By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller
If you’re the parent of a baby, summer is the perfect time to introduce them to water in the form of a pool, ocean, or lake. It’s an exciting first for little ones, and can help set the stage for positive feelings about water they can have for a lifetime.
Here are a few tips on making those early water experiences happy ones:
Start planning for pool time in the bath.
Before you even move on to a larger body of water, use bath time to acclimate your baby to water as best you can. Gently pour water over their head in the bath, helping them to understand what it feels like to have water on their face. Introduce them to toys you can also bring along in the pool for some familiarity.
Avoid poop in the pool.
Let’s start with an important one: make sure your baby wears a swim diaper in the water! Not only will this be more comfortable for them (it won’t swell with water like a normal diaper would), it will keep poop contained should they go in the water! (A note: If you have some travel time between the place you put on the swim diaper and the pool or beach, consider putting a regular diaper on TOP of the swim diaper in case baby pees, then take it off before getting into the water.)
Block the sun.
If you’re going to be using an outdoor pool (or the beach or a lake), be sure to protect baby from the sun. A hat that blocks UV rays is a great call, and you can also put some sunscreen on your little one. (Opt for mineral rather than chemical sunscreen for your baby! While you’re at it, it’s probably the safer choice for YOU as well, and certainly for marine life.)
Let them know you’re right there.
It’s important to hold your baby close in the water, even as they start to explore. They should be able to easily grab for you if they ever want to. It also helps to keep your face level and close to theirs as best you can – particularly when entering the water.
Having a toy or two in the water (maybe a bath toy they’re familiar with, or something new and fun) can help your baby explore the water and enjoy their time there. After all, they KNOW how to play with a toy!
Baby, take the lead.
Let your baby guide lots of this time. You can help them know options (we can play with a toy, we can splash in the water, etc.), but then let them decide what feels most fun and comfortable, and go with that. The goal is for them to have a blast in the water!
Consider swim lessons.
If you want some assistance getting your baby comfortable in the water (along with some specific activities you can be doing to help with the process), it might help to get some baby swim lessons so you can work with an experienced instructor.
Here’s to a happy, water-filled summer for everyone in your family!
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