We’re almost into warmer weather now and chances are many of you are planning your summer holidays too. Even if you’re not going away this year, you’re probably still planning to take the little ones swimming, so this week we’re bringing you some tips and tricks for making the whole process a lot easier. And above all- make swimming fun!
Why take baby swimming?
Swimming is more than a fun activity to keep your week busy and the tire the little ones out for bedtime. Swimming is a lifelong skill that will grow with your baby, and open up a whole new world. And it really does start as soon as they take their first dip.
For more information on why we think it’s important to go swimming with your little one, see this post.
Make Swimming Fun!
We’re encouraging parents to share their top tips on how they make swimming fun for babies- over on Twitter and Facebook- and we’re loving the suggestions so far. We’re using the #MakeSwimmingFun hashtag too, so please do add your suggestions- we’re hoping to update this posts as much as we can!
Here are our top tips for before you go:
- Be prepared. Ok, that doesn’t sound like much fun but believe me when I say that you are certainly not going to enjoy it very much if you don’t have everything that you need! Make sure your swimming bag is packed and ready to go, and make sure you don’t forget any essentials. The basics for your swimming bag should be towel (we recommend the Cuddleswim or toddler swimming poncho, of course!), swimming nappy and costume. We’ll cover some other bits later on. But as long as you are prepared with the basics, you and baby are more likely to have fun!
- Take snacks and drinks for after your swim. If you’re breastfeeding your baby will want a feed and if you’re bottle feeding take a bottle. Older babies will want a snack afterwards too, so pop those in your bag.
- Take some toys with you. Bath toys are an excellent idea and many of these are small enough to pop into your bag quite easily. Keep them in a draw string mesh bag if you can, so that the water can drain away and they won’t get everything else in your bag soggy.
- Take arm bands or a rubber ring/ baby seat for older babies. These can really help for babies who are confident enough to spend time in the water out of your arms.
- Take a dressing gown for you. Top tip! Baby will need to get dried, fed and changed pretty quickly before you have even had chance to think about sorting yourself out. Pop a dressing gown on to keep warm.
So, you’re all set! How to make sure baby enjoys the time in the water?
- Play with the toys you brought along. Charlotte (@cknursingbaby) told us that her little one loves the simple game they play when they go swimming. She pushes a bath toy under the water and lets it pop up again- simple but fun! Watering cans are also good for creating sprinkles that baby will be fascinated to watch!
- Talk to your baby to reassure and remind him that you are there and he is safe. Never underestimate the power of your voice!
- And sing to your baby too. All the songs he loves to hear at home work just as well in the water.
- Maintain eye contact with your baby, and make sure he can see your face at all times. And smile! If you are having fun, your baby will too.
- Don’t be afraid to move your baby through and under the water. The aim is to get your baby water confident, but this takes time so don’t rush it. Watch your baby for cues, but do take the plunge (so to speak!) if you think he’s ready.
If you notice your baby starts to fuss, shiver or cry during your time in the pool, it’s probably time to get out. Don’t push your luck by staying in longer than your baby wants to!
Make sure you have everything that you need ready to go. Wrap baby up and get warm and dry. And most importantly… go back to the pool. A baby who swims regularly is a happy and confident baby in the pool! So go back again- it wasn’t that bad was it?
Please share your top tips on the #MakeSwimmingFun hashtag!