Right Start for Little Swimmers
As most of us spend our summers around the water, whether it’s at the beach or by the pool, it’s smart to make sure babies and toddlers learn basic water skills as early as possible?
AUSTSWIM, the Australian Council for the Teaching of Swimming and Water Safety, recommends that children can take part in aquatic activities from the age of 6 months. It’s recommended infants should also be introduced to the aquatic environment via home water play. This is a great way to introduce your infant to the water before commencing formal lessons.
There’s no right or wrong way to introduce your baby to swimming but to help you get started why not try out the following steps;
STEP 1: Water Baby – In The Bath
- Start in the bath and try trickling water over baby’s body so he gets used to the water.
- Try pouring a little water on baby’s face – this will encourage his breathing control.
- Run a deep bath and support baby behind his head and neck to let him feel the buoyancy of the water.
- Hold baby under his arms and swish him back and forth so he gets used to moving in the water.
- Playing in shallow water will let him enjoy splashing around.
STEP 2: Little Splasher – In The Pool
- Try front floating by supporting baby under his arms.
- Try backfloating and keep eye contact so he can see you smiling down at him.
- You might want to try submersion – but only when ready.
- Sing his favourite nursery rhymes and make up games to go along with the songs – making time in the pool fun.
- Keep encouraging baby and talking him through what you’re doing with lots of big smiles when he’s done well!
STEP 3: Little Swimmer – All By Myself
- Why not try playing tag? Let baby try and swim to you – give him something to aim for.
- Why not drop a bath toy to the bottom and watch him retrieve it.
- Let him jump into the pool – he’ll love you catching him.
- Spend more time with other babies in the pool. It’s good to be on your own, but even better to see friends having fun too.
- You may want to introduce a float – he’ll have stronger legs now and could kick over to the side of the pool.
For more information see Learn to swim or Parenting