The techniques for how to teach a baby to swim are simple but require patience and repetition to be successful. The important things is to slowly teach the baby how to move in the water, how to float, and to not be afraid. Add the element of having fun with your baby and the lessons will result in a baby that can swim in a pool.
To teach a baby to swim, you will need:
- Swimming pool
- Small baby toy
- Teach a kicking motion. Hold the baby in a hug position. Begin walking backwards in the pool to get the baby used to traveling in that direction. As you walk backwards, use your hands to guide the baby’s legs to simulate the kicking until the baby is comfortable with the kicking motion.
- Dip the baby. Place one hand on the baby’s chest and one on the back. Countdown from three, blow in the baby’s face and then quickly dip the baby’s face into the water for two seconds. Make sure to blow in the baby’s face until it is completely submerged in water. Place the baby in a hug position to relax and breathe. Repeat until the baby is comfortable getting wet.
- Releasing the baby. Releasing the baby for a second will slowly teach both of you that the baby can float. Repeat the count, blow, and dip step. When the baby is completely submerged release the baby for a second. Bring the baby up to a hug position to rest and breathe before repeating. The next time release the baby for two seconds, then three seconds until the baby begins to get comfortable. It is natural for the baby to squirm and the parent to panic a little.
- Floating the baby. Hold the baby in front of you with a hand under each arm then count, blow, and dip. Lift the baby to the surface of the water and gently rotate the baby into a face up floating position while supporting the back of the head. As the baby fusses and squirms give reassurance to calm the baby until you both realize the baby can float. When comfortable, get the baby in a floating position (keep the baby from getting water in the mouth by stopping the head from turning) and begin to move backwards so the baby gets used to the motion. Rest and repeat until you are able to release the baby for a second or two and the baby can manage alone.
- Falling in the pool. Sit the baby on the edge of the pool while you are standing in the pool. Gently pull the baby forward into the water to get the baby used to entering the water from a height. This will help train the baby how to react if a fall in the pool ever happens.
Tips/Warnings: Praise the baby and take the time to play with the baby to make swimming fun. Remember we all lived submerged in water at the beginning. Nature will kick in and the baby will begin to kick, float, and swim. Always end a swimming lesson on a positive note. Never stop on a moment when the baby was afraid. Turn the fear around with play and comforting. Teaching a baby to swim can be challenging for the teacher. At some point the baby will get water in the mouth. It is important not to panic because the baby will react to that panic. Pick the baby up from the water and let the coughing and spitting clear the baby’s mouth.
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