Adam Knight is the founder of Angel Swim London and teaching children to swim is his passion! He has been an aquatic professional for the last 10 years and runs Angel Swim London, teaching babies, toddlers and children to swim at warm hydrotherapy pools in Balham & Chelsea.
Here are Adams top tips for making the most of your babies first pool experience!
In my opinion, swimming is like any physical activity, the earlier you start and the more you practice, the better you become. We teach babies as young as 6 weeks and focus on creating a positive connection with the water from the very beginning using their natural reflexes and adaptations. Here are my 7 top tips for parents to get the most out of their babies first swim experience:
1. Arrive early
To get the most out of your babies first lesson it is essential that you are both in a calm, relaxed and happy frame of mind. Babies are extremely perceptive and can sense your stress which they in turn reflect. Happy parents = happy babies, so please leave enough time to travel and get changed and you will give your baby the best possible chance of a happy and successful first experience in the water.
2. Get the gear
The majority of swim academies including my own operate a “double nappy policy” – you fit the Huggies disposable Swim nappy on first, followed by a neoprene (wetsuit material) over nappy. This provides your baby with some extra warmth, but most importantly provides a water-tight seal against any “little accidents” that may occur.
3. Hold them gently
Some mums and dads enter the pool environment with a sense of nervousness and anxiety, which is perfectly normal. What you may not realise is that these emotions manifest themselves physical-ly – a strong grip on your baby may cause discomfort. Be mindful of how tightly you are holding your little one, take a few deep breaths and your body (and baby) will relax.
4. Listen to and talk your teacher
To get them most out of your lessons pay close attention to your teachers instructions and demonstrations. It may seem like a very basic thing to say but when you are in a swimming class with your baby, singing, moving and only on three hours sleep it can be very easy to lose focus. Equally, if you have any concerns or are not comfortable tell your teacher and they will be more than happy to help.
5. Smile, connect and enjoy
You are your babies role model, therefore if they see you smile in the pool they will reflect that hap-piness and associate that emotion with the water. Eye contact builds connection and trust in all hu-man interactions and it is the same for baby swimming – make eye contact with your baby as much as you can, connect with them and enjoy the experience together.
6. Use clear Cue words
Babies can’t understand sentences but they can understand cue words. We use cue words in con-junction with certain movements. For example when holding and splashing your babies legs you should use the cue word “Kick, kick, kick”. Over time and through repetition your baby will begin to associate the word “kick” with the movement and will respond on command.
7. Do your homework
If you attend lessons once a week your baby will definitely progress. However if you make a bath time a daily swimming lessons your little one will come on leaps and bounds. Use bath time as an opportunity to back float, gently pour water over your little ones head, and build a stronger connec-tion with you and the water.
To learn more please visit our website – www.angelswim.london or follow us on Instagram or Facebook