Ever get the feeling that your children have all the fun?! We can be so busy with our children’s out-of-school activities that we often neglect doing things with the whole family. Getting together in the water can be the perfect solution; family swimming is a great form of exercise and can be enjoyed by everyone from babies to grandparents.
Not only is swimming one of the best forms of exercise for all ages, it is also an important life skill. Learning to swim and being confident in the water could save your life – or someone else’s. It’s never too late – or too early! – to learn to swim.
Swimming is great fun. There are lots of games you can play with your children in the water, regardless of their age or experience level.
Start off with activities which get you and your children used to contact with the water. Use a toy watering can, plastic container or just your hands to trickle water over each other’s arms, faces and heads – you can even do this in the bath! Use a cue such as ‘ready, steady, go’ before pouring and incorporate songs and nursery rhymes to add interest. Build up to creating ‘waterfalls’ to swim under and ducking your heads under the water.
Blow bubbles! This will help you become more confident with putting your faces in the water. Pretend to be ‘speedboats’ and see who can blow the most bubbles or hold races by blowing floating toys across the pool.
As your confidence increases, work on body positioning. In order to swim your body needs to be flat in the water so practice pushing off from the side and gliding – or ‘rocketing’! - towards another family member. This can be developed into swimming through legs underwater or diving down to retrieve toys.
Things to Remember!
Have fun, but be safe – remember these water safety tips:
Children should never be left unattended in or near the water – be it the bath, paddling pool , swimming pool or sea.
Adults should always swim with a friend or family member.
Don’t use buoyancy aids as life jackets – rubber rings, arm bands and floats are not safety equipment and your children need constant supervision.
If you are abroad make sure you know the emergency telephone number.