Do All Infants and Toddlers Love To Swim?

Thank you Kaitlin from An Apple Per Day for this lovely post on children swimming – I found it fascinating!

When we started a family, I wanted my kids to enjoy the all the fun water provides. I grew up playing in the pool with my friends, and really enjoyed it however, I discovered that not all kids will automatically react the same to the water. I had to adjust the way that I introduce my kids to the water so they could learn to love it.
The need for lessons- It’s a reality that the water has inherent risks, especially for toddlers and infants. Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths for children between 1 and 4 years of age. To counter that, swim lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent. Since my kids would be around the water a lot, lessons became an important item on our parenting list.

The natural water baby. My first son took to the water starting with bath time. It wasn’t long before my husband would laugh when I came out of the bathroom with suds in my hair, as my boy discovered the fun of splashing. I knew he would take to the water readily, so when he was 6 months old, we enrolled in a Mommy and Me class, and he loved the whole experience. He couldn’t wait for swim lessons, and the instructor said my son could end up on the swim team.

The hesitant child. My second son was a lot more cautious about the water. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it, but he was far more cautious, and wanted to investigate everything before he decided it was acceptable. I could easily seeing him being a researcher. When we were in bath time, he had a puzzled and reluctant look on his face, so I went much more slowly to let him adjust. He finally flagyl cheap online decided that the water was safe, and took to splashing just like my first son. That was my cue that patience was the rule with this son.

Introduction to the pool. My instincts told me that the Mommy and Me experience would move too quickly for my second son, and cause him more distress than joy. We did it differently for him. We took my toddler to the pool (wearing swim diapers), and my husband sat with him near the pool. I went into the water, made sure he could see me, then began splashing and playing in the water. I laughed the whole time, to reinforce that this was a good place to be. We did this same exercise several times, with my husband gradually moving closer to the pool. My son watched everything I did very intently. When he finally began to reach out to me, I knew we had made great progress. I took him in my arms, and just held him there. The next session, after I held him, I began to slip down into the water, so he could feel it on his feet. Gradually he became more comfortable being in the water.
Swim lessons. A child going to their first swim lesson can be an overwhelming experience. I took my second son to watch a lesson, as I quietly talked with him about what the experience would be like. That way, he knew what was coming the first day of classes. The instructor said he was a very quick study, who listened carefully and retained almost everything taught.

I’m glad we watched our boys and realized that they didn’t respond the same to the water. With patience, our second son has grown to love swimming as much as our first, and that makes me smile.
Kaitlin_HeadshotKaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

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