Helping babies and young children to enjoy swimming
Encouraging your child to take to water!
Encouraging Your Child To Take To Water
A recent report from education charity STA found that one-third of British children can't swim; that’s one in three kids missing out on the fun and health benefits of spending time in a pool. One of the most common reasons given by parents was a lack of time to spend teaching them, so here are a few suggestions to fit within normal family life and develop your child’s confidence. With a solid start, your children can hopefully go on to swimming lessons feeling confident and happy in the water, saving you time and money in the long run.
One of the quickest and easiest (not to mention cheapest) ways of instilling water confidence in your child is by making bathtime fun from the beginning. Bring in a few bath toys, bath books, bubbles; anything to get your child smiling and happy in that environment. For babies, pour a little warm water gently on their heads to help them become used to the sensation. With toddlers, encourage them to put their face in the water and blow bubbles, or play peekaboo, submerging your own face and then popping up with a smile.
Another cheap and cheerful way to help your child grow up confident around water is by putting up a simple paddling pool in the garden. These can be great fun in the summer, and water pistols, sprayers, and the garden hose can all add to the experience. Even with a paddling pool, take sensible precautions, never leave children unattended, and ensure that you’ve read up on advice for safe fun in the water; it’ll put your mind at ease, and help you have fun too.
Introducing the pool
The next step is a visit to your local pool. These can seem quite daunting to less confident children, so try and visit when you comfortably have the time and are able to be relaxed. If your child has siblings, it may be worth bringing an extra pair of hands, booking into the centre’s creche or arranging a playdate for them so that you can concentrate on your reluctant swimmer. The main thing is to have fun; whether that’s sitting on the edge dipping toes in, singing nursery rhymes as they do in Aqua Babes, or holding them securely and zooming through the water while pretending to be a boat. As long as their lasting impression is that swimming was fun, you’ll have done a great job.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to develop your child’s confidence in the water without having to find extra hours in your day. There are plenty of ways you can help at home before they even reach the pool so that your reluctant child becomes a happier, more confident swimmer. The rewards are huge: improved fitness, ability to take part in watersports, peace of mind, and great big smiles. Dive in for a lifetime’s enjoyment.