Where are you going on holiday this summer? Home or abroad, hotel or self-catering, chances are that it’ll involve water. Water Babies explains how to make sure summer splashing is fun and safe for everyone.
Like a child to water
There’s a reason Earth is known as the blue planet: water covers eighty percent of its surface. Life-giving, therapeutic and quite literally everywhere, it’s little wonder that we’re drawn to it – especially in the summer.
Recent research at the University of Exeter showed us that ‘blue views’ made us feel happier and more positive than any other view. It’s the reason people have been taking the sea air for centuries, and why so many of us will head to the seaside this summer.
But nobody loves water more than children. Having spent their first nine months growing in water, babies have a natural affinity with it. Whether bath time relaxes or excites your baby, you’ve probably seen this at home.
Water is a sensory playground like no other. It gives babies, toddlers and children huge benefits for their physical and mental development and ongoing wellbeing. In fact, research shows that children who swim from babyhood continue to reach physical, social and cognitive milestone ahead of those who don’t.
It’s little wonder, then, that our children are drawn to water. If you’ve ever caught your toddler as they head straight towards the garden pond, you’ll get this. And you may not be surprised to learn that drowning is still one of the biggest accidental killers of one to four year olds.
So, apart from growing eyes in the back of your head, is there anything you can do to prevent this?
“Safety is one of the main reasons people start baby swimming lessons,” says Bryony Johnstone, who teaches water safety and confidence to under fours in Bristol, Bath and North Somerset. “Even tiny babies can learn to kick to the surface and hold on to the poolside or something that floats. But, most importantly, regularly swimming from a very young age means that children stay confident and won’t panic in an emergency.”
Starting young also means learning to swim well from a young age. While you’re not necessarily thinking about preparing your baby for the 2036 Olympics, you are laying the foundations for lifelong water safety, confidence and fun.
Water proficiency opens up a whole world of swimming, diving, snorkelling, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, canoeing and more. “I’m pleased that I’m a strong swimmer,” says Rufus, 13, who did Water Babies classes from the age of 12 weeks to three years. “Last year I came second in an aquathlon. And I love surfing, it’s really fun.”
Whether you’re holidaying home or abroad this summer, now’s the perfect time to introduce the smallest member of your family to the water. Teaching them to kick, float and be at ease going under the water will not only get them ready for summer swimming, it’ll help their development and give them a vital life skill.
Water Babies teaches babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their carers important water safety and confidence. Innovative classes gently build foundation swimming skills from first splash to independent swimming by the age of four. To find out about classes in a warm, private pool near you, call 0117 946 6919 or look at our website www.waterbabies.co.uk. We have a new term starting in May.