About the author of this post: Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her best friend and lives in Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking, biking and enjoy nature. She just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.
Time with your Toddler at the Pool
I could see it coming – the weather would be warming up just when I wanted to have my toddler learn the joys of the pool. I knew I’d be spending a lot of time with her, so I went looking for some ways for us to have some fun in the water.
Here are some things I took into for consideration for that first swim season:
Take care of the basics. The sun can be harmful to a young child, so I had to make sure to protect my baby girl. I decided to stay inside between 10 AM and 2 PM, when the ultraviolet rays are the strongest. I put her in long clothing if we were going to be out at the pool, so she wouldn’t get too much sun.
I made sure I got some well recommended baby diapers, so we’d minimize pool “oopsies.” The other thing I made sure to do was always be holding my baby – at her age, it’s the only thing that makes sense.
Next I had to figure out some fun ways for my daughter and I to bond in the pool, and I found some great resources with ideas about introducing toddlers to the pool:
Mom and Dad can help with the introduction. I didn’t want my baby to be scared of the water, so I asked my husband to help me with a gradual introduction. My toddler is very inquisitive, so I thought we might make her first pool experience a lot of fun for her.
My husband sat with the baby a few feet away from the pool, and then I got her attention, and walked into the water. I started splashing around and laughing out loud, and she kicked her legs and reached out to all the fun. My husband then quietly moved to the side of the pool, so she could be close enough to see more of what I was doing.
Into the water. My toddler reached out to me, and my husband made the transfer, so she was very quickly in my arms. If she held back, I wasn’t going to push the issue, but I figured it wouldn’t take long for her to warm to the idea. I held her facing me, and smiled widely, getting back that super smile that just warms my heart so much.
I gradually put one of her feet near the water, and she didn’t react, so I dipped her toes in the water. As I did, I held her against my chest, and began splashing the water next to us. She reached out for it, and in a flash, she was splashing the water like she did in the bathtub.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. At the toddler age, it’s not like you have to invent fancy games to keep them occupied. We wanted to keep early exposure short, so we weren’t out at the pool for long – in that time, my baby hardly tired of splashing the water.
To stretch her a little, I began a little game of catch – or mostly I would call it “reach.” I took a ball that she had played with in the house, then threw it a couple of feet away. She began to reach for it, and I waded over to let her capture it. She was thrilled. I had discovered that reaching out is an early start on the swimming motion. After that, we branched out to she and I sinking down into the water up to our necks, and coming back up together. The simple games delighted her.
My daughter has since become a real water baby, and is in the pool all through the summer. Once in a while she looks over at me fondly, and I wonder if she’s thinking about our early positive experiences with water.
Looking for some more summer fun? Check these out!