Time to Play: Kicking

Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. Kicking is a critical swimming skill, but it can be tough to concentrate on the nuances when you’re just trying to stay afloat. This game is one that you can play on dry land to give your kids a chance to really get it without the pressure of being in the water.

Have your child sit in a chair and alternate pointing and flexing his feet. Is he fast enough to keep you from pinching his toes when he points them?

Time to Play! Kicking

Kids learn by playing. The more you can make learning to swim fun for your kids, the more they’ll like it, the quicker they’ll learn, and the more fun you’ll have teaching them. Here’s a fun way to teach your kids to be aware of the rhythm of their swimming kick.

Use a drum or make one out of a cardboard cylinder and enough masking tape to cover the opening entirely. Have your child sit in a chair and kick the drum with his flutter-kicking feet. What kind of music can he make? Can he make rhythms? Can he kick very steadily and quickly?

Teaching the Swimming Kick: Mastery

After your kids have learned a new swimming skill, it’s a great time to go back and expand on the skills they already know. When your kids have learned to float on their back, you can expand their practice of the swimming kick. Try these tips for teaching your kids to perfect their kicks.

Quick Trick for Correcting the Swimming Kick

Have him practice gently kicking while he’s floating on his back. If he moves in the direction of his feet, his ankles aren’t flexing enough. Have him concentrate on flexing his ankles more, and like magic, he’ll start to move toward his head. This level of flexion is what he’s aiming for.

The Rhythm of the Swimming Kick

When he’s learned to move his arms in the crawl and backstroke, he can refine his kick more. There’s a rhythm to kicking: kick, kick, pause, kick, kick, pause. The opposite leg and arm act together. In that way, it’s similar to running or walking. When he strokes with the left arm, he should kick with the right leg first.

Teaching the Swimming Kick: Stage 2

You can start teaching your kids the swimming kick before you even get wet. Once you’re ready to move the swimming lesson into the pool, here’s how to teach this swimming skill.

How (and How Not) to Teach Your Kids the Swimming Kick

Now that you’re in the pool, where do you start?

Why Fins Won’t Help Your Kids Learn to Kick

Fins can help kids without much buoyancy to keep their legs and hips in line with their torsos as they learn to use their arms in the water; however, long-term, they’ll become a crutch, and they’ll alter the quality and feeling of the movement in a way that doesn’t help when your child is learning to kick. You can use fins during the early stages of learning to swim when your child is focusing on other skills, but don’t use fins when your child is practicing kicking.

Where to Start Teaching the Swimming Kick

Practicing the kick at the stairs is a good place to start because it lets your child hold his body even with the surface easily. If he’s not using the stairs to support himself, support him with one arm under his belly and the other hand holding his hands.

How to Support Your Child When You’re Teaching Him to Kick

Have him hold his face in the water, and ask him to squeeze your hand whenever he wants to come up for a breath. When he does, he can press down on his hands to help himself lift his head. You can help him by holding the hand that’s holding his firm.

It’s Time to Move

Walk around the pool as he practices. Remind him to flick his feet like he’s trying to kick off his shoes. Choose one of the six aspects of the swimming kick to focus on at a time.