It is beneficial to get children to discover that being near the pool’s edge without adult supervision is dangerous.
You can teach your little one this in the early years of life, and it should be the first thing to say at every swimming lesson until your kid reaches the appropriate age.
Check out the Baby’s Basic Stages of Development
While this alone doesn’t prevent children from drowning, try to build a metaphorical fence around the pool in your child’s mind.
That’s being said..
..even if babies do not learn to swim from the beginning, they enjoy being in the water!
The benefits of playing with water are exponential both physically and in their development.
Here are 11 reasons to put your baby in the water:
- Develop greater awareness and respect for water:
As stated above, the child needs to learn the consequences and dangers of being too close to the pool’s edge.
This should be the underlying theme of all swimming classes.
This message conditions the child’s alertness to his environment and trains his attention to water risks.
- Future health benefits:
Especially today, in a world filled with so much harmful misinformation directed at children, leading healthy lives when they are young is critical.
Not to mention, after a rigorous swimming lesson, kids are left hungry and tired; and that is always an advantage for exhausted parents.
- Coordination, muscle strengthening, and flexibility:
Swimming is a resistance training routine.
Over time, coordination and muscles also develop, becoming longer and leaner… which is key to good flexibility!
- Brain development:
For babies, simply feeling the texture and different temperatures of the water with their hands is a tactile experience and helps with brain development.
Being immersed in water expands a child’s sensory experience exponentially.
- Social interaction:
Swimming lessons at an early age have a lot to do with social interaction with other children.
A good swimming teacher sings songs and plays with young children in the water.
The proper technique and style come later, and surprisingly, they often come along with enough water time.
This is not to say that children will learn to swim in style without assistance but with enough hours in the water..
..they will inherently learn to kick and move their arms while lifting their head out of the water to breathe.
Sharing time in the water creates a remarkable bond between the child and his teacher.
It is simply because the little one learns that the adult watches over him for his safety, and this creates a unique feeling of trust in such a vulnerable environment.
The routine of swimming lessons is another instrument to give the child a sense of stability in his life.
Swimming is an organized and scheduled activity, which creates a sense of consistency essential to good behavior.
- Confidence Building:
Swimming is no different from any other sport, but it helps build self-confidence in the child.
When a child learns to swim and is successful in his swimming techniques, his self-esteem grows.
Children will relax in the water if and only when they feel safe, and the environment is pleasant and conducive.
A good instructor or parent is a must for a calm environment on the water.
- Build discipline:
Like any sport or exercise, incorporating swimming into a child’s life helps fitness and leads to practice and improvement of discipline.
Learning to swim from the beginning provides enough time to adjust the child’s skill level.
This offers him the potential to compete, which, in turn, helps build the child’s discipline.
Tips for teaching your children to swim
The main and best advice that we can give you is: Play with your child in the water!
One of the keys is to familiarize them with the aquatic environment as soon as possible.
For this reason, we always recommend that from six months of age, we go with our babies to the pool.
You can make your kid familiar with the water by playing with them in the water or participating in aquatic stimulation.
Once the children are familiar with water and enjoy it, it is time to start working on the movement lessons.
That’s being said, here are some steps to start teaching your little one how to swim:
- Make him feel safe:
Some children feel like fish in water, while others are terrified because they do not feel comfortable in this environment.
In these cases, you must make the child lose his fear of water. Otherwise, it will be challenging for him to learn to swim.
An excellent strategy to achieve this is to enter the water with him since, in this way, he will feel more confident, and secure and he will gradually lose his fear.
In any case, never force him to be in the water if he puts up a lot of resistance as it could backfire.
- Always start where you hit rock bottom:
Many parents think that the best way to teach a child to swim is to take him to a place where he will not touch bottom and throw him there so that he instinctively learns to stay afloat.
This is a lousy strategy, as it can become a negative precedent and trigger fear or a phobia in the child.
The key to teaching a child to swim is to start classes where they can hit bottom.
In this way, your kid will have the certainty that if something goes wrong, they will be safe, and that will give them an extra dose of confidence.
- Show him some exercises to control his breathing.
A fundamental skill in swimming is knowing how to control your breath underwater. Therefore, this is one of the first exercises that you should teach your little one.
You can start with the bubble game: ask him to breathe in air through his nose, hold his breath and submerge, preferably in the bathtub, and then expel the air through his mouth while blowing bubbles.
To make him lose his fear, you can show him how to do it and then ask him to do it together.
- Teach him to do the kicks.
This is another critical exercise in learning to swim, although it can sometimes be complex because it requires a good deal of coordination.
However, with a bit of practice, your child will end up learning it.
In the beginning, you can hold it by the abdomen so that it stays afloat while exercising the technique, although it can also practice holding on to the edge of the pool or aboard.
Once he feels confident, encourage him to move his legs up and down without bending his knees.
- Encourage him to use his arms:
In swimming, the arms help to stay afloat, propel the swimmer, and allow him to advance more quickly.
Therefore, you must teach your child to use his arms while in the water.
To begin, you can explain the stroke technique: ask him to raise his arm, pass it over his head, and introduce it into the water at an angle of approximately 45º and then bring it back under the water again.
You can show him how to do it and ask him to practice standing in the water.
- Have him a coordinate arm and leg movements:
Once your little one knows the technique of kicks and strokes, it is time to learn to coordinate them.
In the beginning, it can be tricky since usually, the legs tend to go on one side and the arms on the other, but with a bit of practice, the child will end up getting it.
To help it, you can hold it by the abdomen while doing both exercises, but after several attempts, you will have to release it so that it learns to do it on its own.
- Motivate him to train:
Practice makes perfect, so once your child has the theory, it’s time to let him practice alone.
Obviously, in the beginning, you should train in a place where you hit rock bottom since, in addition to giving you more security, in case you make a mistake, it will not have significant consequences.
Later, however, when he has learned to stay afloat, you can allow him to swim in deeper spaces or with other children.
Of course, in no case do you lose sight of him until he has learned to swim well.
Dema JS is the founder of newbabysmell.com and a mother of two little kids. Dema had her MBA from St. John’s University- NYC in dual concentrations: Executive Management and Marketing Management.