How to Introduce a baby to swimming

The way that you introduce your baby to swim will have a lasting impact on how they relate to the activity. If you get it wrong, they will highly unlikely be too keen to take part in it again. Doing it the right way to ensure that they are safe and happy to give it another go. We found a straightforward guide that will talk you through the process.

Here is our review of teaching a baby to swim.

I’m going to talk you through
safe entry into the waters day for your
baby firstly what you need to remember
is that you don’t ever carry a baby down
steps or down a ladder into the water
the reason for this is if you slip
you’re going to take your baby with you
which we don’t recommend at all what we
do recommend is a change in mat which
you can get wet so you get the changing
mat wet in the water first and then lay
it on the side of the pool right next to
the surface of the water
you can then kneel down and lay your
baby flat on that change mats it’s nice
and warm this stops them going straight
onto the cold concrete on the side of
the pool which isn’t a great
introduction to their first lesson into
the water when you’re laying your baby
down on the mat ensure that their feet
are pointing towards the water with
their head the other way you can then
sit down next to them you put one arm
across your baby this is your safety arm
this is to stop your baby rolling either
side and ensures that it’s safer for
them before they get into the water and
ensure they can’t roll into the water on
their own once you’ve got this safety
arm across your baby you can then gently
slide into the water yourself turning as
you do so once you’re in the water you
then put both of your hands behind your
baby’s head and neck to make sure that’s
fully supported in your own time gently
lean your baby towards you and bring
them in towards the water safely this is
a much more controlled way of taking
your baby into the water rather than
carrying them down the steps if you are
going swimming with somebody else they
can help you by putting their arms
across their baby on the change mat what
we don’t recommend is that that other
person passes the baby to in the water
and passes them across the air this is
also because if they slip or if they
drop the baby that’s quite a long way
for them to fall so it’s much safer to
lay that baby down on the mat and bring
them into the water safely in this
advice video we’re going to talk about
swings and dips swings and dips is an
activity that encourages your baby to
spend a little bit
of time in the water flats on their back
to start with you swing your baby up in
a seated position always supporting
their head and neck and then gently rock
them flat on the surface of the water if
your baby is happy flat on the water
then you would keep them there for as
long as possible and then sit them up
just a little bit if your baby isn’t too
keen on being flat on the water on their
back then you can sit them up for a
little bit longer and then gently rock
them flat on their back to give them a
few seconds in this position and then
sit them back up again when your baby is
flat on the water it gives them a chance
to have their ears in the water and get
used to that pressure change and what it
feels like to have also going in there
is before you sit them back up again
it’s a really fun activity and a great
way for you to bond with your baby for
lots of smiley faces and lots of eye
contact try and make it as fun as
possible thank you for listening to our
video about swings and dips in this
video we’re going to talk through
breathing activities and why it’s
important to teach breathing activities
from a young age as early as possible we
introduce these activities to encourage
your baby to learn when they’re swimming
to breathe in above the water and
breathe out under the water which is a
very natural way of swimming you support
your baby’s head with two hands behind
their head and neck and bring them in
towards you sitting them up a little bit
breathe in above the water and then
gently blow bubbles into the water your
baby won’t be copying you yet but they
will be watching and learning and when
they’re a bit older they’ll want to
start copying you if your baby does have
good head and neck control then you can
go to a slightly more supported hold
either side of their tummy which is one
hand either side of their tummy nice
relaxed hold and again practice those
bubbles breathing above the water and
breathe out onto the water make it
really fun and in little a while your
baby will start to copy you in this
video we’re going to explain how you can
help your babies start to learn how to
keep their legs in the water always need
to make sure their head and neck is
supported you can bring their head in
towards your chest a bit more or if not
keep them high up on your shoulder so
you note their mouth is clear of the
water you can use your hand or hands to
help them kick their legs depending on
how you’re supporting their head and
neck this will eventually lead to them
learning how to
use that propulsion in the water by
kicking their legs you can do lots of
games of seeing lots of songs in the
water to keep them entertained whilst
you’re practicing kicking their legs
builds up the muscles in their legs and
through their spine as well so you can
help them either side of their legs
using your hands to help them kick those
legs whilst they’re in the water all of
these activities are really good
restricting your muscles and help them
learn how to push themselves forwards in
the water in this video we’re going to
talk about splashing hands in the water
when you’re swimming with your baby
splashing hands is obviously a really
fun thing to do first it gets little
bits of water flicking up onto your
baby’s face which if they start to learn
that from a very young age they’ll
understand that’s very normal and if
they’re going swimming they will get
bits of water in their face and they’ll
learn that’s very normal when they do go
swimming with you you can help them to
start with so you can support them with
one arm across their tummy and chest and
use your spare hand to help them splash
their hands in the water if they’re not
so keen on it then you can let go of
that hand that’s helping them splash
their hands and do it for them splash
next to them say get a feel of what it’s
like and then as they get a bit older or
maybe a little bit later on they might
then want to help and you can hold their
hand and help them splash again it’s a
really really fun activity and our
movements in the water do lead to
paddling and then obviously on to
swimming on their front putting that
water behind them we’re going to talk
you through walk floating now and this
walk floating will be with your baby on
their tummy this is for babies that are
a lot more wrigley and often don’t like
being on their back anymore or it’s
unsafe for them to be on their back need
to make sure that we have a light hand
supporting either side of their tummy
and your thumbs can be in a V position
to start with this is to support their
head and neck a little bit and if their
chin starts to drop your hands are there
to support them you still move backwards
so that your baby is going forwards and
their head is going first
it’s a really good chance for you to
have a bonding experience with your baby
and to give that good eye to eyes
contact
lots and lots of smiley faces to
encourage your baby to stay relaxed in
the water you can gently move them side
to side to get them used to that water
moving across their body if they’re
still very relaxed and if they’ve got
very good head and neck control you can
then go to a bit more of a
laxed hold this is where you tuck your
thumbs underneath the shoulders of your
baby and your hands are flat underneath
their tummy you can position your hands
slightly pointing upwards a little bit
to encourage their chin in their mouth
to be above the water you’re still
moving backwards and your baby is still
going forwards but this position gives
them a lot more freedom in the water
again nice relaxed hands and you can
gently sway them side to side as well if
they want to feel that water moving a
little bit more we’re going to talk you
through walk floating now and we’re
going to start with walk floating on
your baby’s back so the important thing
to remember is that to start with you
always support your baby’s head and neck
and you also support underneath their
seat this is so that it’s not too much
strain on their back when we’re
practicing walk floating on the baby’s
back it’s to encourage that movement of
water across their body and to get them
used to what it feels like to be moving
in water when you do start to move and
your baby has got a bit of momentum in
the water you can then release that hand
that’s underneath their seat this gives
them a lot more independence and a lot
more freedom in the water to feel that
water moving all the time that you’re
moving backwards and your baby’s head is
going first you can just keep that one
hand underneath their head and neck this
is because the water is supporting the
back of their body and their seat and
their legs the muscles in their legs are
much denser generally than the fat that
is in their tummy and their arms so all
the time that you’re moving it’s fine to
keep that one hand underneath their head
and neck however if you stop moving at
any point you must put that hand back
underneath their seat if you don’t it
can cause their legs to sink a bit in
the water and it puts a lot of strain on
their neck now if your baby is starting
to move a bit more or you’d like to give
them a little bit more independence but
they’re still happy on their back we
then go to what’s called a cheek support
which is two hands either side of their
cheek again all the time you’re moving
this is fine but if you stop you need to
go back to supporting underneath their
seat again we keep babies on their back
for as long as possible
firstly it’s a good survival skill to
learn how to float in water and how to
keep their mouth above the water but
it’s also very good for their alignment
when they’re swimming
it’s much easier to teach a flat natural
swim alignment with a baby on their back
than it is if a baby is on their tummy
we’re going to talk through a safe exit
out of the water now when you’re
swimming with your baby again the same
as when you get a baby into the water we
would recommend that you use a change
mat and get it wet so it’s nice and warm
and lay that flat next to the pool if
you’re swimming on your own and the
freeboard is quite low freeboard is the
edge of the pool in comparison to the
edge of the water so if there’s not much
difference there you can lay your baby
on that change map again with their feet
pointing towards the water you then put
one arm across your baby and climb out
onto the side of the pool next to your
baby the reason why we recommend that
you keep that arm across your baby at
all times is because if they do roll
your arm is there to stop the rolling
into the water if the freeboard is very
high and there are integrated steps in
the water like there is at this pool
here we can lay them out as close to the
steps as possible again you lay your
baby on this change mat in the same way
as before so their feet are pointing
towards the water you can then start to
walk out of the steps keeping your arms
either side and then when you feel it’s
safe to do so you can climb out on the
side of the pool next to your baby if
you’re lucky enough to be going swimming
with somebody else that can help you
then one of you can get out of the water
first and go around next to the change
map and the other person can gently lay
their baby on that warm change map again
with their feet pointing towards the
water you can keep your arms either side
of your baby whilst the other person
then takes a baby from the mat up into
the air as normal that then gives you a
chance to get out of the water without
having to worry about carrying them out
of a ladder or steps and slipping and
possibly taking your baby with you this
is a much safe way to get out of the
pool thank you very much for watching
our video for more videos please head
over to our youtube channel or for our
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