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  • A Fun and Safe Guide to Your Baby's First Swim

    Consider this your cheat sheet to give your child a swimmingly fun time in the water!
    by Maita de Jesus .
A Fun and Safe Guide to Your Baby's First Swim
PHOTO BY @wutwhanfoto/iStock
  •  Your child’s first time by the water, whether it be by the pool or on the beach, is very exciting! While parents feel that this is a milestone and a memory in the making, for a child, the new experience may make him feel overwhelmed, even afraid of the water. 

    If you feel as if your child isn’t exactly a “water baby” and would need a bit of help getting used to the water, here are a few tips from the experts and fellow parents: 

    Introduce swimming during bath time. 
    Nathalie Tan
    , a teacher of the My Baby and Me Program at Bert Lozada Swim School and a mother of 3 kids, says that one of the best ways to introduce swimming to a child is during an everyday routine of theirs—bath time! She explains, “Encourage your kids to be comfortable with having water on their faces. You can also prompt them to close their mouth when water is being poured on them. This is a sign we look for in a child to see if he or she is ready to go underwater.” 

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    Find a relatable toy, character, or book about the water. 
    Find a beach toy they can play with in the bath, or a book about beaches or swimming to introduce them to the concept. Elaine Natividad Reyes, mom of one, shares, “Have them watch a movie or cartoon where there’s a beach, so that when they see it in person, they get extra excited because of the connection!” 

    Apply sunblock 30 minutes before sun exposure. 
    To get all the benefits of the sunblock, apply it 30 minutes prior to heading out in the sun, or else it won’t be absorbed properly and will simply melt away! Remember to apply it on the ears, bridge of the nose, nape, and feet—these are the most oftentimes forgotten parts when it comes to sunblock application. Christiann Leonard Agodon, dad of one, adds, “Put oil on the back and at the bottom of the feet, to avoid cold feet!” Spread it evenly, too! 

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    Dress accordingly! 
    While those cute swimsuits or swimming trunks may be perfect for the summer OOTD, your child needs to be ready for the summer heat, more than anything else. Musette Muller, mom of four, says, “Bring eye protection for the UV rays, like a wide brim hat. Have them wear light-colored clothing, too.” 

    Invest in swim diapers. 
    If your child isn’t potty trained yet, finding swim diapers would be worth looking for, for your child’s health, and the health of those swimming with your child. Kids are notorious for doing their business in pools or beaches! 

    Stay calm and relaxed yourself. 
    Your child picks up on your mood, so if you approach the water apprehensively, they’ll pick up on your stress and be scared to go into the water themselves. Rather than psyching yourself out, keep calm and get into the water fun! 

    Never leave a child unattended, no matter what age. 
    Being as eagle-eyed as possible is a given for babies and toddlers, but it’s worth stressing, especially with cases of dry-drowning, or children accidentally falling into the pool even while they were safely seated on the side a few seconds ago. Francis Ochoa, dad of one, says, “We keep an eye on our child because she has a tendency to just dart into the sea, so we check out the sea before we let her wade in the shallows. Check the water temperature vis-à-vis the wind, so you can gauge how long she can stay in the water. Check the seabed to make sure there are no sharp rocks and shells. Even the calmest incoming current can knock down a tiny two-year-old, so don’t be fooled by calm waves.” Frances Sales, mom of three, adds, “Always one adult to one child. Not enough na naglalaro mga bata while adults nasa malayo—dapat in the water with the child.” 

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    Remember that each child is different. 
    Nadia Goloy-Agbayani
    , a swimming instructor and mom of 1, says that children as early as 6 months can start taking classes, but the ideal age to start swimming would be at 4 years old. She says, “There are some swim schools who can accommodate infants and toddlers as early as 6 months old, so that there is familiarity with the water environment. However, the ideal age to start formal and a more structured swim class is at the age of 4 years old, since children at this age are thought to be developmentally ready could easily adapt and follow instructions given to them.” 

    Praise their achievement! 
    Whether your child simply got their toes wet or went underwater for a few seconds, words of affirmation go a long way for any child of any age! Mommy Nadia says, “Praise them. This is a way of showing support for your child by telling them they did a great job, and giving them encouraging and positive remarks most especially right after their swim.” 

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