The Laurie Lawrence philosophy to teach babies to blow bubbles has shifted since he started teaching swimming in 1975. In the early days, Laurie would teach blowing bubbles babies quite early in the learn to swim process. 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. So, why the shift in focus?
Over the years, Laurie noticed that when babies blow bubbles, they must take a breath in. If they are still underwater when they get this natural urge, they will ingest the water. This can be upsetting and even dangerous for little babies as they don’t know any different. Most children under 2 are not yet physically capable of independently lifting their head out of water for a breath. For this reason, we focus on teaching baby to swim over a few meters. As well as a ‘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. They also 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
We would love to hear your swimming success stories as the result of hard work and persistence. Please share in the comments section below.
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