Welcome to the final email in our ‘Welcome to our Baby FINS’ series. We hope that you have found these informative and helpful. Our goal at FINS is to keep parents informed about what they are learning in class and to provide various helpful tips. As always, ALL FINS team members are happy to help answer questions and address concerns as you have them. Keep reading below to learn Helpful Tips at home to reinforce what your baby is learning each week!
Reinforcing the skills babies are learning in class each week can be done in a pool at home, neighborhood pool, or in the bathtub. Because our #1 goal is water safety, we must first state: NEVER leave your baby alone in or around water. This includes a bathtub or small inflatable pool. Children can drown silently in under 30 seconds and in less than 1 inch of water. When you are with your baby in a pool or during bathtime, here are a few fun tips to practice:
- Gently pour water over the hair, letting it cascade over the face too! You can do this with a slow pour rain bucket like we have in class or a simple cup. Always use positive reinforcement, for example encouraging the baby to clap or cheer with you during this activity!
- Motorboat kicks – Babies have plenty of space to practice kicking in the bathtub! You can help by holding their ankles and gently showing them how to kick!
- Singing the same songs we sing during class at FINS will help to reinforce the activity and continue to build those important neural connections we talked about in the 3rd blog post.
- Ready 1, 2, 3 Cue – This should be used EVERY time you are at the pool with your baby as a reminder that you have to give permission for them to enter the pool or practice a skill.
- Swim outs – If your baby is showing signs that they want to swim out to you, by all means let them do it! Allow them to ‘swim out’ to you from a step or ledge. Use the Ready 1, 2, 3 cue first AND practice a shorter distance/count than they are used to at FINS. We parents sometimes want to see if they can do more, but it’s our strong recommendation that increases to their swim distance be restricted to during swim time with our trained teachers.We want the baby to see the pool as a FUN and BONDING experience with you. By having them swim further than they are used to in class, it could create fear and even regress their progress. You just enjoy the playtime!
- Humpty Dumpty/Fall in and get the wall – If your baby is showing signs of wanting to do this with you, go for it! Just limit this skill to no more than 3 times. Most importantly, please make sure they fall FORWARD into the water. Avoid simply scooting to the edge or leaning backward to prevent hitting the back of their head on the pool edge, we even recommend keeping a hand behind the child in case they need a little extra push for their safety.
- Back float – Simply hold your baby in the position they are comfortable in during class and either sing or point out fun things to see!
- Have fun! If you get the opportunity to swim with your baby, we recommend just a short 5 minutes spent on skill reinforcement. Make sure most of your time is about playing and making memories!
Thank you again for taking the time to read our emails and blog posts, we hope you found them helpful and informative! We also want to thank you one more time for taking a very important step in drowning prevention by giving your child the gift of swim lessons. That being said, please keep in mind that teaching your child to swim DOES NOT make them drown-proof. Accidents can happen anywhere and to anyone. Ways of creating layers of drowning prevention include:
- Constant Adult Supervision
- Learning CPR
- Swim Lessons
- Safety Fence Installed Around Pools
- Use of Approved Life Jackets
For more information on Drowning Prevention Education, please visit: http://www.ghadpa.org/