It’s National Baby Swimming Week this week, which encourages parents and carers to get out there and swim with their little ones.
(Image courtesy of SwimFin)
It's well documented that the earlier you introduce your child to the swimming pool, the better it will be for their water confidence, as well as a number of other physical, emotional and mental benefits.
Water not only stimulates your baby's natural senses but can also provide a sense of calm.After all, that they were surrounded in fluid for 9 months growing inside your tummy, so it can feel of great comfort to them, particularly when they are very little.
What's more, it is an activity that you can do to strengthen your bond. It doesn't involve interruptions from technology, and you give each other 1-2-1 attention. They trust you to help them feel safe, and you take pleasure in watching their enjoyment.
As part of Baby Swimming Week 2017, we thought we'd put together our top tips of how to make the most from your trip to the swimming pool.
- Choose a pool that is suitable for your baby - for very little ones, the pool should be at least 32 degrees for babies under 3 months, and 30 degrees for older babies.When in the pool, make sure the baby's shoulder are covered by the level of the water, and keep them moving so that they don't get cold and always take the child out of the water as soon as they start to shiver.
- Do not over pack your swimming bag - you'll find it hard to find what you're looking for in a hurry! Make sure you pack both normal and swim nappies - for children who are not yet potty trained, swim nappies will help to catch accidents! Remember to bring warm clothing to dress your baby in afterwards - this is especially important in winter months.
- Put your own swimming costume on before you leave the house - it'll save time when you're getting you and your baby changed.
- Use an easy to fold changing mat to add a soft layer to changing benches such as our Star Changing Mat. Made from neoprene it insulates your baby from wet and cold surfaces.
- Shower with your baby before and after you're in the water so that the change in temperature isn't too much of a shock.
- Bring a small toy along, such as a small ball or floating bath toy to encourage them to reach out - the first steps to using their arms in a stroke manner. We love Funky Floaties from SwimFin
- Don't underestimate how tired they can get - start with 10-20 minutes of pool time, and increase as the baby gets older.
- When you're starting out, keep your baby facing you and talk to them constantly, praising them throughout.
- Put your mouth to the level of the water and blow bubbles - this will encourage your baby to copy and begin to teach them how to blow out under water (a key need when learning to swim).
- Sing while you swim! Classic nursery rhymes such as Ring-a-Roses, The Grand Old Duke of York and London’s Burning are great classics that you can do actions with the water to engage little ones.
- For afterwards, use a warm and snuggly towel and take it to the poolside - hooded towels are perfect for popping straight on so that your baby doesn't get chilly or upset.
Have fun in the water together and enjoy that special time! You can find out more about National Baby Swimming week and the range of activities and advice on offer here.
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