Blowing bubbles

It’s one of the first things your child should learn in swim lessons. It is an essential step towards swimming more than just a few feet. This foundation will keep them safe and prepared for swimming underwater and summer activities.

Blowing nose bubbles is done by breathing out slowly through the nose underwater. This causes bubbles to appear. Many children struggle with this concept due to fear, age, or old habits of holding their breath.

But why can’t they just hold their breath?

Breathing out underwater is essential to the entire swim process. Imagine holding your breath while trying to run – how far do you think you would get? The same idea applies to swimming. Often times kids get stuck and can only swim as far as that one breath takes them. They get a few feet away from the wall, pull their face out of the water and breath out. As this happens the legs drop, they do not have enough time to breath out AND back in or because they don’t know how to properly breath out underwater, the student gets stuck with their face out of the water and their feet kicking directly below them. This is known as the drowning position. Knowing how to breath out under water is essential for water safety.

So how do we practice bubbles?

I usually start by blowing out through the nose on my own hand, then asking if I can blow on their hand. Then I have the student practice on their own hand, my hand, with their nose in the water then their face in the water. If the student gets stuck on one of those steps, some of the tricks can be of assistance!

  1. Humming – depending on the age or confidence level of the student, sometimes humming can be a great way to get the point across. A toddler might not be able to grasp the idea that you need to breath OUT of the nose – no matter how many times you test it on their hand. A student terrified of the water can have a visual of the effect of humming. They hear the instructor hum outside of the water. They can continue to hear the humming and see the physical bubbles when the instructor’s nose is under water.
  2. Toys – This is a good step for children who know how to blow bubbles but are still somewhat hesitant of putting their face in the water. Start with a {waterproof} toy they enjoy playing with. Have the child sit on the edge of the pool and put the toy on the first step where they can easily reach it. Now the second step. Great – Next the third. Usually by the third or fourth step the child is unable to reach the toy unless they put their face somewhat in the water. It’s sneaky – yes, but it is a great way to gently challenge your child to reach outside their comfort zone!
  3. Counting – for the competitive kiddos! This concept is great for kids who either a) blow their bubbles way to quickly or b) don’t blow out all their bubbles. The idea is similar to the toy idea with that you give them a simple challenge and then up the game from their. “Let’s see you blow bubbles for 1 second…Awesome that was great!!! Now do you think you can do 2 seconds? …. Rockstar! 3 seconds? ….5 seconds?” etc. etc. The ability to blow out bubbles slowly, and controlled will help the student learn proper breathing techniques.

Nose bubbles are essential to water safety and swimming well. They can be a tricky concept to learn. While instructors do the very best that they can during lessons, practicing on your own time can help your child succeed sooner.

As your challenging your kiddos its important to celebrate each little victory. If your child is responsive to splashing or loud pool environments, bubbles can be practiced at bath time. Click to read our Guide to Bath Time Swim Lesson Prep!

Safe Swimming!

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