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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. What age should children learn to swim?

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    Swimming is a skill that everyone ought to learn. Unfortunately, a large number of people don’t know how to swim. Yet, many of them spend some of their free time or holidays near pools, water wells, dams, rivers and beaches. They are putting their life (and their childrens) in danger without even realising it.

    Not knowing how to swim is like not knowing how to ride a bike. It’s also one of those activities that once you learn it you never forget it. The only thing that disappears is your strength if you don’t swim often enough. Swimming is a vital life skill that can save your, or someone else’s life when you least expect it.

    Children should be taught to swim as soon as possible. While there is no right or wrong age to teach children basic swimming strokes like freestyle or breaststroke or simply being able to float on the water, parents should make the attempt as soon as possible. There’s no sense in leaving swimming lessons till your child is older if you are able to do it at an earlier stage of their life. We enjoyed years of Water Babies lessons as at this stage babies can get used to the water and become comfortable with it.

     What age should children learn to swim_

    Once a child is five or six they can join a swimming squad to improve their stroke and technique. The better the technique the easier it’s going to be to swim for them. You might even find that your child enjoys swimming very much and wants to stick with it and takes things further. Local clubs often have race nights which can be beneficial for children too.

    Getting your children in the water as soon as possible is probably the best time for them to learn how to swim especially if you live near the water or have a pool. Swimming can be a life saving skill and you want your children to learn it quickly so that they will be able to look after themselves in the water and help someone else if necessary. Teach them to swim early and you will provide them with a skill for life that they will never forget.

    Children spend 9 months in the womb completely surrounded by fluid and are not afraid of water as newborns. If a newborn baby gets water in his or her eyes they do not startle or scream. If your infant cries during a bath it is most likely from being chilly; even warm water will make them feel cold as it evaporates.

    If infants are not scared of water, why are 3, 4 and 5 years olds so terrified of having water on their faces during their first round of swimming lessons? It is because they have had their whole lives to forget what it felt like to be underwater, and the unknown breeds fear. It is also because, at bath time, parents take such great care to keep water as far from babies' and young children's heads as possible, and show great anxiety if their children get even a small amount of clean water in their eyes or mouths. This anxiety teaches children that water, especially anywhere near the face, is something to fear.

    So, swimming should start in infancy. Formal lessons, of course, are not necessary for newborns, but being accustomed to water as something to be enjoyed and respected is needed. If water accidentally gets in your infants eyes, don't act like it's a crisis. Your child will be fine, and you don't want to create a fear that will make learning to swim much harder later on.

    Parent and Tot lessons are often offered for babies as young as 3 months of age. Again, the focus is (obviously) not on swimming by themselves, or even on "dunking" but just on getting used to the water and the swimming lesson environment. Once babies' are old enough to have some gross motor control, you can get them used to water on their face by blowing in their face (to make them hold their breath) and quickly lowering them into the water and bringing them back up.  Smile and give them positive attention afterwards, and most babies will love it.

    Usually children are ready for traditional lessons at the age of 3, which is when they are old enough to follow instructions from an instructor, and capable of sitting or standing still for short periods. Many 3 year olds can learn how to swim on their fronts and backs for 10 feet or longer. It is important to start swimming lessons early to give children a better chance of survival should they ever fall into water unexpectedly, or if an accident occurs during recreation. 

    Parents must know that swimming lessons are not a substitute for adequate supervision around the water. Children under 5 years of age do not generally have the ability to calm themselves down and recall their swimming lessons in a panic situation, but as your child gets older and more proficient in the water, the likelihood of them surviving a water incident, or being able to avoid the incident in the first place, is much, much higher.

    Early swimming lessons could make all the difference when it comes to saving your child from becoming a statistic.

  2. 5 sports for your child to try this summer

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    sports-summer-feature

    Feature image credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

    In a world where technology is taking over most of our lives, it is becoming increasingly difficult for children to lead an active lifestyle when there are so many distractions, such as tablets and games consoles at hand 24/7. According to Public Health England, the number of children getting a sufficient amount of physical activity last year dropped by a staggering 40%. Therefore, it is important, more than ever, to ensure our children take part in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Being physically active every day is vital to ensure healthy growth and development for our youngsters – both mentally and physically. The amount of exercise and the intensity differs depending on your child’s age, however, one thing is certain: it should always be encouraged to guarantee your child is getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity, per day.

    For many parents, getting your child to be active can be hard, which is why persuading your child to take up a hobby may be a good idea. Why not give your child a taste of different sports this summer?

    5 sports to try this summer:

    • Swimming

    sports-summer-swimming

    Photo credit: Michael Brin/Shutterstock

    Whilst the sun is shining and the temperature is warm, swimming is a great activity to take part in – particularly if you have access to a lido, or even an outdoor pool in your garden. Not only does swimming provide all-round exercise for your little one, it is a fun way to get more active and stay healthy; even for parents too! Regular swimming sessions are proven to reduce the risks of developing any serious illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and, more seriously, heart disease.

    In addition, splashing around in the water not only has physical benefits, but also helps to boost your child’s mood and unwind — and there are lots of different strokes to try and learn.

    • Cycling

    sports-summer-cycling

    Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

    We all know that kids love to ride their bicycles — it's great fun, helps them feel independent, and keeps them fit and healthy. Riding a bike helps fine-tune your child's motor skills, such as balance and co-ordination, as well as building up strength, in both their legs and core. Encouraging kids to cycle from an early age, and getting them to take their “Bikeability” test, will help equip them with an important skill for life.

    As well as that, cycling is a fantastic family activity; great for a day out. All you need is a bike that is suitable for the road and the appropriate size for your child (this can be second-hand or from a bike shop), some basic safety gear including a helmet and perhaps some knee and elbow pads, and a little bit of practice; a highly affordable hobby as there are very little to no maintenance costs.

    • Running

    sports-summer-running

    Photo credit: Sergey Novikov/Shutterstock

    Kids love to run and compete with each other, whether it be in the school playground, on sports day, or taking part in extra-curricular activities, such as athletics. It is incredibly easy to get into running as a sport — all you need is a good pair of running shoes, which doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

    Running in races teaches our children about healthy competition, setting goals and achieving them. It can help to improve their performance in other sports too, as it helps them develop core and back strength, endurance and co-ordination. These skills all play an important role in activities like popular sports, such as gymnastics, dance and football.

    • Golf

    sports-summer-golf

    Photo credit: Dasha Petrenko/Shutterstock

    Despite needing to be donned in the correct golf clothing when stepping foot on a golf course to take a few swings in an attempt to hit a hole-in-one, there are other cheaper and more entertaining ways to get your child involved in the sport. Around the UK, there are a wide variety of crazy golf courses up and down the country that enable children to have fun and get active.

    Alternatively, there are also golf ranges that allow you to take the kids and compete for points, such as Top Golf, where you pay a small fee to hire the golf club and balls for couple of hours – perfect to get your children out and about during the summer holidays (even when the weather is below par!).

    • Tennis

    sports-summer-tennis

    Photo credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

    Children today love playing games such as football, rugby and dance, so why not make this summer an opportunity to introduce your child to something entirely different? Tennis is a great activity to play, not only due to the many social benefits, but due to the countless health benefits, which include: balance and body coordination, agility and flexibility to name a few. Tennis also promotes overall good health in children – improved bone strength and density, and a robust immune system.

    During the summer, tennis clubs around the country have one-off classes to help to encourage children to get active and feel a taste for the sport whilst children have free time. Get in touch with your local tennis club and see whether they have any upcoming deals.

  3. Baby Annabell Learns to Swim | Review | Giveaway

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    Anyone that reads our blog will have followed our Water Babies swimming adventures over the years and know how important I feel it is to learn to swim.

    But what about a doll that swims? Who else could it be other than Baby Annabell!

    We all know Baby Annabell as the No 1 selling doll brand in the UK so when Zapf Creations launch a new doll there is lots to be excited about. We were told that the Baby Annabell Learns To Swim doll splashes, moves her arms and legs when she comes into contact with water, and floats on her back. As always, she has cute accessories, so the little water baby includes a towel and inflatable water wings with cute sheep design

    Even more exciting news was hearing that Olympian Rebecca Adlington had partnered up with Zapf Creations and Baby Annabell for this launch, so we wanted to know more!

    Rebecca Adlington launches Baby Annabel Learns to Swim. Photos copyright Si

    Rebecca Adlington says: “Learning to swim is an important milestone, helping to instil confidence from an early age as well as being a really fun bonding experience between a parent and child. If your little one is nervous it can be a challenging process – expect plenty of tears and tantrums, however initial fears can be overcome by slowly building confidence and trust.” Whether your child is an anxious swimmer or an excited water baby, Rebecca Adlington’s top tips will help turn your child into a little Olympian in no time.

    Children can be initially nervous of the water, baby steps and lots of praise will help them overcome a lack of confidence. Try taking them alone to just watch for the first time, then toes in next time and so on, along with lots of positive praise to help encourage them to take that first dip.

    700051_BA Learns to Swim (1)

    Toys are a brilliant tool, they are such a good distraction for anyone who doesn’t normally like putting their face in the water or splashing. Toys such as the new Baby Annabell Learns to Swim doll are a great way to give children (and parents!) the courage to take those first steps towards swimming

    Swimming is huge bonding experience. The learning process is a lot to do with trust and really builds a closer relationship between and parent and child. For this reason, try not to use your phone during lessons to avoid distractions.

    The younger you start swimming lessons the better. It is all about building confidence and awareness of the water from a young age. Swimming also helps with a child’s muscular development and is fantastic for understanding their physical abilities. We started our Water Babies journey when our youngest was 12 months old but we could have started so much sooner. 

    Make good use of the equipment that’s there. Whether it’s armbands, noodles, or vests, use whatever your child is more comfortable with. I tend to do five minutes with floatation equipment and five without, this helps when they’re really young and still building confidence. 

    So how about Baby Annabell Learns to Swim, how does she fare? Well it took me a little while to realise that you have to put Baby Annabell in her 3 positions in sequential order. Just like when a child is learning to swim, they need to learn each stage. Reading the instructions before you put the doll in the bath with an expectant child is always the better option than frustratingly freestyling it. 
     
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    Oh and you need batteries. I repeat you need batteries. 3 x AA batteries are needed. So please don't buy one as a gift this Christmas and forget them. ...... a bath with a floating Annabell isn't quite as exciting as one who giggles and moves her arms and legs in the water. For obvious reasons, Baby Annabell Learns to Swim isn't going to be doing Olympic breastroke around your bath as she is clearly still only a baby (!!), but while the movements and sounds can get a little repetitive, the children are oblivious and delighted to play in the bath.
     
    The attraction of this new Baby Annabell is quite simply that she can go in the water with your little one, whether that is the bath or the swimming pool .... fun time doesn't have to end at the edge of the bathroom or pool changing rooms. The fun has only just started! 
     
    We are therefore thrilled to be able to give our readers the chance to win a Baby Annabell Learns to Swim Doll worth £49.99 ..... just in time for Christmas. All you need to do is enter below.
     
    Win Baby Annabell Learns To Swim RRP £49.99
     
    Good luck!
     
     
     
    Terms & Conditions

    The Prize: Baby Annabell Learns To Swim Doll
    The winners will be chosen at random by the random winner generator on Rafflecopter and notified within 7 working days by email
    By entering this competition, you understand that your details may be retained for future mailings. You can unsubscribe from this mailing list at any time.
    There is no monetary equivalent.
    Little Lilypad Co take no /responsibility for loss or damage in the despatch of prizes
    If the prize is unclaimed within 7 days we reserve the right to redraw the winner.
    End Date 26/11/2017 at 12am

     
     
     
     
  4. Can I take my baby swimming with Asthma or Eczema

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    We have written a lot about swimming and alot about asthma but we are learning new things all the time. There was a time when I wouldn't have taken my little one swimming when they had a cold or had just had their injections but as we have come a long way on our parenting (and swimming) journey, I am more confident about when I should and shouldn't take her swimming. I am also learning new things about asthma all the time and a relatively new one for me is that asthma and eczema are linked. Although it’s not exactly clear what causes eczema, we know that it tends to run in families, therefore is part of your genetic make-up. However, there are many things that can cause it to flare up, from cold weather to your favourite perfume or jumper. Changes in temperature, feeling unwell and stress can also make your eczema worse.

    Atopic eczema affects around 20% of children under five years, making baby swimming a question for some parents. Is it still ok to take your baby swimming if they suffer from eczema? It’s not nice to see your child have to miss out on something they love so much, but the good news is that swimming doesn’t have to irritate the condition further. In fact, evidence shows that it can actually help some children.

    What do the Professionals Say?

    Asthma UK advise that we all need to try to be as active as we can be every day and the recommended amount of gentle swimming is two and a half hours a week, or half an hour a day. Although it is work noting that chlorine used in pools or cold pools may be triggers for some people with asthma.

    The National Eczema Society has recently advised that diluted bleach can reduce bacteria on eczema-affected skin, and this process is replicated by the chlorine in swimming pool water. Salt water is a natural disinfectant and can have a similar effect. Ask when chlorine is added to the pool so you can avoid swimming straight afterwards, when the chlorine level will be at its highest. 

    Both the British Association of Dermatologists and the National Eczema Society advise you to avoid taking your baby swimming if their skin is especially irritated. Apply emollient ointment before swimming; and rinse and apply more emollient after swimming. I always found it beneficial to have a towel handy that I could wrap my baby in straight away, and to have a toy to keep their hands busy and distract them from the urge to scratch.

    Baby Swimsuits

    You can protect your baby’s skin further with a long-sleeved and long-legged swimsuit. Look for one which is designed with as few scratchy seams as possible, and, if it is being worn outdoors, which has 50+UV protection. As well as stopping your baby from being as slippery as a fish in the water, a swim suit will help stop emollient ointment being rubbed off, and protect delicate skin from sunburn if you’re swimming outdoors.

    Allergies

    Benefits of Swimming with Eczema 

    I recently talked about the many benefits of baby swimming and these are just as true for babies with eczema as for those without. Studies have linked having eczema to a higher risk of developing asthma. Swimming helps control the effects of asthma by strengthening the cardiovascular system, so is great for eczema babies.

    Trust Your Judgement

    You know your child better than anyone. You’re the one looking at their skin and applying cream, so you’ll know straight away the effect swimming has on it. Pay attention to the signs and use your judgement. It may be that short baby swimming sessions have no adverse effect but that there’s a tipping point when their skin becomes irritated. You could find that their eczema reacts differently depending on the pool due to various chemicals and temperatures. Outdoor pools tend to be cooler and therefore less irritating. If one pool doesn’t work, try another.

    Speak to your doctor about baby swimming with eczema. Try a variety of barrier and moisturising ointments until you find the right combination that works for their skin (this is true even if you’re not taking your baby swimming).


    There might not be a cure for asthma or eczema but its effects can certainly be managed so you and your baby can enjoy all the fun of swimming together.