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Babies and children learn new skills through imagination and play rather than lecture and drills. For little ones, games are the ultimate teaching tool!
Drills and instruction will only lead to frustration for both parent and baby.
This means you should use cues to teach the idea of the skill rather than the details and technical terms. For example, how many times have you heard “close your fingers when swimming?’ When it comes to swimming babies, closing their fingers doesn’t help them in any way to learn how to swim.
The way a new swimmer truly learns is by putting their face in the water. When your baby is comfortable putting their face in the water, it means they can:
1. Learn how to hold their breath while in water.
2. Learn how to do an air exchange so they can breathe and continue swimming.
3. Learn how to propel themselves in the water using kicks.
To effectively teach your child how to swim:
- Correct them with compliments.
Young children get easily frustrated. Compliment their effort and keep the environment positive. For example, if they do something wrong, say, “That’s great what you did! Now try this!” and show them the right way.
- Get in the water.
Don’t just sit and watch. Get in the water with your child. Hold their hand as they practice their kicks rather than holding onto the side of the pool. Maneuver their legs so they “feel” the movement. Demonstrate if possible. Be a part of their learning adventure!
5 games to play with swimming babies
1. Ball throw and swim.
Bring waterproof balls to the pool with you and throw them in the water. Let baby swim to the ball and back. Having something to chase after makes pool time more fun.
2. Kick slow and fast.
This is usually played by holding onto the side of the pool, but it’s best to do holding onto your baby’s hands.
3. Water peekaboo.
This a great game for encouraging your child to put their head in the water. Put your head underwater and bob back up and say peekaboo.
4. Gather the floaties.
Bring floating toys to the pool and throw them in. Have your baby swim around and collect them one by one. This is a great opportunity for your child to practice kicking and using their arms.
5. Sing songs.
There aren’t too many swimming songs, so try this (to the tune of the wheels on the bus).
The baby in the water goes splash splash splash
Splash splash splash
Splash splash splash
The baby in the water goes splash splash splash when we play in the pool.
The baby in the water goes kick kick kick………..
The baby in the water goes float float float……..
All these pool games should be played in the shallow end. Your baby should not be allowed in the deep end until they can swim two lengths of the pool non-stop. Always stay within arm’s reach when children are in the deep end.
Despite the fact that your baby knows how to swim, you should always supervise them when they are in the pool. Insist that your child always asks for permission before entering the water and remind them of rules such as no running on the deck.
Do you know any more games for swimming babies? If so, please share in the comments section!
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Featured image source: www.babycentre.co.uk
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