How to Teach a Toddler or a Child to Hold Breath Underwater

Swimming is an important life skill that could help your child in the future. You must teach your children how to swim from a young age. At The Aqua Life Swim Academy, we believe you can teach children as young as four months to swim. We take swimming lessons all year round for children and adults. You can learn more about our swimming lessons by contacting us. However, learning swimming strokes and trying to hold their breath underwater can be too much for your toddler. Hence, you must first teach your child how to hold their breath before teaching them advanced swimming techniques. Below are tips for teaching your child to hold their breath in water:

Breath-Holding Exercises

The first step in teaching toddlers to hold their breath underwater is to teach them breath-holding exercises. First, blow out all the air from your lungs through your mouth. Then take a deep breath in through your mouth. Hold your breath for about ten seconds. You can count to ten on your fingers. Once you reach ten seconds, blow out the air, take another big breath, and repeat the exercise. Once you show this to your child a few times, ask them to repeat the exercise with you.

Hold Your Breath in the Water

Your child should learn to control their breath to learn to swim. One way of teaching them breath control underwater is by getting into the water with them. Take deep breaths and ensure your child notices your stomach expansion. This will reinforce the idea of taking in air. Then, blow out the air by wiggling your lips like you are making raspberries. Doing this multiple times will help your child understand the concept of inhaling when out of the water and then exhaling slowly when in water. However, ensure you don’t gasp for air when in water. Your child may assume that is the right way to breathe underwater or, even worse, get scared and refuse to get in.

Practice in the Tub

Sometimes children may hesitate to enter the pool at first. They may get scared looking at the vast size of the pool or may feel too cold to enter the water. In such situations, you can begin by practicing in your bathtub. Fill up the tub with water and ask your child to practice holding their breath. Ensure you don’t fill the tub too much, lest your child worries about diving too deep into it.

Blow Bubbles

Swimmers must empty their lungs between breaths so that when they turn their face out of the water to breathe, they don’t have to exhale first. Children may take some time to understand this. But you can help them understand this concept of emptying their lungs by teaching them to blow bubbles in water with their face submerged. Hold them while they blow the bubbles. Bring them out to take a breath when you notice the bubbles reducing, and repeat the exercise until they get comfortable.

Bobb for Breath

Once the toddler learns how to hold their breath and release it by blowing bubbles, teach them to bob in the water to practice their breath-holding skills. First, tell the child to take a deep breath and hold it. Next, move the child straight into the water until they are completely submerged. While under the water, tell the child to blow out air and come up again after about two to three seconds. Repeat this bobbing exercise at least 10 to 20 times until the child gets comfortable blowing air underwater and inhaling air above.

Ensure You Take Frequent Trips to the Water

Finally, to ensure your child is comfortable holding their breath underwater, you should get them to practice as often as possible. This means frequent trips to the water. Give your child ample chances to try to hold their breath in the water. As mentioned before, if you cannot go to the pool for whatever reason, practice at home in a tub. During winter, when it is too cold to go outside, you can look for indoor temperature-controlled pools where your child can practice. The more frequently your child practices holding their breath underwater, the sooner they will learn the technique.

Teaching your toddler how to hold their breath underwater will take time and patience. No matter what happens, ensure you don’t force your child to put their face underwater. This will scare them further and push them away. Being calm and making the entire process fun is important. And even before you know it, your child will swim comfortably like a pro.

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