Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tips for swimming with your baby / toddler (Mysmartkid)

Tips for swimming with your baby / toddler (Mysmartkid)
 advice to parents from an experienced swimming Coach...

The earlier the better with regards to starting with babies.

From about 9 months babies need to re-learn the skill of holding their breath underwater, but younger kids have it as a reflex so its much easier on them when starting swimming underwater.

Be as calm & confident as possible, because babies will pick up if you are apprehensive. They learn to be scared of things from us, so fake it until you make it in that regard if you have to.

Make sure your baby stays moving in the water so they don't get cold. It also helps to put a thermal/woollen baby-grow under their costume to help regulate their body temperature, even in heated poolsIn really little ones, avoid cotton completely as it will make baby colder. 

Avoid wetsuits if possible as they provide a false sense of floating. If you are starting a child in lessons where they are getting in by themselves (without their parent getting in) always encourage them, allowing them to progress in their own time without comparing them to other kids.

Practice basic skills in the bath or even in the lounge, making it fun especially if child is a nervous beginner.

The best confidence booster is to just play in the water without pressure. If your child is especially 
nervous/upset/insecure around water, get in with them & play,play, play. 
Goggles are great & they have their place in lessons but being able to swim without them is far more importantJust be aware that they can become reliant on them & will suddenly lose any ability to do the skills they already know how to do when asked to do them without goggles.

By age 3, kids are usually keen to be more independent, theyare more mature & they can wait their turn while the teacher may be busy with another kid in the class.

It would be ideal to get your child started in a pool wherein they can stand up in by themselves. 

Learning how to regain their feet is crucial & this is often overlooked in deeper poolsIt's ll very well if they can swim from point A to B, but if they can't regain their feetafterwards, it can be in vain.

This can easily be achieved in one of those slightly deeper blow up pools where the water is chest deep on the kids.
As for the kicking, kids will naturally have a "bent-knee" kick until 4 – 5 years old before they can physically achieve the more ideal straighter leg/floppy ankle kick.

Try to avoid floaties (armbands, etc.) if possible as this encourages them to be vertical in the water & developing a "running" style of kick (obviously, floaties have their place especially for safety & peace of mind if you are at a party,etc., but as long as that is an exception rather than the norm then they should still develop the horizontal body position for kicking.

Encourage them to splash with their toes and it will alsopractice kicking in that horizontal position, even with floatieson.

Getting them to kick on their bed and on the couch (or in the bath if you are brave enough for the 
mess) will also form muscle memory for the kick & help to develop it.

If you find that they don't kick while you are with them in the water, this is usually do to being held too much or for too long.

Kids will stop learning as soon as we "take over" for them.

Again, this is difficult in deeper water, but it can be achieved by letting them do as much as they can unassisted with you. Itwill depend on his breathing control too. For example, when they are swimming from the wall to you under water, you canleave them for 1 second longer than you usually do before touching them.

As they get comfortable with this, you can extend it anothersecond and so forth.

This will help them to realise that they have to paddle themselves to get to you, thus developing their kick too.

As for practicing his stroke, basic doggy paddle arms are the perfect beginning, as long as they 
can swim a short distance with their face underwater in shallow water. It is important that they 
should be able to control their breathing and stand up when they need to, before starting to practice specific strokes.There's no harm in getting them to perform the arms while walking around orlooking in a mirror because this will form muscle memory and assist them when they actually do start with  strokes properly.

Using a pool noodle allows them to lean forward over it & kick horizontally. You can use them effectively by popping it under their armpits and putting out toys and balls for them to fetch. Once they have the hang of the water and what swimming is all about, show them  what you want their hands to do (doggy paddle) telling them often to "dig" with their hands as if in the sand This method works well to help your child mimic your behaviour.. and then it's just a matter of lots of practice, fun and even more encouragement.

Joining Mysmartkid will enable your little one to get a great head start to the developmental milestones that will help prepare them to swim.

These are some of the milestones that the Mysmartkid programme covers.
Activities of daily living
Communication skills
Cognitive skills
Personality traits/emotional development
Ball skills
Grasp and hand function
Body concept
Number concept
Form concept
Colour concept
Here are just a few of the milestones that are covered whilst swimming:
Coordination, play & ball skills – Learning coordination skills while playing with balls.
Movement & communication – Moving and using different parts of your body, while learning to communicate in a new environment
Colour, form & number concepts – Learning to count before jumping into the pool anplaying with different colour toys.
Grasp & hand function – Learning to grasp different toys and using different parts of the body to gain the skill and ability to swim.
Motor skills – Swimming will teach and help develop a wide range of important early developmental skills to allow the child to meet a vast amount of milestones.

Why not join Mysmartkid today? click here