No Pool? No Problem! Swimming Starts in your Living Room.
Mermaid Secret #2
No Pool? No Problem. Swimming Starts in Your Living Room.
The most important skill you can teach your child prior to swimming lessons is BREATH CONTROL.
In this blog we will break down:
What “Pufferfish” is.
Why teaching “Pufferfish” to your child is so important.
3 simple exercises to do with your child in the living room to start them on their swim journey!
Woot. (See? You don’t even need to get your hair wet!)
Want an extra POP? GET A MERMAID’S GUIDE (The book) to augment these blogs! Reading the blogs is like watching Avatar in 2D. But having these blogs with A MERMAID’S GUIDE by your side is like watching avatar in 3D. So snag a copy of A MERMAID’S GUIDE and experience what it REALLY feels like to be a blue alien. Or, wait. No. But you WILL get an even better picture about what these blogs are talking about.)
Let’s get to it! So, you have a living room, right? If not, don’t worry. A kitchen, kid’s room, or at the park (if you want to get some funny looks) are all equally good places to rock this out.
What ages can do Pufferfish craziness? Ten months all the way to adults who don’t know how to swim! So, grab your Uncle Bob (The one who’s afraid he’s going to sink) and get him in on the action.
TWO KEY things your child must realize:
1) They breathe! (NOT as obvious as it seems.)
2) They can CONTROL their breath.
Your child has been breathing their whole life. But breathing is just (fancy term here for an automatic body function one doesn’t have to think about). Often times, learning to swim is the first time a child will have to THINK about breathing! (And Uncle Bob doesn’t do yoga, so he also needs a breathing lesson.)
You can give your child a HUGE head by shedding light on this incredible superpower (the ability to hold their breath) ahead of time by teaching them PUFFERFISH.
PUFFERFISH: Pufferfish is simply taking a big breath, and puffing your cheeks out to show that all the air is captured inside you. It’s easy, just tell your child to take a deep breath and “PUFFERFISH!” (Read page 63 in A MERMAID’S GUIDE for more info!)
Now that your child can do that, let’s try to PUFFERFISH on cue. 1,2,3, PUFFERFISH. (Note: Counting before your child holds their breath helps their brain/body link and control their breath on CUE. Knowing how to time their breath will help them when it comes time to go under the water on the count of 3 during a swim lesson.)
PUFFERFISH breath extensions. Now that you can hold your breath, let’s extend it. But not too long! (No breath holding contests - I’m talking to YOU, Uncle Bob!) Start by counting 1,2,3 HOLD (for one second). And then go 1,2,3 HOLD (for two seconds.) Then three, four, and five seconds. For added fun try inhaling, hold your breath for five seconds, then look up to the sky, exhale, and re-inhale.
If you can teach your child they are in control of their breath you are off to a GOOD Start! Start these techniques now and your child will be LEAPS and BOUNDS above everyone else in their swim class.
BONUS activity: Place a ping pong on the top of a bottle. Have the child blow it off. Run and get it. Have them take a deep breath, hold their breath for three seconds, and then blow it off again.**
**EDITORS NOTE: WARNING: this activity causes ample laughing, and laughing creates havoc when trying to teach someone how to hold their breath. Use this exercise at your own risk.***
***A note on the editor’s note. If your child isn’t laughing you are CLEARLY not making funny enough faces every time they blow the ping pong bottle off of the bottle.
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Stay tuned for the next blog to answer more questions, give simple tips, and bust old, outdated myths.
(Sent with love, and an occasional free typo, every SUNDAY.)
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