Do you have a reluctant swimmer? Does your child not love being in the water and requires a large amount of persuasion to go swimming? Introducing your children to water at a young age is an excellent way to ensure that they are water safe. Sadly, drowning is one of the most common causes of accidental death in children. That is why we believe that being able to swim is an essential life skill. However, what happens when your little one comes to the pool and seems very reluctant to participate in their lessons?
Of course, our highly qualified swim instructors will be there to help your child become at ease and more comfortable and confident in the water. But you, as a parent, can also help your child become more confident and comfortable in the water!
When swimmers are afraid and/or reluctant to go into the pool, it often has to do with the fact that they are uncomfortable and uncertain when it comes to water. Luckily, often times, all of our children take baths at home. The bathtub is an excellent tool to use to help children become more comfortable around water. The first step to helping your child become comfortable around water, is to make it an inviting atmosphere. This can easily be done by allowing your child to bring fun water toys into the bath with them. Toys that sink, such as rings, and toys that float, such as rubber ducks, are both excellent options to allow into bath time. As we also bring toys into the pool during lessons, this helps your child make the connection between toys during fun bath time and toys during lesson time.
Furthermore, another technique that can be practiced in the bath, is getting your child used to having water on their head. Often times this is something that young children or beginner swimmers do not particularly enjoy. Practicing this skill can be done by gradually, softly pouring water on your child (a toy watering can is a great tool for this). First, begin with pouring water on their shoulders. Once they are comfortable with this you can work your way up from their shoulders to their head – shoulders, neck, back of head, and finally top of head.
Lastly, an excellent way to practice swim skills with your reluctant swimmer, is to sing songs and play games in the bath. As this is how our instructors teach their lessons, one way to pick up on songs and games is to watch your child’s lesson from the window in the waiting area. Some examples of excellent games are Simon Says and Talking to the Fishies. Simon Says is a great game to practice putting your face in the water. Some of the things you could say are: “Simon says put your ear in the water”, “Simon says touch your forehead in the water”, “Simon says blow bubbles in the water”, “Simon says put your whole face in the water”, etc. Talking to the Fishies is a great way to allow your child to practice rhythmic breathing. This game is easily played by asking your child to ask the fishies in the water a question by blowing bubbles and then listening to the response by turning to the side and putting their ear in the water.
Here at Hippo in the Bathtub, we are certain that our instructors will be able to turn your reluctant swimmer into a confident swimmer who is comfortable in the water. By practicing these skills at home, it will simply help to speed up the process and get your child at ease in the water even sooner!