It's such a lovely thing to take your baby swimming. If you haven't tried it yet I really recommend it. I remember that being in the water with the baby was lovely, but all the palaver of getting us both changed could be stressful. If you've been thinking of going swimming with your baby, but aren't sure where to start, here are some expert tips from Swimbabes to get you going.
Swimbabes is one of the UK's leading providers of baby swim classes. As well as teaching more than 1300 babies to swim each week, the company also has a specialist online swim shop. Here, founder, qualified swimming instructor and mum-of-two Laura Molloy gives her top tips for teaching babies to swim.
1. Make sure you are ready for your first visit to the pool
Use bath time to introduce your child to water and use toys and songs to encourage a relaxed, fun feel. Remember not to expect too much from your child and allow them to develop at their own pace. Once you think they are ready, introduce basic skills for part of your time in the pool.
2. Children love to swim with their parents
For early swimmers, try to use holds in the water that maintain eye contact with your little one. As they get older, swim and dive with your child so they can feel how you move through the water - it's a great way to learn and play in the pool.
3. Remember the core skills and repeat them at each pool visit
Encourage a strong leg kick and arm action but for no more than seven minutes at any one time – then have a rest and play! Repetition really is the key to success for these skills.
4. Try and maintain a routine when you go to the pool with your child
This helps them to feel settled and they will be happier to try new things gradually for part of the session. Also, try to recognise when your child does not want to swim. Consider external factors that may affect them, for example if you take your child swimming after nursery or school they may be tired. It is better to find the right time for your child than try and force them to fit into a schedule which is not right for them.
5. Remember all children progress at their own pace and in their own special way
It is quite common for some children to seem like they're not progressing at all, and then suddenly come on leaps and bounds in one session.
6. Babies and young children love swimming!
Once they are confident they will be drawn to the water – do be aware of the inherent dangers and even with the most confident little swimmer always remain vigilant. If you stay safe, your child should thrive in the water.
For more details on Swimbabes, visit www.swimbabes.co.uk.