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The Next Step: What Comes After Baby Swimming?

The Next Step: What Comes After Baby Swimming?
13 June 2014 3808 Views No comments

Baby swimming is fantastic for your child in the early stages of life. Not only is it a great bonding experience and a lot of fun for both of you, but it also teaches them skills that will help them throughout their lives.

Taking your baby swimming helps with their physical and mental development, provides a good level of exercise and helps them to enjoy water, possibly making bathtime a bit easier as they grow up. However, there comes the time when they are of course no longer babies.

So, where do you go from there?

Toddler swimming helps you to maintain the bond you created with your child and keeps you both active. It also helps to build their confidence levels, especially as toddlers are capable of a greater range of movements than babies, and as a result are able to try more complex swimming techniques.

Continuing to swim with your child ensures that they are less likely to develop a fear of water, as it encourages their desire to have a splash around. It is also a great form of exercise for children, helping to keep your family active and get everyone to enjoy being healthy.

But how do you follow on from baby swimming with older children?

As toddlers can be more active than babies and will develop the ability to navigate the water on their own, it is a good idea to provide them with more buoyancy. Providing your child with something that will support them in the water – such as the Original Konfidence Jacket – boosts their confidence, improves safety and allows them to experiment with swimming techniques.

Build confidence

You are also able to get your toddler used to getting in and out of the water themselves. While you shouldn't allow them to go into a pool or the sea alone, doing this can make them feel safer, more grown up and they will be happy to play.

An easy way to do this is to lead them up to the water's edge, such as the steps to the pool or a ramp into the shallow end. Let them explore the area and go into the water, with you staying close by at all times. This lets them know that it is their choice if they want to go into the water, meaning they are more likely to enjoy their time.

Get them kicking

As toddler swimming involves a lot more movement, it is important that you get your children used to kicking their legs in the water. This is a key part of many swimming techniques and will help their leg muscles to develop.

You can do this by sitting them on a step with their legs in the water and having them kick. They should keep their legs straight for the most part, with only a slight bend in the knees. Give them plenty of encouragement and get them kicking as hard as they can.

When you get them into the water entirely, support them slightly as they get used to kicking in order to keep themselves afloat and move around. As their confidence grows, you can step away from them so they know they are doing it all themselves.

Go underwater

While your toddler is learning to swim, it is inevitable that they will go under the water. However, some children can develop a fear or hatred of getting their faces wet while swimming. To ensure that this doesn't happen and that they are more than happy to be dunked every now and then, you need to show your child that going under isn't scary.

To do this, get them used to partially submerging their face in the water. Have them lower themselves into the water so that their mouth is covered but not their nose. They should then try to blow bubbles. Encourage them to blow bubbles for as long as they can before bringing their faces out of the water.

If they are nervous about doing it, show them what to do first. Seeing you happy to put your face in the water will make them feel more comfortable.

When it comes to going totally underwater, use the one-two-three countdown so that they can get themselves ready. If they are a bit nervous, you can always have them hold their nose, although you don't want to let them do this every time as they should get used to going totally under the water.

You can either count down with them and both go under the water – this way, it becomes a game and makes them feel safe because you are doing it too. Lower them into the water on the count of three. You can make this more fun by bouncing them on each count first before they go right under. Of course, you can also just leave them to it so that they go under all by themselves.

Keep it fun

Once they are away and happy swimming around, keep them interested in the water by introducing them to games or enlisting them in group classes where they can interact with others their own age in the pool.