Time it right-Even a newborn can take a dip but make sure not to wet his face. You can begin introducing your baby to the water as early as you feel comfortable, as long as his belly button or circumcision has healed. The younger a child is when they start, the more comfortable they are likely to be in the pool. Always check with your pediatrician before you start, though.
Make it fun–Body language says it all. If you’re relaxed, smiling and making eye contact, your baby will learn that the water is a safe, fun place to be. While you’re in the water, sing songs or play games to keep your baby entertained.
Check the temperature-Water temperature should be between 28 and 32 degrees for children under three-year old’s and the pool enclosed or protected from the elements. If the water is cooler, you can still take your baby in, but you may need to get out every 10 minutes or so to warm up. Pay attention to lip, finger and toe colour and if it turns purplish, take your baby out of the pool.
Set the mood- Stake out a calm, shallow area of the pool and make sure baby is rested. If swim time interferes with his nap schedule, you can count on tears.
Don’t be pushy- If baby looks scared, ease off. Take baby out, tell him it’s okay, and try later. Some babies take to the water immediately, while others are more hesitant. It’s important to follow your baby’s cues, and not push her to try anything she’s not ready for. If your baby starts to cry or get fussy, take her out to warm up, offer her something to eat, and let her rest.
Introduce baby slowly-Hold baby securely and use a cup to wet his skin so he adjusts to the temperature. Next, ease him in gradually by dipping his feet and the rest of his body, but go no further than chin-deep. These four fun games will entertain and instruct your baby while they learn to swim.
Motorboat legs – dangle your baby’s feet in the water and gently pull her around. She’ll start kicking and get used to the feeling of water resistance.
Follow the leader – anything from dipping her toes to dunking her nose is a blast when baby sees you do it first. This will encourage your baby to try new things.
First stroke – hold a rubber duck just out of reach and coax her to grab and pull it toward her as you hold her from behind. This teaches stroke-like motions.
Tummy time – lie baby on her belly on a foam mat and slowly move it back and forth. This strengthens back and neck muscles and helps her feel secure while floating.