Encouraging Swimming Independence
Teaching your child independence is very important. Children are curious and learn through their own exploration. Personal exploration often teaches children their boundaries.
Even from a very young age babies can learn boundaries. Your baby will learn the differences between deep and shallow water and they will gain a respect for the water as they learn their limitations.
How do we encourage independence?
– Wearing a T- shirt in the pool
– Allowing shallow water exploration
– Allowing crawling, sitting and playing in shallow water
– Incorporating bath time activities nightly
– Utilising floating mats
T-shirts are great for encouraging independence as children begin to hold on and support their own body weight. Babies soon learn that if they don’t hold on they will go
under water. Parents can also make a ledge with their body by leaning back and allowing the baby to balance on the chest while holding onto the shirt. This is great bonding and great for independence.
Shallow Water Learning
Giving your baby the opportunity to sit up and play independently in shallow water is fantastic. Shallow water provides your baby with a haven to splash and play. Sitting in the water will also be great for baby’s balance. Remember there is no safe place for children in the water unless they are being supervised.
As your baby develops physically and begins to crawl and stand they will become increasing curious on the ledge. They will love to use their new found freedom to
move and explore the shallow water. This is an important milestone in your child’s development as they are gaining true independence, learning a respect for deep and shallow water and in turn learning their boundaries.
Parents should continue to use the bath to foster and nurture independence.
• Allow baby to play in shallow water
• Encourage baby to splash and enjoy the stimulus of water
• Practice back float in deep and shallow water
• Utilise tummy time
• Practice conditioning daily in the bath
Warning! Children should never be left unsupervised in the bath tub. They require adult supervision at all times. Always empty bath water immediately after use.
Floating rubber mats are also great to develop baby’s independence. These teaching aids give baby the freedom to;
• Back Float
• Grip objects and build strength while laying on the mat
• Partake in tummy time
Warning! Never leave baby unattended on a floating mat. Floating devices should never be used instead of adult supervision.