You might not have any aspirations for your little one to be the next Michael Phelps or Rebecca Adlington.
But what if every time you have been to the pool they cling on to you like a limpet and scream blue murder if you attempt to let go? What can you do to help your children feel happier and more confident in the water so that if they do ever get into a dangerous situation in the water they can at least swim to safety?
Get them used to the pool environment
Start by aiming to get them used to the water and the noise of the pool. The Speedo Swim Seat is ideal for getting very young childen used to the water without them getting too wet or feeling too out of their depth.
An inflatable jacket or float suit can help children develop their confidence and many can be adjusted to reduce the amount of support needed as your child becomes more at home in the water.
The Children’s Bobble Back Float from Speedo, for example, has removable foam layers, which can be reduced one at a time as confidence increases. It is ideal for 2 – 6 year olds.
Give them encouragement and praise
Try not to get exasperated if your toddler won’t let go when you are in the water. Try not to tell them that all the other kids their age are already swimming as this will only make them feel worse.
The aim is to soak these seacreature-shaped soft foam waterbombs and throw them for your kids to catch. This will mean that they have to let go of your neck! Once they know they won’t sink like a stone then they will feel happier and happier about letting go each time.
Invest in some goggles
There is nothing kids hate more than getting water in their eyes so even if you are just planning to bob about in your local pool it is worth investing in a pair of goggles. There are loads of fun, pretty or funky kids goggles on the market these days – and they come tailored for specific age ranges to ensure that they fit perfectly and don’t leak.
Face masks are an alternative to goggles that are becoming increasingly popular with kids and adults alike. Aimed at 6-8 year olds, Zoggs’ Phantom Kids’ masks come in several different colours (Pink, Red, Purple and Blue) and offer much better peripheral vision than standard goggles.
Make it Fun
There are loads of great swim products for kids these days which help make swimming fun and build confidence in the water.
Zoggs has a huge range of water confidence toys from seal flips which encourage smaller swimmers to getting used to having their face near the water, and seal sticks and glow dives which make diving underwater great fun.
Dress the part
Kids love to dress up and sometimes something as simple as a funky swim hat, towel or armbands can encourage them to want to go swimming . For example, Speedo’s junior shark cap could turn your reluctant swimmer into a real waterbaby. Team it with funky shark arm bands and there may be no keeping them out of the pool (they also come in pink with a more ladylike fish for girls.)
Zoggs also has some fabulous character caps for younger boys and girls which really look great.
Lead by example
Enjoy swimming with them too! Kids pick up on your moods and feelings so don’t force yourself to take them if you’re stressed or feeling under the weather as it will be a disaster. Wait until you are all feeling in the mood and get involved. Join in the games, let them swim between your legs and smile – if they see you having a good time they will too!
By Wendy Knowles