What We Do:
1. Kicks- I have her hold on to the side wall of the pool, and practice kicking- straight legs, no splashing- her feet should stay in the water as much as possible
2. Arms- She can just barely stand in the shallow end, so she stands while we practice "scoops." She makes scoops with her hands and reaches out as far as she can to scoop the water that is furthest away.
3. Kickboard- We try to kick with a kickboard, but most of the time she falls off to one side or the other. She wants to put it under her chest, but I want her to hold it out front because I don't want her to get used to having her arms close by, and eventually I want her to practice on the kick board with her face in the water.
4. "Swimming"- We use a pool noodle to help her gain confidence while propelling herself forward with her arms and legs. She can now swim across the shallow end of the pool easily without me. She puts the pool noodle across her chest and under both arms. It helps her keep afloat and we concentrate on her big scoops, and keeping her bottom up so she is kicking close to the top of the water. I know she could swim without the pool noodle but she feels more secure with it, and I would rather her be more cautious in the water than not!
5. Floating- We practice floating on her back, and she will float several seconds before she realizes I am not holding her anymore. I keep one hand in the middle of her back, and once she is relaxed and secure I remove my hand while keeping her mind on what she is doing with each part of her body as she floats by herself.
6. Swimming on her back- I like to call it "Chicken, T, Rocket." Once she is floating I tell her to make a "T" with her arms and "Rocket" off as she pushes her hands down towards her legs. To bring her arms back up with as little resistance to the water as possible she puts her hands towards her armpits like a "Chicken," and then back to the "T." So while she practices this, and remind her of where her hands are supposed to be with the visual clues of "Chicken, T, Rocket"
7. Diving for rings- She loves to go diving for her rings, and at first couldn't get enough energy to swim down for them, but can now swim several feet under water and grab the rings from the bottom of the pool. We have six rings, so I usually drop one from my right hand as far as I can reach, one from my left hand as far as I can reach, and the rest somewhere in between. She holds her breath and dives under and can usually pickup all of her rings at one time. And yet she still doesn't want to swim without her pool noodle!
Big Sister does NOT know how to swim proficiently. I keep my eyes on her at all times and am never more than 2-3 feet away. I am NOT a swimming teacher, and these may not be the "correct" techniques for teaching swimming- but it works for us.