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.
It is never too early to teach your baby to swim. Remember that babies spent most of their time in fluid while still in your womb. As babies grow and develop, the more likely they are to object to unfamiliar sensations and possibly experience fear.
It’s recommended that infants should also be introduced to the aquatic environment via home water play. This is a great way to introduce your little one 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 they can get used to the water.
Try pouring a little water on baby’s face – this will encourage breathing control.
Run a deep bath and support baby behind their head and neck to let them feel the buoyancy of the water.
Hold baby under their arms and swish them back and forth so they can get used to moving in the water.
Playing in shallow water will let them enjoy splashing around.
STEP 2: Little Splasher – In the pool
Try front floating by supporting baby under their arms.
Try back floating and keep eye contact so they can see you smiling down at them.
You might want to try submersion – but only when you both are ready. This step is usually done in a class environment.
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 through what you’re doing with lots of big smiles when they have done well!
STEP 3: Little Swimmer – All by myself
Why not try playing tag? Let baby try and swim to you – give them something to aim for.
Why not drop a bath toy to the bottom and watch them retrieve it.
Let them jump into the pool – they’ll love you catching them.
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 – they’ll have stronger legs now and could kick over to the side of the pool.
For more information see Learn to swim or Parenting
For swimming classes near you: