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Learn to Dive

Teach your child how to dive

Kids as young as 3 can learn to dive, says Anya Hall, a teacher at La Petite Baleen swim schools in California's Bay Area, if they're comfortable in and under the water, are able to swim in the deep end, and can take the plunge without holding their noses.

1. Start with a sitting dive: Have your child sit on the edge of the deep end with her arms straight up over her head, one hand on top of the other ("pencil arms" and "pancake hands"). Now tell her to curve forward like the letter C, look down toward her toes, and roll forward into the water to get used to going headfirst.

2. Once she's got the sitting dive down, she should kneel — on one knee or both, but either way her backside should not rest on her heels — at the edge of the pool. (You should get in the water to spot her.) With pencil arms and pancake hands deployed, tell her to curve forward like the letter C again, look down at her knees, curl her toes underneath her (to help her push off), and think "Toes to the sky!" As she dives, you may want to place one hand near her belly button to help her avoid a belly flop.

3. With her kneeling dive perfected, she's ready to try it from a standing position. Arms up as before, curving forward and looking toward her toes, she should push off using the balls of her feet to get her legs up in the air.

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