Monday, December 12, 2016

Raising Little Swimmers

            While Baya and Myles are different in almost every way, they are both awesome little swimmers who LOVE the water.  They usually do a good job of impressing people with how comfortable they are in the water and I’ve been asked many times why they are that way.  This third kid may throw all my theories out the window (cause kids are good at that), but here is what has worked for my kids…
Start them young – but not just in a pool.  It all starts with how you do bath time because it’s far more frequent.  We use a foam bath mat to lay our babies on in the water.  We don’t use little tubs, or prop or sit them up.  They lay and kick and splash with their ears in the water starting as a newborn.  Baya would turn and put half of her face underwater with no problem.  It wasn’t until I saw someone else bathe her with her sitting did it even occur to me to do it differently.  With almost 3 months to go yet until she turns 4, she can swim on her own short distances with her face in the water.  (I’ve also been taking them swimming multiple times a week for the last couple months). 
            Myles was the first to sit himself up in the tub, but they both love to splash and dump water on their heads and faces.  I have already rescued Myles from potential drownings more times than I can count because he has no fear.  In fact, he was emotionally distraught when once he realized he was left behind from swimming.  They love swimming so much.  At the waterpark recently, he insisted he was going on the big red slide because Baya did (even though she’s always been more timid in life).  He did back out both times when he was at the top though (couldn’t ride down with a parent).  This is a boy who’s only 1 yr and 9 months!  He has to do everything he can to keep up with Baya.
Top tips for raising your own little water babies…
  • Lay them in the tub starting as a newborn
  • Allow time for kicking, splashing, and playing
  • Start them in the pool young.  When they slip under accidentally, remember to react calmly.  They look to you to determine how to respond.  If you freak out, they will too.  If you are calm and excitedly tell them, “Good job!” instead, then they often will copy that response.
  • Biggest thing is to get them comfortable so they are ready for swim lessons (Y lessons without a parent start as young as 3!)
  • Think progression: In the pool have them lay on their back with their head on your shoulder first, then support their neck in the water.  Hold them while they swim on their tummy.  Show them how to blow bubbles, put their face in, and do bobs holding the wall. Have them jump in to you while holding your hands, etc.
  • Don’t wait until 8 or 10 to take them swimming or put them in lessons.  I’ve seen it, and it’s no good!

Remember, swimming isn’t just about being competitive on a team.  It’s a life-long sport and life-saving skill to learn!

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