Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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Category: Swimming

  1. 5 Clever Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Child to Swim

    Posted on

    I’ve talked about the many benefits of baby swimming before. It’s a pastime I love sharing with my girls but I know that not all children are keen on going in the water. For example, my friend has a son who had an inexplicable hatred of water – even baths. Baby swimming sessions for them were fuelled with stress, and it wasn’t until he was older that he came around to the idea of swimming for pleasure.

    What can you do if you have a child who hates the water? Should you encourage them to swim and if so, how do you do it? Here are five effective ways you can turn your stubborn swimming hater into a frolicking fish.

    Lose the Structure

    You don’t have to have a formal process to swim. If swimming lessons are the worst half an hour of your week, stop. Take a breath. Start swimming for fun. Forget lessons and go when your child feels like it, just for pleasure. Take a pool noodle and have fun races, or tow them around the pool as if they were a speedboat.

    Play with Water

    I learnt this trick from my friend with the water-hating son. When even bath toys wouldn’t encourage him into the water she turned it into a game by incorporating it into their daily routine. He would “help” with the washing (some face cloths in a tub of soapy water), and get involved in his older brother’s water pistol fights.  A paddling pool in the backyard in summer was the bridge she needed to encourage him into a bigger pool, and now swimming is a highlight of their weekends.

    Try a Different Location

    It might be something as simple as a cold changing room, or a too-large pool, that puts your child off swimming. Try a different location, lots of baby swimming schools have a variety of locations that make this easier for you. Make the most of available swimming pools on your summer holiday, when they may be encouraged by seeing other children having fun swimming outdoors in the sun.

    Make it Social

    Peer pressure can work wonders with encouraging reluctant children into the water. Take them to watch older siblings, or arrange to go swimming with a friend who has children of a similar age.  Go into the water with your child so you can stay close to them and show them it’s nothing to fear.  Older children may feel awkward putting their changing bodies on show. Don’t make a big deal of it, just occasionally float idea (no pun intended) that they go swimming with a friend, and be sensitive to their feelings.

    Try Someone Else

    If you have tried all of the above and still can’t encourage your child to swim, get someone else to take over whether it’s a specialist swimming instructor who excels in teaching reluctant swimmers, or your dad who has endless patience where yours may wear thin. Though you may want it to be, especially if you love the water, it doesn’t have to be you that gets your child to enjoy swimming. We love our children more than anyone else on the planet, but I’ve learned that we’re not always the best people to convince them to do things!

    Have patience. Swimming is such a healthy pastime that it’s worth persevering. 

    LLP - 5 Clever Ways to Encourage Your Reluctant Child to Swim

  2. Swimming: The Perfect Activity for Children and Parents

    Posted on

    Last weekend my husband had to physically drag me out of bed on Sunday morning for our daughters swimming lesson and according to many experts, the earlier you start your child in the water the better (although I am guessing this means in age rather than the time of the morning). 

    There are genuinely few activities that are quite as life enhancing as a morning (or afternoon) in the swimming pool. It’s one of the cheapest ways to get plenty of health and psychological benefits and is also a great way for children and parents to socialise. Swimming delivers a complete activity package that provides great fun and important physical exercise, something we could all do with little bit more of (especially after the Christmas excess). I know I have said it before, but it really is great for both children and parents, can improve bonding, develop self-confidence, improve health conditions and provides an ideal opportunity for mums and dads to destress and relax in safe surroundings.

     Swimming from an early age helps to build water confidence and safety

    Social and Parental Bonding

    New and challenging environments are brilliant for parents and children. The swimming pool is a place of great excitement for kids with plenty of opportunity to splash around and play with other children. Not only that, swimming brings an important opportunity for mum and dad to develop stronger bonds of trust and love with natural skin-to-skin contact as well as bunches of fun.

    Great for Physical and Mental Health

    Swimming is perfect for both your physical health and your state of mind. There’s nothing more natural than teaching your kid how to love and trust water, from the time you step into the baby area to that momentous occasion when you take them into the big pool for the first time. According to a lot of research, swimming is one of the top activities that creates a better overall sense of well-being. Parents love it just as much as the kids.

    Better Breathing and Coordination

    Learning to swim comes with all sorts of value added extras. I have blogged about my daughters asthma previously but children with breathing problems such as asthma actually find swimming makes a big difference – you might think the opposite but actually the warm humid air can often make breathing a lot easier. Swimming also helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without being high impact and is one exercise that your children probably won’t moan about as they grow older. (My oldest daughter is testament to this as she is now part of a swimming club)

     Swimming helps to develop coordination and build muscle strength without be

    Boosting Confidence for Later Lessons

    How early you get your baby or toddler involved with baby swimming lessons could have long term effects on building their confidence. Toddlers are usually happy to splash around in the water and if you keep it up until they are ready to swim properly then learning to do the crawl or the breaststroke should be breeze. Getting in the swimming pool not only benefits the kids, it’s good for parents too. 

     Did you know ....?

    A study back in 2009 found toddlers that went into the swimming pool early developed better motor coordination and had improved balance over those that didn’t go in the water?

    Another German research project showed that toddlers who were introduced to water at a young age exhibited more intelligence and better social skills later on.

    If you need any other reasons to get your kids in the water as soon as possible, then how about the absolute fun you can have splashing around in the pool? We are planning a swimming birthday party for later in the year, so we hope that everyone else is as enthusiastic as we are about swimming!!

  3. Reasons why baby swimming is good for Dad's too!

    Posted on

    We often hear of the benefits of swimming for a baby but how about the reasons why baby swimming is good for Dad's too?

    Reasons why baby swimming is good for Dads too

    Baby swimming is often a child’s first social experience out of the home that involves other children. They learn to relate and interact with each other and it is a great opportunity for dads to meet like minded people who share common interests.

    Research has suggested that babies who participate in swimming are often more alert for their age and have better eating and sleeping patterns. So it is a great chance for you to enjoy time with your little one but also to know that you are aiding your child’s future development.

    As a former swimmer for the county, the man on the Lilypad loves seeing his daughter swim and loves the chance to swim with her, which is a great bonding experience for them both (not to mention time for them to laugh over and over again about dunking daddy under the water). 

    Swimming together is not only a great weekly activity but when your baby is in regular swim lessons, it makes going on holiday more enjoyable and your little one looks forward to playing in the water and you get to enjoy the water too, without fretting about their water safety abroad!

     Swimming from an early age helps to build water confidence and safety

    With so many activities seemingly focused on mother and baby, swimming lessons are a great opportunity for the Dad's to get involved and as the man on the Lilypad is super competitive, he takes great pride in her achievements every week. Although he is not a fan of taking her into the mens changing rooms, so it is good to select a pool with family changing facilities.

    There will become a time when we no longer get in the water with her for her lessons and that time is getting closer and closer. She no longer wants held in the water as she has confidence to swim on her own but she still looks for reassurance and approval. I see him getting wistful about how quickly she is growing up but I know that no matter how big and confident she gets, she will always be Daddy's little girl.

  4. Where is the little shark?

    Posted on

    Every person has a natural in built fear of the water. The human body not naturally designed to be underwater which is why swimming is such an important life skill for any child. But what if confidence holds a child back, what then?

    We are huge swimming advocates and ensure that the girls swim on a weekly basis but going on holiday this summer meant a new pool, new depths, no lifeguards and a big adventure as far as the girls were concerned but I was a little more cautious. I was therefore delighted when Swimfin gave us the opportunity to try out one of the pink shark fins for our summer holiday.

    The website tells us that the SwimFin compensates for different abilities, providing as much support as the swimmer needs, yet giving confidence to even the most timid learner. For me the fact that it works in harmony with the body, helping to develop a better and more natural swimming position, was attractive to me as whilst the little one has achieved her 10 metre badge with Water Babies, she has a tendancy to "run" through the water rather than lying flat.

    So what did we think ......?

    Swimfin 3

    The Swimfin feels sturdy without being heavy and the adjustable velcro straps give a feeling of security for the little one (and for me). I *may* have put it on my daughter backwards the first time round and whilst she looked like a backwards shark, it didn't actually detract from its bouyancy. There is no need for inflating or deflating after use (and it dries quickly too ..... although that may have been more to do with the sunshine!)

    Swimfin 1

    The deep end of a new (freezing cold) pool can feel quite daunting, especially when the water temperature takes your breath away but the Swimfin gave our little swimmer that extra bit of confidence in getting into the pool. Our little swimmer doesn't like "fuss" so the fact that the Swinfin is so easy to get on and off when she is getting in and out of the water is a big plus.

    Swimfin 2

    We saw lots of different bouyancy aids on our holiday but unlike other swimming aids, we love that the SwimFin is multi-stroke functional. It leaves the arms completely free to move and so can be used to learn front-crawl and back-stroke with ease. Our youngest daughter has never been a huge fan of swimming on her back but with the Swimfin she was happily swimming around on her back, comforted by the protection of the Swinfin.

    Swimfin 4

    Essentially the SwimFin is just a very clever flotation device. There are no gimmicks (aside from being very cool looking) but it does its job and complies with international safety standards, which is a big plus for safety conscious parents.

    The Big Plus Points :

    • The Swinfin gives confidence for mum and child in the water
    • The Swimfin looks super cool
    • The Swinfim is not restrictive
    • The Swinfin is always a talking point at the pool so great for helping the children make new friends on holiday.Everyone was asking "where is the little shark"
    • There is no need to get out of breath blowing up inflatable water wings as the Swinfin is ready to go.
    • It helps to improve the childs swimming position

    Is there a downside to the Swimfin?

    • The only downside for me is that it took up a little extra room in my suitcase that I could have used for an extra pair of shoes!

    Swimfin 5