The main reason for learning to swim is safety. Swimming is a survival skill that will help to protect your child from drowning. Being able to swim does not take away the risk of drowning but it does decrease the probability The World Congress on Drowning acknowledged the importance of learning to swim as a critical life skill. What should a baby be able to do in the water? Ideally, a child would be safest with the ability to swim to the side of the pool and have the ability to float. Having confidence in these abilities will decrease the chances of panicking should they accidentally fall into the water. Whether children are capable of swimming or not, they should never be unsupervised in and around the water.
Children learn all sorts of things when they pick up swimming. Discipline is a big part of learning to swim. From the pool rules to the safety rules and swimming techniques, it takes discipline to learn and follow. Swimming also helps children learn to set personal short and long term goals. That gives them the discipline to work to achieve success.
Early swimming helps baby in growing sense of self-esteem, confidence and independence.
- Social Skills
Friends are a big part of children’s life and swimming is a great way for little ones to interact.
- Physical Activity
Swimming allows babies to exercise all their muscles, which helps in development of their motor skills, coordination and balance.
When can you take a baby in the swimming pool?
It is generally not recommended for the mother to enter a public until six weeks after birth. For caesarean births it may be longer but follow your doctor’s advice here. Your baby can enter the pool with another caregiver. Every newborn has the potential to be comfortable in the water.
What can a baby learn?
A baby from 6 months to 12 months will learn how to hold their breath underwater, roll onto their back and float unassisted until someone rescues them. A child over the age of 1 year will learn how to hold their breath underwater, swim head down, roll onto their back to float, rest and breathe; then roll back over to resume swimming. This is called the swim-float-swim sequence and they will be able to repeat this sequence until they reach the side of the pool and crawl out.
How to manage if you are not comfortable in the water?
If you are uncomfortable or downright scared in the water then it would be helpful to you to find an instructor or a friend who can get in with you. Babies can tell if you are stressed and they will associate this stress with the water. You could also talk to a swim instructor about lessons for you and baby. It will not only boost your confidence but it will also give you a special opportunity to bond with your baby.
Activities to do with baby in water
- A child’s experience in the water begins in the bath. Be as comfortable about them getting wet and associating water with safe play. Again, a child should never be unattended.
- When you get in a swimming pool, hold your baby close and keep eye contact with him.
- When you and baby are comfortable relaxed and more confident, extend your arms and swishing your baby around. Bring him back into your arms with warm smiles and smooth movements.
- Use a calm happy voice at all the time.
- Let your baby splash and play with his bath toys. You can put one out of reach and carry your little one through the water towards the toy so that he can retrieve it. Always keep the tone happy and calm.
- Put your mouth under water and show your baby how to blow bubbles. This is an important lesson because you cannot inhale water if you are blowing. If your baby is very young, blow a toy across the water and let him copy you.
- Let her see you put your head under and come up smiling. This will reassure her that it is safe.
- Lay him on his back with his head resting on your shoulder. Encourage him to kick his legs.
- Children tend to curl up in fetal position, which causes them to sink. Have your child flatten her body and feel how her body works under water.
How does your baby react to being in the water? Share with us your experience down below.