As we approach the summer months it’s a really important time to work on your swimming with your child. This is the time of year when many children will be in the water for the first time or for the first time since the last summer. This is when most accidents happen and is a time to be vigilant but also to celebrate how much fun the water can be and how important it is to gain water confidence from a young age. The statistics are scary but a reality, I read a report the other day which stated that more children between 2 and 5 (1 in 4) can open a web browser than swim unaided for a short distance. This is something we surely must change! The good news is you can by regularly taking your child swimming, formal lessons can reduce the risks of drowning by up to 88% but if you are not in a position to do lessons then you need to take your children regularly to the swimming pool. Below are some tips for when you do!
For many this could be their first summer, first holiday and first water experience! During our classes we show parents many different ways to hold and stimulate their babies natural reflexes when swimming but some important things to do with them at a young age are
– Get in the water….your baby is not too young, the latest official advice is you do not need to wait till after jabs so getting started early is easy. The important thing is to let them feel the water, at arm’s reach where you can so they are facing you but can feel the water behind them.
– For the real little ones you can hold them close and rock them through the water.
– Show the how to blow bubbles and all the time smiling. They will copy you and react how you react so make it the most positive experience you can, even if they do get accidently dunked in the water!
This is the age that most parents will give up with swimming, toddlers have tantrums on land and it’s no different in the water. I have been the mum whose child has a monumental tantrum when the exercise involves underwater swimming so I understand and we would always prefer you to talk to us about your concerns. Children needs to go through the process of learn to be let go and be underwater, this is the way they learn to swim independently. Here are some tips to help get through the toddler years
– Don’t give up, even if you are thinking of giving up your lessons talk to your teacher. They should be able to help with ways to improve things
– If you do decide to stop lessons ensure you take them yourselves, this is so important to keep the regularity up and don’t do anything you did in class, just have fun, take some bath toys and a watering can.
– It’s important to let them go under, don’t be fearful of faces getting wet and go under yourself. Blow bubbles, throw them up in the air and sometimes let them go under then up to beautiful smiley faces. The best ways to encourage them to enjoy water is fun!
As with everything they are more aware and they have an understanding of what they do (and DON’T!) want
– This is the essential time to ensure your child enjoys the water when they are not in lessons.
– Go regularly as a family and don’t always use the baby pool, if they can stand up in the baby pool then take them in the big pool.
And the most important thing in the younger years is have fun and be safe in the water.