Swimming is a fun and healthy activity for children and a valuable skill. Helping your child to gain confidence in the water will be vital when they begin to learn to swim. The swimming pool may seem a strange and scary place so it is useful to give some thought over how you will actually introduce your child to the pool. Structured lessons can be a great option but it is probably better to take your child yourself for the very first visit as it may be easier to offer them reassurance. There are several things you should consider beforehand.
How to get into the water
The swimming pool will seem very big to a small child or baby and they may be scared at the thought of actually getting into the water. For a baby it is best to climb into the pool either carrying the baby or have someone who can hand them to you once you are in the water. A small child may be able to sit on the side of the pool while you climb in although you must be careful to keep hold of your child while you do this so that they remain safe.
However you choose to take your child into the pool for the first time, you should make sure that it is a slow process that they are comfortable with and it is a good idea to maintain eye contact and to keep talking to them.
Holding your child in the water
Being in the water will feel very different to your child. You should make sure that you are positioned level with them and face to face. Holding your child in front of you with your hands under their armpits will allow them to experience the sensation of moving their body in the water but they will still feel secure.
Make it fun!
Once your child is happy being held in the water then you could encourage them to try some activities. Both of you blowing bubbles under the water will be fun and will encourage your child to get part of their face wet. You could also encourage them to put one ear at a time into the water and see what they can hear. If you join in and do it first then your child is likely to be more confident and copy you.
If your child is very confident and is clearly comfortable in the water then you could try towing them along in the water by their hands. Don't push your child into doing anything though, you should follow their cues and take things slowly.
Keep it short
Your first few visits to a swimming pool with your child should be fairly short. Ten minutes is long enough for a baby. It's best to leave while your child is happy and hasn't become too tired. This ensures that they will be left with a good impression of the swimming pool and will definitely be happy to go swimming again.
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