It’s not always necessary to have a proper swimming pool in order to begin teaching your toddler, or baby, the basics of swimming. There are many ways in which to start raising water awareness and allow your child to attain a level of comfort with the water, before taking the big ‘plunge’ of toddler swimming lessons.
The bath is the perfect beginner’s learning place. Here your baby or toddler can become familiar with the feeling of water on their face, splashing, and general water play. Blowing bubbles under water, water toys – such as squirters – and hair-washing all form a part of the initial introduction to toddler swimming.
For outside, there are inflatable paddling pools, or the iconic clam-shell, available for very low prices, and these are great for children to both splash about in, and to practice basic skills as well. Generally, most toddlers love water play, and particularly in summer months (or warmer climates), these shallow outdoor pools can form a part of every day water awareness. Naturally, never leave a toddler unattended around any water – even for just a moment – and always empty paddling pools (or baths) and put away when not in use. Always teach your child from the start they must never play with or in water without an adult present.
The beach, or lake, is also a wonderful place to begin toddler swimming. If you have access to beaches, try to find a calm, sheltered bay, where large waves won’t scare your child. Some babies have an initial negative reaction to sand – it’s the texture which feels peculiar to them, but this can be gotten over by having a small sand-pit at home, or even just letting them play with a bucket of sand. Then you can assist your toddler with wading, and with water play at the edge of the ocean – such as digging a pond for them to sit and play in. The younger the child is, the more easily affected by cold water they will be, so don’t keep your young baby or toddler in cold water for long periods – a few minutes at a time is fine. As they become older and more confident – you can wade them further into the sea, and hold them, dipping them gently in and out.
Even if you don’t have a pool of your own, there is no reason that you can’t begin the initial stages of teaching toddler swimming.
With thanks to Let’s Talk Babies for the images in this post!