"Why does she put me on my back? I prefer being in her arms."
Back floatation is an essential element of my program. It’s through this skill that we teach children to maintain a relaxed and hydrodynamic body position while they learn to float on their backs. By practising this position, children learn that they can catch their breath and/or take a break in any body of water. The back float essentially becomes a “safe place” for young swimmers, especially because it prevents large quantities of water from splashing their face and/or being swallowed. As an added bonus, it is a great way to help strengthen their core muscles too!
In an emergency situation, back floats have the potential to be a life-saving skill. In the event of an accidental water-entry, we strongly believe that a young child who has the capacity to float on their back will be able to buy themselves time for help to arrive. If that wasn’t convincing enough, mastering the back float serves as an essential building block for future experiences and practice with proper stroke techniques.
What makes back floatations challenging is its counterintuitive-ness. In the beginning, babies and young children will often try to sit up when being positioned on their backs. They do not yet understand why we lay them on their backs and encourage them to look at the sky. Although it is challenging, we repeat the action in short intervals, using a lot of distractions and positive affirmations as reassurances. Eventually, children become accustomed to the position and trust our guidance, which helps them accept this skill as being part of the routine and allows them to respond positively to the cues we use.
Sooner than later, babies and young children become back-float-pros! I can’t put enough emphasis on the importance of mastering this exercise. From being a life-saving skill to an essential stepping stone in learning to swim horizontally and efficiently, back floatation is the key to becoming aquatically autonomous. So why not start now? Start developing these great habits and in a few months, your child will have developed the skills you wish they had today!
© Karina Renaud - Nager pour la vie ave Karina Renaud Inc