By Mary Yohanan
Teaching toddlers to swim: Safety in water
It is said babies are good swimmers. They have a pair of reflexes, also known as a bradycardic response, allowing them to control their breath underwater. If you place a 6-month-old baby in the water with tummy-side down, they can move arms and legs in a swimming motion. Research shows some toddlers even enjoy splashing around in the water. However, that does not mean you can take your little child and drop him or her in a pool because of their natural ability to swim. Guidance is a prerequisite for safety.
Children absolutely love water. The idea of getting wet, splattering water, or putting their hands or legs in a water-filled tub is adventurous for them. To ensure their safety in the water, while they are having fun, they must learn how to swim. Pediatricians are recommending toddlers take swim lessons as early as six months of age because training from an early age can prevent drowning, which happens to be a major reason for death among children. Being able to swim independently and learn all the different strokes does not start until later but ensures that the little infants and toddlers can learn how to be safe in the water and float early on.
Even Psychologists encourage parents to take their children for swim sessions as it shapes behavioral patterns. During the first couple of years, children learn many things that play an important part in their development process. They are even quick learners, if trained properly, they build up elements like obedience, teamwork, focus, confidence, patience, sportsman spirit, and so on. Apart from that, your child starts making new friends at the time of training. They learn to cooperate and communicate with people outside the known group.
Though children love playing with water, some fear putting their face in the water. If you want to eliminate this fear from your little ones, getting them swimming from an early age is the solution. Swim lessons allow your children to be safe in the water while having fun playing with the water.
When looking for swimming lessons, try to find a pool that makes swimming more than just a lesson. There are several swimming toys like the water noodle, kickboards, diving kits, and so on. Make sure that your child wears a reusable swim diaper with elastic. This will keep the little ones free and comfortable while swimming and even the pool from getting dirty. Hygiene is very important, so it is better to take utmost precautions like giving your toddler a good shower after the lesson gets over.
Parents must understand that teaching toddlers to swim is just for fun. This is not a training session for the Olympics; so do not expect much. You intend to curb the fear of water and ingrain confidence. Never force them or get upset because your children could not perform well. If they start loving it, swimming can turn out to be their favorite sport.
How about making this swimming session interesting? You can teach them to float, and make their arms and legs move in a playful manner. Take your child to the shallow end of the pool where they can stand or sit with their head above water and play games. You can encourage them to hold their breath for a few seconds underwater, but this needs to be done under supervision. Most importantly, praise them and support them when they try to swim or do activities in the water as per your instructions.
The feeling of water all around makes them feel very excited. The thrill of getting permission to play with water makes toddlers glad. Let them have every bit of joy, but stay alert and cautious.