Parents who want to help their babies or children learn how to swim have been issued advice.
Caroline Kelly from Turtle Tots has put together five top tips so parents can help their little ones take to the water.
The advice includes making sure you choose a pool that’s at least 30°C for children and 32°C for babies.
1. Find a relaxed and positive environment
Finding a good swim school is a great way to teach both you and your child all the key skills to develop their swimming ability in a safe and familiar environment.
Caroline said: “We find that some parents aren’t confident in the water either and this isn’t a problem but learning to swim with a professional swim teacher who is fully trained will not only teach your child how to swim well but it will also build the parents confidence and teach mum or dad great skills that can be practiced outside of the class.”
2. Make sure the pool is at least 30°C
If you are taking your baby swimming then make sure you are swimming in a warm water pool heated to at least 30°C (86°F).
If you are swimming in a pool cooler than this, it is advisable to use a special baby wet suit or snug which can add up to 2°C (3.6°F) to the water temperature for your baby.
Hydrotherapy pools are perfect for babies, and they can swim from birth in them. Babies should be in a pool 32 degrees or over if they are under 12 weeks, or 12lb– whichever comes first.
3. Have fun
It’s important that in the early stages of teaching your child how to swim, you encourage a fun and positive attitude towards water and learning.
Teaching your child to swim isn’t always easy because children don’t learn in a linear fashion and it’s perfectly normal.
One week they could be progressing really well and be confident in the water and the next week they may not want to let go of you. It’s important that you remain confident and stick with it. Also, give praise as much as possible.
Caroline said: “I know that you will question your time and well earned money spent on teaching your child how to swim but these ‘dips’ are normal and can last weeks or even months but you will get there and learning to swim is incredibly important”.
4. Repetition is key when teaching your child anything
It can be tedious for you but think about that one Peppa Pig episode your little one likes to watch over and over again. Repeat the same songs and the same skills each time you swim together. Take your child swimming often and to a location that they will become familiar with.
5. Don’t pressure your child
Don’t make them take part in any particular activity if they really don’t want to. Respect their wishes as this reinforces their trust in you and eventually they will want to take part themselves.