Do you have a swimming pool at home and you want to take advantage of the beautiful season to familiarize baby with water? Good idea!
It's never too early to introduce your baby to the pleasures of bathing, provided you follow a few tips and best practices.
From 0 to 4 years old
Infants are not afraid of water. This fear can arise later, which is why many parents want to introduce their child to swimming from the first months. As soon as your baby holds his head well, you can swim in the pool with him. From the age of 4 months, the Red Cross offers a preschool swimming program with introductory lessons offered in aquatic centers. These lessons are given in the presence of one of the parents in the water of course.
Did you know? It is necessary to wait around the age of 4 for the child to be able to learn the correct swimming techniques. So don't rush things and don't put unnecessary pressure on your child, but keep in mind that the goal before this age is to develop the child's confidence in the water.. and fun too!
The taming of water
Never force your child into the pool if they don't want to. For toddlers, you can firstfun with a watering can, starting with watering his feet and legs. Once the first contact with the water has been established, sit on the edge of the pool with him and kick your feet in the water together. Know that if you don't have a swimming pool, a paddling pool will be just as effective for introducing baby to water.
Once in the pool, hold your baby in your arms and give him time to discover the feeling of the water on his body. You can then hold him by his armpits and move his lower body. Gently pouring water over his head with a sponge or cups will make him more comfortable when it comes time to put his head under water.
Learning through play
It is first and foremost through play that children will learn to love being in contact with water.
Hold your child by the belly or place a small floating board under his chest and encourage him to kick his legs and arms to move forward in the water to fetch a toy that you have placed there other end of the pool. As soon as he stops flapping his legs or arms, stop moving forward. The faster it beats, the faster you move as well. He will quickly understand the dynamics.
Show your child how to blow on water with his mouth. This is a good way to teach him not to inhale through his mouth when his head is in the water.
When the child is a little older and has a good command of walking and jumping, have him jump into your arms from the edge of theswimming pool with its flotation jacket. First start by catching him and gradually explain to him that he will be able to jump directly into the water. His flotation jacket will immediately bring him to the surface, but still be close enough to bring him back up if needed. Through this exercise, he will learn to put his head in the water, then kick his feet to come up to the surface.
Your child should wear a life jacket when around the pool. The latter will allow him to return to a vertical position in the water in the event of a fall. In the water, you can choose to bathe him with a flotation jacket or without if you keep him firmly against you. The more comfortable your child becomes in the water and you want to let him swim alone, staying close to him of course, put him on a life jacket.
The use of diapers designed for swimming is important, since they absorb little water and therefore become less heavy to wear for the child who is bathing.