Yippee! Summers are here and it’s time for fun, fun and more fun. When beautiful, bright and sunny days beckon us to embrace all its chirpiness, it won’t be fair if we keep our tiny tots away from water. After all this is the best time to splish–splash in pool and make merry until the weather permits. Nowadays , whether we stay in a residential complex or in an independent house , with an easy accessibility to swimming pools, it makes sense if we begin swimming lessons for our “ challenging twos” as children aged between 2-4 are capable enough to learn a new activity if introduced to them in a proper way.
Although American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids can wait until age four to starts swimming, it is also proven that a baby or a toddler if either through parent-child programs or with some professional help where individual attention is given, is made to familiarize with water, it will make swimming not only an easy recreational sport for him but one can see that the child will take the water like a fish in no time. Some of the scientifically proven benefits of swimming are that it improves the child’s cognitive and fine motor skills as this activity involves the coordination between various body parts. Besides helping physically, the exercise also keep his mind relax and is also a great way to bond with your tot.
HOW TO TEACH TODDLERS TO SWIM:
1) It’s pretty obvious that a toddler can only learn if he is friends with water so foremost the parent should help the child in removing his hydro phobia, if he has any. To make him swim–ready start with playing some fun games during bath time.Fill the bath tub or a bucket of water and with your hands gently splash the water. Encourage your kid also to do the same so that he associates water with something fun. You can also fill a mug of water and gently pour it over his head and let it cascade on his face, ears and body. Also try to make him stand in shower for few seconds along with you. The whole idea of these practices is to make the child feel comfortable when he comes in contact with water.
4) Once you feel that child is getting accustom to the pool, start teaching him to quickly flutter his legs up and down with toes pointed, either by holding his hands or letting him hold the side rail of the pool.Make sure while doing so the child’s body has to remain parallel to the ground surface of pool and not perpendicular. Once he starts kicking inside the water,with you facing towards him, hold his hands with arms all stretched out and start moving backwards so that he covers at least one lap(give a little break if he wants). Also make sure your little Nemo doesn’t bend his knee during the whole process. Once the child is at ease in kicking and blowing bubbles separately,you can try submerging the head, blowing bubbles inside water and kicking the legs, all at the same time with him. If the child is able to do so, it means half the battle is won and eventually with little practice every day your kid will start enjoying his swimming lessons. But then again, patience is the key word here, if the child takes time in learning resulting in you or the coach losing his cool, your kid will be discouraged to learn any further.
5) Even after much effort and trials,if at any time you feel that your toddler is reluctant to get into the water, you can put his mind at ease with the help of safety gears. It is observed that when the proper equipment is used it makes the child both comfortable and confident inside the pool. Most commonly used flotation device is the air tube which fits around the waist and keeps the body above the water surface. Others like swimming vest or life jackets are also popular among kids. Arm band floaties help those kids who know how to swim but need a confidence boost. Then there are swimsuits with built-in flotation device which help the kid to hit the water with much certainty. Using a kickboard initially is also a good option for those toddlers who are scared of water as it helps in keeping the head above water while focusing on the kicking movement of the legs.
6) Parents should also invest in buying a good body-hugging swim-suit for the kid because a loose fitted one will accumulate more water between the gap of the body and the swimsuit, thereby decreasing the buoyancy and making it more difficult for the kid to stay afloat. Also make sure the kid wears the swimming cap to prevent the hair damage due to chlorinated water, a hygienic habit which also keeps the swimming pool neat and avoid any accident, should the hair gets entangled in side walls or in the zipper of swimwear. Swimming goggles area also a must gear to prevent itchy eyes caused due to chlorinated water of the pool.Make sure you buy the ones which provide water-tight seal around the eyes and give a good underwater vision. To prevent the water getting into the ears and reducing the chances of ear-infection, you can also buy ear-plugs for you kid. The child should also use a good water-proof sunscreen containing sun-protection factor or SPF (higher the SPF, more protection it provides from ultra violet rays of the sun). If your toddler is not potty trained you should use swimming diapers.
7) You can also entice your little one into swimming if you buy them swimsuits which are fashion forward both in terms of style and protection. As everybody is aware of the harmful effects of the sunrays, UV protected swimwear which provides full coverage is must if the little one is too reluctant to leave the pool anytime soon or if you are planning to hit the beach, where also you tend to spend more time. Kids gets very excited if any piece of clothing has their favourite cartoon character on them ( Barbie, Tom & Jerry , Mickey & Minnie sell like hotcakes!) or are bright in colour with latest cuts and prints on them. You can definitely check out MyBabyCart.com for all your trendy swimwear needs.
I hope the above given pointers will prove beneficial before your toddler start taking his swimming coaching. And all said and done, it never hurts if the parents take extra precaution whenever their little ones are in the pool. Always keep an eye on them, remain at an arm’s length of your kids and learn the basic CPR, just in case. Have happy and safe holidays!