once children are comfortable, repeat the above method, this time submerging the child. As children’s confidence grows they will begin to initiate independent swim arounds. Parents should encourage exploration and assist if necessary.

Streamline Floating and Kicking
As children grow we can introduce the streamline body position. Children should be able to float comfortably in this position for the count of 10 before kicking is introduced. Floating has many benefits- it makes children relaxed and comfortable, it assists with breath control, and it forms the solid base for the learn-to-swim process.

In streamline position children have one hand on top of the other. Arms stretch above the head. Ears are hidden and chin is on the child’s chest.

Turning
Turning is an important life saving skill. This skill teaches children to return to safety. Safety can be described as parent, shallow water or land.
Turning can only be introduced into the lesson once children have good breath control. If children have started from 4 months, turning can usually be introduced during the 8 to 12 month age group.

Warning- do not attempt turning if children are not totally comfortable with conditioning, submersion and free floating.

During conditioning, submersion and free floating, water runs quickly, smoothly and evenly over the child’s face. In turning however, baby is being submerged in a vertical position. During the turning process, water can be inadvertently pushed up the nose causing discomfort. It is important not to progress to this skill until baby in conditioned and has mastered submersion and free floating. Once children have good breath control they are less likely to get water up the nose.

Turning to Parent
First turns should be performed back to parent in the middle of the pool. In the initial stages turns will be totally assisted and parents are encouraged to submerge with the child. This helps to relax and make baby comfortable with the exercise.

1) Hold baby in vertical position, with their back facing you
2) Get down low in the water
3) Warn your child “down turn around”
4) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
5) Lift, lower and completely submerge baby
6) Quickly spin and release your baby
7) Pick baby up, smile and look directly in the eye
8) Congratulate your baby

Once children are totally comfortable we can encourage unassisted turns. We use progressive teaching methods to assist in skill acquisition. We start with ¼ turns, progress to ½ turns and end with full unassisted turns to adult.

Unassisted ¼ turns to adult
1) Hold baby in vertical position, ready for a ¼ turn
2) Get down low in the water
3) Warn your child “down turn around”
4) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
5) Lift, lower and completely submerge baby
6) Release and allow baby an opportunity to turn independently
7) Watch baby. Carefully count to three and assist if necessary
8) Give baby an opportunity to grab t-shirt
9) Congratulate your baby

Unassisted ½ turns to adult
1) Hold baby in vertical position, ready for ½ turn
2) Get down low in the water
3) Warn your child “down turn around”
4) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
5) Lift, lower and completely submerge baby
6) Give baby an opportunity to turn independently
7) Watch baby. Carefully count to three and assist if necessary
8) Give baby an opportunity to grab t-shirt
9) Congratulate your baby

Unassisted full turn to adult
1) Hold baby in vertical position back facing you
2) Get down low in the water
3) Warn your child “down turn around”
4) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
5) Lift, lower and completely submerge baby
6) Release baby and give an opportunity to turn independently. Assist if necessary
7) Give baby an opportunity to grab t-shirt
8) Congratulate your baby

Turning to Ledge
Turning to the ledge should only be introduced once children have mastered unassisted turns to the adult. Turning to the ledge is important because we are teaching children to return to safety and giving them increased independence as they learn to climb up out of the pool.

Because children have been conditioned to swim to adults it is important that when practicing turning to the ledge parents either sit, stand or keep their back against the wall. This further encourages the child to swim to the ledge. If you arestanding in the centre of the pool then the child will naturally want to swim to you.

Assisted turn to ledge
1) Stand with back against wall
2) Hold baby in vertical position
3) Get down low in the water
4) Warn your child “down turn around”
5) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
6) Lift, lower and completely submerge baby
7) Quickly spin and release your baby over the ledge
8) Give them assistance as they climb up
9) Congratulate turn

Once children are totally comfortable we can encourage unassisted turns to the ledge. Again, we always use progressive teaching methods to assist in skill acquisition. Similarly to unassisted turns to adult, we always start with ¼ turns, progress to ½ turns and end with full unassisted turns to the ledge.

Drop/Jump and Turn
Once children become totally comfortable and proficient with unassisted turns to the ledge we introduce drop and turn and jump and turn to the ledge. We either drop the child in the water or we encourage them to jump into the water by themselves. Parents must always stay close to give the child assistance if necessary.

1) Stand on the ledge
2) Lift and hold the child above the water
3) Ensure that the child is a fair distance away from wall to avoid hitting head
4) Warn the child “down turn around”
5) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
6) Drop the child in the water
7) Let them independently turn and swim back to the ledge
8) Give assistance if necessary

Turn to the high wall
Turning to the high wall is more difficult. The children now need to reach up out of the water to find the wall. For this reason we don’t introduce this skill until children enter the 18 months to 2 year class. First attempts will be assisted. As children’s physical strength improves they will master the skill independently.

1) Adult place back against the high wall
2) Hold child in a vertical position
3) Get down low in the water
4) Warn your child “down turn around”
5) Use the trigger words “child’s name, ready go”
6) Lift, lower and completely submerge baby
7) Quickly spin, slide and lift child close to the wall
8) Lift to the surface and release once baby grips the high wall
9) Give them assistance to hold on if necessary
10) Congratulate turn

To advance the skill further, sit the child up out of the water before the submersion. When practicing unassisted turns with a child, build the skill before progressing to the next level. Always follow unassisted ¼ turns, unassisted ½ turns, and then full unassisted turns. Always be close at arms length to assist if necessary.

LAURIE'S TOP 5 LESSONS