Posted On: Feb 22, 2016
There has been a lot of controversy around the correct time you should introduce swimming to your child. Some suggest beginning as early as 2 months, while others suggest waiting until they are older. There is so much discrepancy because there is not one time that is better than the next.
The most common and recommended time to introduce swimming to your child is around 6 months. By this age, your child will be able to have proper head control and can also regulate their body temperature. They will also be able to handle the harsh pool chemicals by this time.
Although your child was swimming in the womb for 9 months, the pool water will be a very different experience for them. When introducing them to the pool, be sure to slowly enter the water. This will be their first experience with swimming, so it’s important to make them feel comfortable. While holding your child heart-to-heart or face-to-face, enter the water slowly. By being with them and enjoying the water, hopefully they will too!
By holding your child at face level with your shoulders emerged into the water, they will be able to feel the buoyancy of the water. Remember not to cradle them – hold them under their armpits in front of you. As your child gets older and more familiar with the water, you can try other techniques. If you hold your children’s hands and walk backwards, their bodies will float along the surface. This is typically called ‘towing’.
Don’t try to do too much at one time. Children need to be introduced slowly, little by little. Be sure to watch for any signs that depict they need a break such as chattering of teeth or lips turning abnormal colors. The typical length of water exposure of children should be around 30 minutes.
If you are having some trouble with your child enjoying the water, try incorporating some songs or games. If your child has a favorite song, try singing it to calm them down. If they have a favorite toy during bath time, try incorporating that. If the toy floats, it could help them want to reach for it.
Introducing your child to the pool may not be an easy endeavor, but it will be worth the trouble. As they grow older, their summers will be filled with activities with friends including swimming and they’ll be glad to be taught by the best, their parents.