WFMW – greatest tips/hits edition – getting kids to float on their backs


I taught swimming lessons for years in high school and college so I have a few tips for teaching kids how to float on their back. 

For beginners who aren’t comfortable in the water:

1.  Have them float on their back with their heads resting on your shoulder, like they are sleeping on a pillow.  When you have them there, point something out to them up in the air.  For example:  “Do you see that cloud up there?  It looks like a bird” or “How many clouds do you see?  Can you count them?”   This helps get their mind off being on their back. 


For kids who are more comfortable in the water, have them do this while they are on their back:

1.  Tell them to put their head back and to push their stomachs up to the sky (so their backs are arched).

2.  If their feet are sinking, it helps to have them put their hands above their heads.  This changes their center of gravity.

3.  If they are doing all of this and still can’t float, have them take a big, deep breath and hold it. 

Note:  Make sure you keep a hand under their back until they get close to mastering the skill.  At that point, you can tell them that you’re going to move your hand away.     


Good luck!  I hope some of these tips help you and your kids.  They always worked for me. 

For more helpful hints, head over to We Are THAT Family!

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