Bath time can be used an an extension to play time. An opportunity to gain water confident through exploring and investigating! Transferring skills from bath time used during swimming lessons.
Do you have a child that doesn't really like having a bath? Do you have battles with trying to get them in the water? Your child really doesn't like having water on their faces!
This post will provide the positive encouragement you are looking for.
I have always thought as bath time as another opportunity for more play time. A time to
spend some extra quality time together. A time for more giggles and laughter. A time for more songs to sing and stories to read. (Read my blog "Bath time activities" for some ideas). Bath time is also a perfect opportunity for active learning to transfer to the swimming pool!
My son, Harry is 3 years old now and just loves having a bath. Ok some days he would rather not but thats alright, I just don't force him to have one and we try again the following night. Bath time should be a positive and fun experience and can be used (if done properly) an extension to learning the skills of swimming as well.
What can I do?
It doesn't happen every time and I would just roll with it but having your child lie on their belly and practice to kick is very useful to transfer to the swimming pool. Practicing during bath time can then be transferred during your time in the pool. Their senses are being triggered when having a positive experience doing it at home in a safe and controlled environment so this familiar action will not be as scary when asked to do it during lessons.
Starting with exploration of the water using water wheels, rain drop cups and squirty toys are always a great starting point. Let your child play with these themselves. Once they become more aware and familiar with the motion and feel of the water encourage them to sprinkle over their own heads taking a breath first. If they are not 100% sure please don't force them, you can try doing it for them by singing "It's raining it's pouring" & using a cue - "are you ready, 1,2,3 breath" and sprinkle the water from the back of the head forward. When the water runs over their face just have them wipe their own eyes and distract them with a toy.
Now that they are comfortable with the water you can progress to breath control. This means; taking a breath and blowing out a few times continuously. A very important skill for swimming. PLEASE NOTE: A swimmer should NOT hold their breath for an extended period of time whilst swimming.
Putting loads of bubbles in the bath water is good as they can make bubbles beards or bubble face masks. Harry loves looking at himself in the mirror to see where the bubbles are on his face. The other day he was Father Christmas with a bubble beard lol
I have also used treasure hunts which are fun. Put some plastic coins in that sink to the bottom and they have to look to find them.
Another good one is searching for fish. Adding sinking fish to the water and they use a hoop as a magnifying glass to find them.
Always use the cues for them to practice so they remember once in the swimming pool. "Breath and blow out".
If they are unsure about faces down, try lips in first, then nose, then forehead. You can also have them put a bubble mountain on their hand and with a big breath see how much they can blow off their hand.
Harry has always been a little unsure on his back (most children are at first) so bath time was a great place for him to become more confident and get used to the feeling of being on his back.
Before Harry wanted to do it on his own, I would hold his head for support until he relaxed then removed my hand slowly asking him to open his eyes (place your head in the way of the light so it doesn't blind them) and either sing or chat whilst washing his hair.
The more he did this in bath time the more he was comfortable doing it in the swimming pool.
For babies/young toddlers bath time is perfect for them to splash and just play. I am afraid you will need to put loads of towels down on the floor as the wetter it is the better.
The bath is not just a place to wash and clean your child. It's a perfect opportunity to play and explore which helps them practice and become familiar with the essential skills needed for a confidence and strong swimmer.