In at the Deep End

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Learning to swim is a vital part of every child’s development, and your role in encouraging them can never start too soon.

We all know the importance of your child being able to swim, but what is less obvious to most parents is the role you have to play in teaching them the basics – and how soon you’ll need to begin.

Experts suggest introducing your baby to the pool before their first birthday as the sooner they become aware of the water, the more comfortable they will feel in it. Indeed, babies are not scared of water or pools as you might imagine, but if they don’t have the chance to get into a pool then a fear can easily develop, which then makes the first stages more stressful for them.

The popularity of baby and toddler swimming lessons is ever-growing, and it’s little wonder. The opportunity to spend one-on-one time in the pool means dads can help teach their child a crucial life skill while having lots of fun in the process. Of course, we’re not suggesting that Mum can’t join you both in the pool, but recent statistics claim that swimming is now the most popular activity for dads to engage in with their little ones.

So, with all that in mind, and to help your baby, toddler or child make the transition from dry land to the shallow end as simply as possible, consider these 5 key tips…

1. Just Add Water

Use your baby’s bath time to create a fun, aquatic environment – this will introduce them gently to the feeling of being in water, which in turn will make the transition from bath to pool far easier. To make the experience fun, encourage lots of splashing by playing with toys in the bath and smile, sing and talk to them whilst maintaining lots of reassuring eye contact. Make the experience fun and enjoyable.

Read the full article and discover expert tips from Olympic Medallist Steve Parry here.