HOW TO HELP MY CHILD GET INTO WATER?

On arrival of beautiful spring days, you'd probably like to enjoy the pleasures of the aquatic with your child this year? But your child is not yet comfortable in the water? How do you make the little ones desire and enjoy the water as much as you? We are going to help. 

There exists no universal program to teach the pleasures of water. As each child is different, the different exercises and equipment must be adapted to their needs, not the other way around. 
 

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

You can get your child to learn to be comfortable with the water from an early age. However, keep in mind that it will be useless if you try to press children to teach them to swim. It's important to respect their development process. Good co-ordination only appears around the age of 6 so there is no point in trying to sprint. Before they learn to swim like a champion there are bound to be many more discoveries in the water which will enable them to first love the sport.

It's normal that children first try to look for a role model among people they know and see around them, the role of a mirror neuron. Since you're around, it's most likely you'll play the model.  Keep an attitude that displays pleasure to be in the water and this will be the beginning of success. 

To help you accompany your child, Nabaiji dissociated three stages of development in aquatic learning. The discovery of water, the discovery of swimming, and the discovery of immersion. Let's discover them together!

swimming illustration

STEP 1: DISCOVERING WATER

At this stage, the child is in a complete discovery mode. It's a new element that they know nothing about and will be continuously trying to reassure themselves with your help. For the little ones between 6 months and 4 years old, a baby seat buoy or an awakening platform will be perfect for their first contact with water in complete safety. During this phase of discovery, stay very close to your child and accompany in the game. If you don't see an expression of desire, it is not advisable to get the head under-water very early. 

If your child has good balance on dry land, it's time to get into the water for good. To begin, armbands are the right solution. They allow full entry into the water by keeping a vertical position and head out of the water. It is at this moment of learning that the child can also learn to make bubbles. 
 

STEP 2: DISCOVERING SWIMMING

Now your child is comfortable in the water, knows how to blow and ideally put his/her face under the water but still doesn't know how to swim? No worries! Your little one is on the right track. A swimming vest could help gain confidence. Unlike armbands, the vest will invite the child to be in a horizontal position, the best position to float and move forward. With free arms, the child can begin the first swimming movements helped by the buoyancy of the vest. For children who want to start learning to swim independently, a belt and a board will be perfect to improve their position lying on the water. 

STEP 3: DISCOVERING IMMERSION

Many children are really good at swimming under-water that they are only able to do that. For others, putting their head under-water and fully immersing can be a big challenge. This is not abnormal and technically there's no order between step 2 and 3. However, the immersion must be mastered and there's no better way than to gamify the process to divert the attention of a child who is afraid. If the intensity of fear is too high then first teach them to make bubbles with their nose and mouth. To make the learning process easier, stay towards the shallow side of the water to maintain ground support. You can also use objects that will allow you to materialize your goals. 
 

SWIMMING LESSONS 

There are aquatic centres and clubs that offer sessions for all ages. A swimming professional will accompany you on this adventure. Whether it's for younger kids or older, many clubs offer swimming lessons. 

Know that your child will tend to mimic your actions (mirror neurons). If your actions are not perfect, your child will only see fire! A swimming professional will guarantee a more technical learning for your child and without mistakes.

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