This post was sponsored by SwimWays as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Summer is in full swing over here! The kids have been out of school for a few weeks now and we’ve been loving the longer days around here that lets us get a few extra hours of playtime outside each day. Once the weekend rolls around, I especially love having the kids play in water as it gets them outdoors and it’s just easy entertainment! My parents live about 15 minutes away and without fail the kids are always asking to go over and swim in their pool.
As a parent though, it can be a little scary having a backyard pool with little ones running around who don’t know how to swim. And even more so, I’ve noticed that while my kids might enjoy the idea of being in the pool, oftentimes it’s a different situation once they’re at the pool and deciding to get in! I’ve always felt that knowing how to swim was one of those important life skills I wanted my kids to learn, so I’m sharing a few tips on what I did to help my kids build confidence in the water and learn the basics of swimming!
Keep it short but consistent
Dylan is pretty fearless in most situations (gives me heart palpitations!) but surprisingly he was actually afraid of getting into the water when I first took him to the pool several years ago. While he might have been initially excited about the idea of going to the pool when I proposed the idea, once there he would realize that he actually didn’t want to get in and it would be over. I didn’t want to push him outside of his comfort zone so I would suggest steps to gradually ease him into the water. We’d start with just getting our feet wet and slowly progress until he was willing for me to hold him while standing in the water. I’d keep our mini “lessons” to 30 minutes and let him slowly acclimate to the feeling of buoyancy in the water. I could tell that by the end he would slowly get comfortable in the water so I made sure to get him out to the water at least once a week so that he would start developing some muscle memory.
Add some fun
I want the pool to be a positive experience for him so I always try to keep it fun and lighthearted with games and songs. I recommend picking up a few fun water toys and inflatables that they can play around with while in the water!
Babies naturally enjoy the water as it reminds them of being in the womb, so the general recommendation is to expose them to the water early on before they develop a fear of it. With Dylan, I first took him to the pool around 20 months old and it took us about a month before we were able to work our way to even just getting into the water. With Mei, I started her off with visits to the pool at 4 months old and it was a huge difference! While Dylan developed his swimming skills more quickly, I love that both kids love getting into the water!
Give them the tools
Dylan loves being independent so I wanted to empower him to build confidence in the water! I picked up a couple SwimWays swim vests (available at Toys R Us) and love that they give the kids just a little bit of extra flotation to help them feel secure. SwimWays is the leader when it comes to helping children learn to swim. The brand started National Learn to Swim Day in 2012 (it’s the third Saturday of May each year) and this event is dedicated to educating parents and children about water safety as well as the importance of learning how to swim.
Dylan is already a pretty good swimmer, so the Swimways Power Swimr vest was perfect in that it just adds a little bit of padding in the front and back while the arms are free to move. There are 9 pads that can be used but they are individually removable as your little one becomes more proficient. While I only found one with a pink bird pattern, Dylan didn’t mind the girly print and loved wearing his vest in the water!
The Power Swimr is part of Swimways Step 3 program. There are 3 steps total starting with Step 1 where the baby simply floats, followed by Step 2 where the baby learns to paddle and splash with one of their vests, and then finally with Step 3 where baby learns to swim with a graduated swim training vest. It’s all part of Swimways process to help develop your little ones into strong swimmers!
Set the example
Like most situations, your little ones are getting their cues from you so it’s important that you set the example when it comes to enjoying the water. In the beginning, I would always get in the water first and show them that there was nothing to fear. I made sure that their experiences in the pool were positive and if at any point the kids weren’t enjoying themselves, I would scale back as making sure they were enjoying themselves was first and foremost the association I wanted them to have with the water!
pin to reference later!
I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far!
Have you made it out to the pool yet? What do you do to build confidence in the water for your kids?