Playing in a swimming pool - Canpol's Mums advise - Canpol

Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.

Playing in a swimming pool

Are you wondering why is it good to take the infant to a swimming pool? So had I, before selecting classes to which I could go with my daughter, six months old at that time. I read a bit, asked around (I rang several swimming pools) and consulted that idea (with doctors). After that extensive research I had no doubt that activities in a swimming pool were something ideal for me and my lively tot.

Benefits of taking a baby to a swimming pool

- getting acquainted with water will provide him with a sense of security during evening baths in a tub.
- learning to duck in the water
- strengthening of muscles
- strengthening of the respiratory system
- development of eye and hand coordination
- if there are no contraindications from a paediatrician, it is an excellent way to toughen up and strengthen the body.
- spending time together with parents and other people, forming relations.

This way every day the baby will in time more effectively:

- turn to sides
- lift his legs
- reach his arms to you
- crawl, and later walk.

Before the first trip to the swimming pool

Try to prepare the baby for new challenges, presented by activities in the swimming pool. During the evening bath pour water not only over those body parts, to which he is used to (also pour some water over his face). Teach the baby that a wet face is nothing bad, it will later be easier to do exercises and play in the pool. Try to bath the baby in the big tub. Such water- filled space larger than before will be something new and prepare the baby for a large pool.

Getting the baby used to the water, step by step: 1, 2, 3, go:

Before you get with the baby into the water, let him get used to the place. Walk around the pool for a moment with him in your arms. Tell him what is going on around him, and that you are with him. During that time the baby also gets used to the temperature, smells, sounds, other children, adults and all new things. When you have had a look at everything, it is time to immerse. Slowly! Feet first, then knees and tummy. Observe the baby's reaction. Ufff, the first hurdle over with!

Positions

1. When getting into water for the first time your baby can be wrapped in a towel. Why? First of all, it will give him a sense of security, and second, it will be warmer. When you notice while slowly immersing your baby (to the shoulder line) that the chid is calm, you can put the towel away on the pool rim.
2.The first position that will give the baby a sense of security: cuddle the baby holding with his face towards you
3. A safe position, when the baby is held with its back to you and can observe everything that goes around: hold the baby under his bottom with one hand, while the other supports his head and body (so that he does not choke).
4. Laying on water: Lay the baby with his back on your forearms, his head cradled in your palms and his bottom touching your chest. Then the legs will lay free on your shoulders. The baby will see you and feel close to you through the touch, and you will control his position, protect him against choking and see his reactions.

Remember!

One step in time. You probably will not be able to do all positions listed above during the first visit. When your baby begins to fret and is drowsy, it is time to finish the adventure with water. The optimum time for staying with the baby in a pool should not exceed 30 - 45 minutes.

Exemplary exercises for getting used to water:

- dipping an ear in water
- splashing the back with water (you can use a watering can for it)

Advanced water games at classes with a trainer

Playing with balls

Use a ping pong ball. Put it on a surface and show the baby what happens when you blow on it. Depending on the child's age he will just observe how the ball swirls in the water, attempt to catch it or you will start a lesson on blowing. You can also hold the ball under water for a moment and then let it go. Try to do it together. You will have a lot of fun when the ball pops up from the water. 

Fountain

It is a simple game, getting your baby used to the water. Hit the water surface with your hand, so there are small droplets in the air. Ask the baby to hit the water, too. Such "splashing" together will get the child used to the situation when somebody accidentally splashes him (with water hitting, for example, his face). When we started to play this way, my baby used to hide in my arms. In time, he liked it so much that he made a fountain of droplets with a smile.

Roundabout

Playing this way you can choose whether you hold baby's wrists or sides. Do it in a way easier for you and more comfortable for the baby. Immerse the baby up to his neck and spin around your axis. during this game the baby feels the water flow with his whole body. This also develops his spatial orientation.

Playing with accessories

There are numerous accessories available at the classes. For example, foam pads. Babies can crawl on pads floating on a surface, and that develops their balance. Other accessories include: an inflatable tunnel (swimming under a tunnel), stickers (stuck to the wall), water puzzles, a watering can or foam water noodles. Ask the trainer how to use the accessories, and which are suitable for the age and skills of your baby.

The most important thing is to perform all activities under supervision of specialists (at least in the beginning). All attempts should be done with calmness and patience (true also for other games outside water). One step in time! A new environment itself is a great attraction for the baby. Ensure a sense of security for the baby during new activities: cuddle him, kiss him, and share new experiences.
Have I encouraged you to go with your baby to the swimming pool? Probably now you have new questions concerning conditions that should be met by the baby, a swimming pool, what should you take with you to the pool, etc

Katarzyna

Mum of 5 year old Gola, 12 years of professional experience

Karolina Taranko

Creativity Psychopedagogue
- consulting

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