Introducing babies to the pleasures of being in water can sometimes be a little daunting – often more so for the parents than for the children themselves!
While it’s normal for the first experiences with pools to be met with a certain degree of fear and anxiety, a growing number of parents are eager for their wee ones to be comfortable in water. But is there an ideal age for introducing babies to swimming?
In fact, you can introduce children to water from a very early age. Toddlers especially enjoy being in water and swimming is often the first baby-led activity. Although babies are born with reflexes that make it look like they are able to swim, that’s not the case. They need to be taught how to do so in a safe and fun way. Here are some tips for getting your baby ready for his or her first pool experience.
Before introducing your baby to pools, take advantage of bath time to make being in water fun. Playing games in the tub will put your child more at ease and will help to associate water with having fun. Using water-safe toys, teaching your baby how to splash around and even joining your baby in the tub are all great ways to do this.
Introducing any young child to pools is first and foremost a question of safety, but it can also be fun. Sing, make bubbles and laugh with your child. Reassure your child with constant visual and physical contact. Hold your baby close to your body and move slowly in the water so that he can get used to these new sensations.
Benefits of swimming for little ones
- Promotes motor skills
- Stimulates the senses
- Strengthens the bond between parent and child
- Promotes self-esteem
- Teaches babies how to move freely and become autonomous in water
- Forms a lasting connection to water
Always follow hygiene and safety rules to make being in water a fun and positive experience for you and your child. Pay close attention to your baby’s signals and never force if she seems hesitant or unsettled. Doing so may associate pools with a negative event and could make learning to swim more difficult.