Dunk-A-Baby – Swimming Classes For Kids – Get In There!
Our kids are water babies. They love the water. They love being in it, getting wet, and generally being around it. While I’d like to think this comes naturally to all kids, I know first hand that there are many kids that are terrified of swimming. Many kids are even scared of baths.
I am a firm believer of exposing my kids to things as early as possible provided its safe. Both Dyl and Ry started swimming classes for kids around the time they were 4 months and J will be no different. I grew up in swimming lessons and in pools, and in a much earlier life I was lifeguard and instructor myself. We never had a pool when I was growing up but lots of my friends had them. What is better than juping in a nice cool pool on a hot day?! (read up on water safety and swim safety).
I did various versions of what I like to call Dunk-a-Baby with my boys. These are structured classes for caregivers and young children designed to introduce them to the water and get them comfortable to moving around in what is seemingly an unnatural environment.
Dyl and Ry took to the water with ease. We never had any tears shed or had worrisome eyes when it comes to going swimming. I think the key to this has been starting them when they were young. I did various versions of what I like to call Dunk-a-Baby with my boys. These are structured classes for caregivers and young children designed to introduce them to the water and get them comfortable to moving around in what is seemingly an unnatural environment. To prepare them for the pool, I use a cup to help wash their head in the bath, and literally dump water over their heads. To keep them from swallowing water, especially at a young age, I use my hand as a barrier over their nose and mouth. The other hint I will give you is doing it with a smile both before and after. Kids see this as a thing of comfort and will realize that it’s an ok feeling to be in and under water.
I would dunk us both together quickly, come up, wipe off their face and show them a goofy smile and a lot of excitement.
When we would go into the pool, I made sure that I was holding them close to me initially. I would smile at them and dunk myself (keeping them above water) and come up smiling. Then while looking them right in the eyes, I would dunk us both together quickly, come up, wipe off their face and show them a goofy smile and a lot of excitement. I think this works, for a couple of reasons: 1) I demonstrate confidence and put them at ease and 2) there is no anticipation; it’s quick and over before they have time to process it. I have watched lots of parents be fearful and timid in the water with their kids. The outcome is not the same; it is these instances that kids are fearful and crying.
The key is to make sure your child is having fun.
From this point on I encouraged more and more co-play, more dunking both together and your child by themselves. Most of the Dunk-a-Baby programs have toys, mats, and other floatation devices designed to keep the kids engaged, along with songs and more or less organized activities. The key is to make sure your child is having fun. The other tip I will give you is that I encourage my kids to swim with the instructor/teachers. I do this for a couple of reasons; I believe it gives them a sense of independence and they get the opportunity to ‘swim’ to me. This is all designed to give them confidence and understand that the water is a safe place to be.
We did Dunk-a-Baby with both our boys until they were old enough for independent lessons. Now, Dyl knows his limits and is happy swimming around and near the stairs or where he can stand and Ry is up for anything in the water as long as there is an adult within an arms reach.
He would swallow way too much pool water, which came up on too many occasions all over him in the car.
On the last note, I will share a little story about Ry when he was in Dunk-a-Baby. He would not swim with his mouth shut, always open. Always. He would swallow way too much pool water, which came up on too many occasions all over him in the car. If you need suggestions on how to clean a car seat from vomit, I’m your man!
Bath time – introduce lots of water over their head
Be happy, joyful and confident yourself
Minimize anxiety and fear
Limit drinking pool water
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