Learning to Swim

It's hot out there, but before you're little ones go for a swim, make sure they've got the proper skills.

In today's Health Minute, Ninette Sosa brings us tips to get kids comfortable in the water.

If you want to teach little ones how to swim, the first rule of thumb make it fun.

YMCA instructor Scott Mennicke starts his lessons with the bucket game, to help children get over the fear of putting their face in the water.

Then it's time for a little kicking.

Mennicke says, "You just want to teach them the basic kicking and splashing, then they go with the backpack, so they can learn how to float with the backpack."

A backpack in the pool? It's actually four pieces of Styrofoam stacked together.

Gradually each piece of foam is removed until the child is strong enough to get around in the water without them, just like 5-year-old Ayden and 4-year-old Braxton.

The next step, learning to stay horizontal so they can master the basics for the freestyle stroke, often called the crawl.

They practice kicking with the kick board, learn to scoop with their arms, and blow bubbles to keep from gulping down water.

And Scott says teaching kids to swim can actually start in the bathtub.

"Use buckets in the bathtub, pour it over their face, have them lay in the bathtub, kick, splash, learn how to blow bubbles," says Mennicke.

It's all about having fun.

And building skills to be safe, confident swimmers.

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