DMMB recommends enrolling in a class designed to teach parents and children water safety and proper techniques that will familiarize your child with the water. The words below are one mother’s experience with raising a water-lovin’ child.
My husband is a swimmer; I swim in my mind as I’m laying by the pool, preferably with a drink in my hand. Now that I think about it, that’s how I “run” too. But when it came to our son, I wanted him to love the water. He doesn’t have to grow up to be a world-class swimmer, but I want him to love the water and not be scared of it.
When I was pregnant with Ajax, one of my friends, Sally, who is a swimmer and coach herself, and whose two year old son was already swimming, told me that one of the best things you can do to help your child love the water is expose them to the water. Even a child as young as two weeks old can start experiencing the water. Just make sure it’s warm! So whether it was exposing my son to water through a bath or actually getting him in a pool, I tried to get him in the water as much as possible right from the beginning. Even as a non-swimmer, I was able to help cultivate a love of the water in my little guy. Now, my son at eighteen months, knows what we mean when we say “we’re going swimming” and he gets so excited. He loves the water!
Raising a Water-Lovin’ Child
In the bathtub – This is a great, safe place to introduce your little one to the water. As early as two weeks old you can let your child feel the sensation of floating in the tub by holding them (usually head in hands) until their ears are under the water. Clean water doesn’t cause ear infections; so make sure the water you’re in is clean.
Take a class – There are all kinds of classes out there for little ones! Classes that introduce your child to the water, to classes that will teach a seven-month old how to float, or classes that will teach your toddler how to swim. Even though I knew a lot of the techniques taught to me in the class I took, it was still helpful to have someone show me. And being in the water with your child is huge! Show them that it’s fun.
Get in the water – You can start with the bathtub, and move to a pool (a therapy pool works well because it’s generally warmer than even the family pool) when you feel confident. Even if it’s just sitting in the shallow end and splashing in the water, it’s exposure! Blow bubbles (which helps teach them to blow air out of their mouth instead of sucking in), splash, go underwater and show them how it’s done. Make it fun! Slowly connecting water skills in fun ways helps your child experience water in a positive way.
I know that you can’t force a kid to love something they’re just not gonna love. Believe me, I’ve tried that with food. But if you can give them positive exposure to the water, chances are you’ll be raising a water-lovin’ child too.
Does anyone else have a water-lovin’ child? Was there something specific you did that helped your child love the water?