For many families with small children, the delight of watching their kids take their first swim without help is on par with them taking their first steps.
Of course, swimming lessons are helpful, but there are also many things you can do to help your child acquire basic swimming skills, water confidence, and water safety.
Here are some simple and fun water activities that will help your children take those first strokes independently. So head over to Dubai’s best swimwear store, Sand Dollar Dubai, and grab some kid’s beach shoes, swimsuits, towels, toys and go!
Swim Rings For Water Confidence
Swim rings have a long history inspired by some genius that discovered that the inner tube of a car’s tire could float. This fabulous swimming toy has come a long way, and today kids can enjoy floating safely in swim rings of any colour and design. From awesome alligators to lucky llamas, your child will feel like they’ve got a companion to keep them safe.
Aside from being a lot of fun, swim rings are ideal for kids that are just learning to swim. These are perfect for children that have a fear of water, as the calming buoyancy gives the child (and parents) confidence they’re safe in the pool or the sea.
Hold onto the ring and let them kick to see how big they can splash. As they grow in confidence, let go, and they’ll be off.
Traffic Light Kicking
Instead of placing a swimming tube over their body, sit your child on top of the swim ring and instruct them to kick according to the traffic light colour you shout. Green signals go; this is where kids kick as fast and as hard as they can. Amber means slow and controlled kicks and red always means stop.
This controlled kicking exercise will help your child notice various kick strengths so they can learn how to propel themselves through the water when swimming.
Make sure to teach them the proper technique of pointing toes so they can kick with maximum force.
While this pool game doesn’t involve swimming skills, it does build water confidence and awareness. It’s also a lot of fun for the whole family.
Every player will need a flat float to stand on. Stand on the float and find your balance, making sure you’re far away from the pool’s edge. The aim is to see who can remain standing for the longest. For safety and peace of mind, place armbands on younger children.
Fishy In The Middle
Like piggy in the middle, but just in water, this pool game is a great way for children to safely gain confidence.
This game, which gets everyone jumping about, can be played with or without armbands.
To play, all you need is an inflatable ball. One person (fishy) is in the middle and the other two are on either side. The fishy then needs to try and intercept the ball.
Teaching Your Child To Swim At Different Ages
No matter at what age your child learns to swim, water confidence and water safety should always be a priority.
Introducing your babies to water between the age of one and two is a great time – this is the time when they have fewer inhibitions and less fear. During this period, it should all be about water play. Splashing, singing, and just bobbing around are great ways to help your children become acquainted with water.
Curious toddlers will also benefit from play. With better motor skills, you can teach them to float on their tummies, backs, kick, and move their arms. At this age, they generally have better control of their movements, so this is when you can introduce props like balls. They also love to blow bubbles, which is also a great way to learn how to breathe underwater – turn it into a game or some kind and see how easy they adapt.
When your children reach the ages of about 4 or 5, they’ll be able to float independently in shallow water. To make this fun, how about rolling off a float into the water to see who can stay afloat unaided for the longest?
Essential Swimming Equipment for Young Children Learning to Swim
Floatation devices are perfect aids to help non-swimmers gain confidence in the water while learning to swim. Another piece of swimming equipment is goggles. Whether they’re learning to swim in a pool or the sea, a pair of goggles will help children maintain clear vision while avoiding any eye irritation from chlorine or salt.
At the end of the day, parents can play an active role when it comes to building water confidence with their kids. Dubai’s abundance of resorts, pools and beaches make it one of the best places to learn how to swim. Just remember, if you are introducing your child to water outdoors, extra precaution will always need to be taken as Mother Nature can be unpredictable, as can the elements – so pack sun cream with a high SPF and a long-sleeved swimming top for added protection.