Immy is a total water baby (completely taking after her Dad, not me as I am very nervous around water) and as I was reading this post by the wonderful Cat of Adventures with Kids, I found myself nodding along with her helpful, practical tips…
Swimming is one of the most enjoyable activities that I have done with my children. But I find that many parents are a little apprehensive about swimming with a baby or toddler, so I thought I would share some of my best tips.
Why swim with you baby or toddler?
- Water provides a relaxing, sensory experience for your child
- It is a great form of exercise for young children. They will be tired after swimming. It is very handy if you want them to take a long nap.
- Babies are not afraid of water. Swimming when your child is young builds their familiarity and confidence with the water. It is much harder to start swimming later when your child has started to develop fears attached to water.
- Learn and practise water safety skills, in particular, not entering the water until they are told.
- It is fun!
My tips for enjoying a swim with your baby or toddler
Get a swim nappy so that you are not worrying about your child messing in the pool.
Make sure the water is warm (around 32 degrees is recommended for young babies). Watch your child closely for signs of cold and keep your swim short. Once babies get cold they quickly become unhappy. Have a towel ready for you baby as soon as you get out of the water.
Hold them under the arms (instead of with a hand around or under their belly). This will feel more secure. Stand in front of them and duck down in the water so that you can maintain eye contact.
If you can afford it, have some swimming lessons. The instructors will help you to feel more confident holding your baby in the water, give you some ideas of games to play and skills you might want to teach (such as breath holding and jumping in and turning to the edge).
If you are interested in knowing more about teaching swimming skills or want some ideas about what to do with your baby in the bath at home or in the pool there is a free movie, Living With Water, from Laurie Lawrence available at Kids Alive, Do the Five.
Catherine is mum to 2 boys, living in North Australia. They read lots, run lots, love to learn new things and are good at finding fun and mischief. Catherine blogs about her family adventures at Adventures With Kids.
Does your child like to swim? Have you taken baby or toddler swimming lessons?