While the subject of teaching very young kids and even babies to swim is one of much debate, experts unanimously agree that introducing kids to water from a very young age can be uniquely beneficial for their development. According to the experts, there is technically no such thing as getting started too early and nor is there any child that could not benefit from an early introduction to water.
Of course, actually going about the process can be rather on the daunting side for parents as the dangers of water need no real explanation. So for those who are now fully convinced that the time has come to introduce their own kids to water, the following six expert tips may help make the process safer, simpler and more enjoyable from the word go:
1 – The Sooner, The Better
First of all, it is worth remembering that babies are born with something of an instinctive, natural swimming ability which begins to fade the very moment they are born. As far as experts are concerned, therefore, the sooner you can introduce your baby to the water, the better. There’s been much debate over recent years as to whether or not it is safe to take a baby swimming before they have had their injections. As far as the British National Health Service is concerned, however, it is indeed wholly safe for babies to swim even before they have had their vaccinations. Nevertheless, any parent with specific concerns should bring them up with their family doctor prior to going ahead.
2 – Face Your Own Fears
For many parents, the idea of teaching their kids to swim is quite a worrying prospect to say the least as they themselves are not exactly fond of the water. However, rather than letting this stand in your way it can then be used to your advantage to become something of a bonding experience you share with your baby. Needless to say, if you are never seen in the water and are considering introducing a very young child to water, it is of the utmost importance that you speak to an instructor and do so in a supervised environment.
3 – Make Water Fun for Baby
Babies and kids of all ages are naturally more inclined to develop strongly and succeed if and when any given task or challenge is interpreted as fun. As such, one of the best things you can do for your baby is to make water as a whole as fun as possible from day one. Kids more often than not absolutely love playing with water and this can be hugely helpful when it comes to introducing them to swimming and water safety in general.
4 – Choose the Right Pool
Generally speaking, experts recommend first introducing your baby to water in a pool that is slightly warmer than the average swimming pool – somewhere around 32° C. This is recommended for babies up to the age of one year, after which time it is usually fine to choose a standard swimming pool. Nevertheless, if you cannot find a dedicated baby pool or a warmer swimming pool, there are plenty of baby boys and baby girls’ swimming costumes and wetsuits on the market that can help keep them warm in cooler water. If in any doubt, again, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor.
5 – Invest in Quality Swim Nappies
Without any shadow of doubt, perhaps the most important piece of kit you will need is that of a few high quality swim nappies. Accidents can and do happen, but the very last place you want to deal with such an accident is of course a public swimming pool. Swim nappies are created specifically for these kinds of purposes and are extremely affordable. Just be sure to buy from a leading brand in order to ensure the nappies do not irritate or chafe your baby’s skin.
6 – Avoid Tantrums
Last but not least, as you of course do not want to be the parent disturbing the peace for everybody else with a baby throwing a tantrum, it is a good idea to make sure that the baby you are teaching to swim is not suffering with an empty belly. As far as experts are concerned, the best way of avoiding tantrums is to give your baby a feed approximately 30 minutes before heading into the pool, with another feed then planned for after the session as they will have no doubt worked up quite the appetite.