As race season is fastly approaching, it’s easy to get distracted by your child who is a confident swimmer that is preparing for the races, but what about your younger child that is still frightened of the water and is not confident in themselves? Here are some hints/tricks to help improve their confidence in the water.
Getting familiar with the water
For babies and toddlers, early swimming experience can be hit or miss, some children downright refusing to get into the water. The key is not to push the child to get into the water but to slowly introduce them to it. Take little steps with your little one, gradually getting them closer to the water. From sitting at the side of the pool to dipping their toes in the water, without taking them out of their comfort zone. Take your time to let them get comfortable with the sight of the water before they approach it.
Distract them from their fear
Think about what your child loves to play with, in the bath. Squirty toys? Floating ducks? Transfer these to your local swimming pool and get a family member to play with them enthusiastically - or your little one might want to join you! For children, water pistols provide an unprecedented level of excitement - especially when they receive an over-exaggerated reaction to being soaked. Pop one in their hands, ask them to gently squirt a willing victim, and stealthily move your child down a pool step further in the water.
Letting go - floating with buoyancy aids
When you’re in the pool with your child, they’ll happily splash around with the safety of your arms holding them. Let them build their confidence with this. Swish them around in the water, sing songs and nursery rhymes to get them feeling comfortable and happy. When you know they are ready (normally shortly after their first pool experience or weeks after), the next step is to let them float in the water, away from your arms. Buoyancy aids such as armbands and float vests will help your child float around in the water safely and independently. This should make the transition fun and easy.
Keep in mind, small babies do not have the control or stability that of an older child to float by themselves unsupported. If your child is under one or between 1-2 years old, make sure they have full support in the water.
Don’t forget to praise your child as they make progress. Never underestimate the encouragement that you give them. The cheers, compliments and support will have great power on their growing confidence.
Getting their faces wet
Even confident water-babies can find the thought of getting their faces wet, or putting them underwater, unappealing. If your child really hates getting wet, you should try to slowly familiarise them with water with games in the bath. When you’re in the pool why not help them become more confident when submerging their face by challenging them to a water-blowing contest? Just ask your child to blow bubbles on the surface of the water and make it fun. Goggles can help to encourage your child's underwater confidence while Dive Toys provide them with the incentive to take a peek underwater on the pool floor.
Building their swim confidence with pool games
Pool games are a great way for building both confidence and a love for swimming in the water. Go for themes you know your child will be excited by. This could be a mermaid game where they collect their shells from points around the pool. Chasing, racing, and dive games always prove popular and most children love to play with the inflatable animals as well as the foam noodles!
Let your imagination run wild to increase the fun in the pool!
Don’t forget at Proswimwear, we have a large range of swimming aids to help your child in the water including kickboards, floatation devices such as armbands, and fun pool toys to increase your child's curiosity and confidence in the water.
Proswimwear Training Aids