Teaching your little one how to swim is not an easy task but it provides you with a chance to bond with your child. There are lots of things that come into play like where do you start, what are some of the questions your child will ask you and whether you will be able to answer them, will you be able to teach them in the right way, among others. But worry not; I am here to give you a professional advice on how you can easily make your baby a professional swimmer at an early age. Here are some few tips to follow:
Aim to have fun
Your first goal of going to the swimming pool should be having fun with your baby. Although babies naturally love water, some might be scared of large pools of water so the essentials of swimming should be secondary at the early or essential stages.
Make your baby feel and relaxed when they don that baby swimming costume. Be relaxed so that your baby can also be relaxed, have fun so that your baby can also have fun.
Teach your child how to kick and use of arms
Having made your child feel relaxed and calm, it is now time to start the actual swimming training. The process should begin by showing your baby how kick their legs in water. Majority of children know how to do it and are thrilled by seeing the amount of splash they with their feet. With time of trying your child will come to understand that kicking makes him or her move through the water.You also need to teach your kid how to blow bubbles or use his or her arms. You can do this by using the bath tub.
You can let your child use his or her hands in the bath tub especially if it’s big enough. With time your child will learn that using their arms helps to pull him or her through the water. After that, teach him or her to use both the arms and legs together to move through the water.
Choose the right equipment to use
Here, you should choose the equipment for you and your child, remember you will also be in the water pool as well. The equipment chosen should depend on the age of the child. Your baby will need baby floatation devices before they can learn how to float on their own. Here is where the services of swimming armbands are required. They offer good support and ensure your child remains afloat for long.
If your child is more than five years, he or she might be more confident and can use a swim noodle or swim fin for a great swimming experience. A swim noodle offers minimum support and will allow him or her to paddle more.
You might also want to try a child swim vest which will keep your little one afloat for long time.
Teach your child to keep his or her head under water
Swimming is incomplete if you can’t hold your breath and keep your head under water, the same goes for your child. You shouldn’t rush into teaching your child how to put his or her head under water; it should be gradual like all other aspects of swimming.
Start by teaching your child how to hold his or her breath and put his or her mouth in to the water before progressing to both mouth and nose. You should do it with him or her and allow him to copy what you are doing.
Swim goggles can be great here. Your child is likely to feel cool in them and will also allow him or her to see anything under the water with utmost fun. The goggles will no doubt open up a whole new experience or world for them encouraging him to explore more and become a better swimmer. Once your child is able to hold his or her breath, you won’t be able to hold him or her back from going under the water.
How long should the training take?
Well, there is no definite answer to this question. Every child is different and, as such, their mastery of the swimming tactics take varied speeds. There are children who will become superb swimmers within weeks of teaching while others can take years before they can hit the swimming pool all by their own. However, how long the training takes will depend on the frequency by which the child goes swimming. The more you take him or her swimming the less time the training will be.
If I am a regular swimmer can I be a good teacher to my child?
Now, this is an excellent question you should ask yourself. One thing you should understand if you are a regular or pro swimmer is that there is a huge difference between being an expert swimmer and a trainer swimmer. The difference is that an expert swimmer mostly deals with other experts or sees some swimming tactics as obvious ones that everyone should know.
However, a trainer understands that swimming is a process and has to start from somewhere. Another thing to know is that your child is likely to take swimming instructions from a teacher but defy your orders. However, you can still become an excellent teacher if only you make your child understand that it’s just for fun.
What are safety measures to adhere to?
It is important to know that although swimming is all fun, children aged between 12-36 months old have the highest risk of drowning. With that in mind, there are several safety tips you can employ to protect your baby.
First, always stay near your child. Ensure that you are close to your child and can easily lay a hand on the baby. It is very easy for a baby to drown so keep vigilant and keep the baby at arm’s length.
Second, be cautious of the inflatable pools. Your child can easily lean over and tumble on those soft spot of the pool leading to drowning. Supervise your baby very carefully. If you have the inflatable pool, ensure you have emptied it after use and if you have a dunking pool ensure it is fenced off.
Third, skip the floaters. Child safety experts like AAP advise parents taking their children through swimming classes to skip the floaters at times. They argue that air-filled swimming gadgets are helpful in teaching a child how to swim but also pose as a threat if continuously used. They offer a false sense of security and are prone to punctures or deflation when the child is at the center of a pool.
Fourth, start the swimming classes when your child hits 12 months. Most of the water safety programs are designed for children aged 12 months and above and as, such, you might want to delay the training process until the child is 12 months old.
Teaching your child how swim is not that easy but is a fulfilling experience. You get to spend more time with your child and get the satisfaction once you see your little one moving around your pool. Following the above mentioned steps will no doubt ensure that you get fun playing with your child while at the same time your child makes the first steps towards becoming a pro swimmer. However, the safety of your child should be paramount, so be vigilant while in the pool.