Swimming lessons for babies or toddlers are one way of acclimatizing young children to water activities at an early age. Children can start learning how to swim at a very early age (sometimes as early as 3 months old), but it is generally advised to wait until your baby is at least 6 months. Swimming lessons for babies and toddlers teaches them to be secure and comfortable around water, swimming and other aquatic activities. Patience is needed in teaching babies swimming as is care and a lot of attention.
Start by gently splashing water with the baby's hands. Using arm buoyancy devices, help the baby splash his hands in the pool water while staying afloat. This teaches the baby how to get used to playing with water, and the feel of water on his face. He will also learn how to hold his breath for short periods as the water splashes on his face. If your swimming lessons are in a group, having two babies do this activity together teaches them how to play in the water with other children.
Shower games are the next level up from gentle splashing activities. Slowly and gently pouring a little bit of water over your baby's head will get him even more used to having water on his face, and holding his breath for brief periods of time. You can make a homemade pool shower toy by cutting holes into a clean plastic soda bottle, filling it with water in the pool, and having the water gently run down over top of your baby. Have your baby splash and play with the falling water to get him even more comfortable with aquatic activity.
Humpty Dumpty Game
This is the final step for babies learning how to hold their breath around water. Once your baby has become thoroughly comfortable with splashing and pouring water, as well as being very comfortable with holding her breath when water is on her face, she can practice short periods of holding her breath underwater. Play the Humpty Dumpty game by quietly and cheerfully reciting the nursery rhyme to your child. When you reach the line, "had a great fall" carefully dip your baby into the water so that her head is fully submerged for only a tiny period of time (a second or two). This game can also be played with the Ring-around-a-rosie song.
Floating on their back is a game for babies who are comfortable with being in the water, and are adept at holding their breath when necessary. Using a personal floatation device such as a life jacket and water wings, place your baby on her back in the pool, with your hands underneath her back to guide her. As she becomes more comfortable with floating on her back in the pool, you can slowly remove your hands so she floats on her own. You must pay very careful attention when doing this activity, and never leave your baby unsupervised.