Not surprisingly, drowning is one of the main causes of infant mortality during the first five years and, moreover, it occurs in just seconds. That is why it is so important that our children become familiar with the aquatic environment as soon as possible.
But it is that knowing how to swim is not only an important lifeguard insurance for our children, but it is one of the most complete sports that exist, as well as a hilarious hobby if it is practiced safely.
When we swim, a large number of muscles of the upper and lower extremities, abdomen and back are involved, helping us to strengthen them, make them more flexible and gain resistance.
Being an aerobic sport, we will be helping our circulatory and respiratory system, strengthening the heart and lungs. In addition, we will favor postural alignment, mitigating, on many occasions, back pain.
And as if these benefits were few, with swimming, our little ones will also gain in agility and coordination, we will help them prevent childhood obesity and improve concentration and rest.
There are countless benefits that practicing this sport can bring to young and old!
When to start swimming?
The experts are clear: as soon as possible. The more time passes and the older the child, the more likely it is that feelings of fear of water, mistrust and insecurity will be awakened in him.
If a little one feels calm, confident and safe in an aquatic environment, the faster and more efficient their learning will be. Hence, it is recommended that parents begin to familiarize their babies with water before the first year of lifeguard training.
In addition, we must not forget that during pregnancy babies have developed in an aquatic environment, being surrounded by amniotic fluid. For this reason, in their first months of lifeguard they will feel safe and comfortable in the water, in addition to the fact that they will still retain the instinct to block their airways that will prevent the entry of liquid.
Can we parents teach them to swim?
The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) advises that children learn to swim from the age of four, at which time parents usually entrust this task to professionals.
However, we too can start earlier to help them get familiar with water in a fun and healthy way with these simple tips:
- Start with water games, especially if your child shows some fear and insecurity. You can “spray” with the hose, throw water over your head or use water pistols.
- Show him how much fun it is: show children who play and have fun in the water, sit together on the curb and kick laughing or throw rubber toys so that they see that they do not sink or anything happens to them due to getting wet.
- When he feels safe, encourage him to swim in the part of the pool that does not cover him, or near the edge if he is on the beach. Offer him your hands to gain security and encourage him to splash, kick, jump with you and little by little introduce his little head.
- As he gains confidence, you can encourage him to let go of your hand and play with a ball, dance in the water, or find a toy he previously dropped.
- When he manages to move a few meters, either by diving or swimming “doggy style”, encourage him to go from your arms to the curb or from daddy’s arms to mommy’s. Congratulate him on every little advance!