Swimming is a skill that everyone should learn. Primarily it helps keep us all a little bit safer (The Royal Society For the Prevention of Accidents say drowning is a leading cause of accidental death) in the world as we as being great fun – messing about in the river! Understand water also increases a child’s confidence and is another skill they have learnt. When is the best age to start introducing your children to water and how should you go about it?
How to Introduce Children to Water
There are lots of pools and parenting groups that offer a range of opportunities at lots of different ages and abilities, but let us try and guide you a little bit:
Six Months – One Year
At this age we are not talking swimming lessons, it’s more about getting your little one used to water; being splashed, the feel, the sound. This is accomplished with games like splashing hands and arms into the water. Holding your baby and bobbing around so she feels the “lightness” of floating in water. It must be enjoyable for you all and please keep hold of baby.
Babies can start much, much earlier than this however, we feel that deserves it’s own post.
Two – Three Years
We need to get little one really involved in splashing, getting water on the face and letting it dribble down. Overcoming this is a huge step forwarad in water confidence. Holding the backs of the heads and encouraging them to float, tummy up will massively effect their ability and comfort in the water, again let them feel the water hold them – If the legs sink encourage them to look further up and back.
Gently allowing them to duck under and blow bubbles helps to prepare them for swimming and the more advanced exercises they will need to grasp over time.
If your child is confident and wants to jump, loves going under water don’t be over protective, allow them to explore just make sure what they are doing is safe and you are right there all the time.
Four – Six Years
In an ideal world your child should be very comfortable with the water and these new sensations. If not start from the beginning and slowly, but confidently introduce them to the water and all the amazing things you can do in and around it.
At 4 you should be able to join a swimming club and get proper structured lessons. My daughter started properly at this age and now swims really well. I remember watching the instructor poor watering cans of water over her head to help her get used to the sensation. Explore trying to swim under the water (with googles at first) and eventually swim through hoops in the pool (no she is a swim teacher, not a Dolphin trainer).
Jumping in (safely) is encouraged and learning how to go from standing to pushing forwards into the swimming position un-aided was a frequent lesson. This then became seeing how far you could propel yourself and float on the waters surface.