Here at Puddle Ducks, we value water confidence as highly as our swimmers achieving a perfect front crawl. When our parents bring their precious babies to us, we know they are looking not just for their babies to feel water-confident but also for them, the parents, to feel confident taking their babies swimming.
Here are our top tips for nurturing water confidence in your little ones:
- Choose a warm pool – babies, especially very young ones, aren’t very good at retaining their body heat – ideally you will use a pool heated to 28°C or over. Many local authority pools have a ‘baby’ pool which is warmer and shallower than the main pool. If you are a member of a private gym with a pool, these are often warmer than average so ask if you can take your child along. Take a lovely towel to wrap your baby in as soon as you get out of the water and they will be snug and happy
- Be water-confident yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to be a confident or even competent swimmer but if you aren’t a strong swimmer or if you feel nervous around the water, taking your baby swimming is the perfect opportunity to overcome your fears. Stay in the shallow end, don’t panic if you get splashed – be a positive role model for your little one
- Take it slowly – you know your child. Some of us have little dare-devils and others are more cautious. Either way, don’t underestimate the impact of having your face/head underwater for the first time; it can upset even the most boisterous of babies
- Make it fun – games, toys, songs, rhymes, blowing bubbles – most babies and toddlers will focus on these things and forget they are nervous. Also, this is how our little ones learn, through play
- Teach them to float – start off by fully supporting them – we have lots of videos for you to watch with great advice for floating. This is a key skill that could save your child’s life if they fell into water
We have a couple of great playlists on YouTube with lots of activities for you to try with your little ones in the pool:
- Activities to do with your baby in the pool
- Activities to do with your toddler in the pool
- Family fun in the pool
- Tips for a confident swimmer
Family holidays often act as a trigger for parents to want to improve their little one’s respect for and confidence in and around the water. Butlin’s and Puddle Ducks combine the best of both worlds on Butlin’s Just For Tots breaks where guests can enjoy a session taught by one of our wonderful teachers with a Puddle Ducks Activity Trail up around the pool for the remainder of the stay.