The Laurie Lawrence philosophy on teaching babies to blow bubbles has shifted since he first started teaching babies to swim back in 1975. In the early days Laurie would teach babies to blow bubbles quite early in the learn to swim process and this is documented in his book Sink or Swim. Today however he concentrates on teaching babies under 2 to hold their breath while they swim short distances. Why the shift in focus? Over the years Laurie noticed that as soon as babies blow out their bubbles then they must take a breath in. If they are still underwater when they get this natural urge then they will ingest the water which can be upsetting and even dangerous for little babies. Most children under the age of 2 are not yet physically capable of independently lifting their head out of the water to take a breath. For this reason our focus is to teach baby to swim over a few meters or turn and return to a ledge or safety as they hold their breath.
In the following video you will notice that Harper who is 2 years and 4 months is able to pop up and take a breath independently. She is still staying quite vertical as she does this but she is learning to move from a vertical to a horizontal position and will become more proficient with practice. Strengthening the kicking skills is very important during this stage because it will help to move them from the vertical to the horizontal position. Now that she is physically capable of popping up for a breath we can start to introduce the concept of blowing bubbles.
Blowing bubbles becomes a fun game for Harper to play with her Poppa. This underwater work is actually teaching explosive breathing but through play and exploration. This blowing bubble skill can also be extended and practiced on a shallow water ledge as the child crocodiles. This crocodile, bubble and breathe is very effective because it ensures that the child is in kept in horizontal position as they breathe. Communicating this building block approach to the parent is very important to keep them engaged in the learning process. If you communicate your knowledge with the parent then they will want to return to your lesson week after week. You can see that this vital skill could be easily overlooked by an uneducated parent and they might mistake it for play with little learn to swim value.
Take a look at this YouTube video of Harper at 2 years 4 months are she experiments with blowing bubbles
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