When both girls were 6 weeks old I took them to swimming lessons. Both have had very different experiences. My youngest daughter has unbelievable confidence in the water, absolutely no fear and would happily jump in or dive underwater. My eldest daughter is confident in the water but up until very recently would not jump in or put her face in the water.
It goes to show that even with the same lessons every child is different but what both of my girls learnt from an early age was pool and water safety. They learnt what to do if they fell in the water, and how to be sensible and not run when it is wet.
For a variety of reasons Little Man has never had formal swimming lessons, but I have taken him to the pool and shown him the same safety techniques his sisters learnt. It does make me a little sad that I wasn't able to take Little Man swimming lessons, but we have still spent the same quality time together in the water.
Olympic swimmer Rebecca Addlington has teamed up with Baby Annabell – the UK’s number one selling large doll brand – to launch the new Baby Annabell learn to swim doll and give her top tips for encouraging Little ones to swim
- 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.
- 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. I took Summer from 3 weeks old. 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.
- 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 flotation equipment and five without, this helps when they’re really young and still building confidence.
- Mix up who takes the child swimming. Whether its Mum, Dad, Grandparents etc. It’s good to go with someone they trust whilst getting used to swimming with different people
Baby Annabell learns to swim moves her arms and legs in the water and even floats on her back. First though water safety is important and my youngest had to inflate Baby Annabell's arm bands!
Baby Annabell loved swimming in the bath, and even made friends with Little Man.
After her bath it was time to get dry with her very own fluffy towel.
It is safe to say Baby Annabell is well looked after. The girls love that they finally have a doll they can take in the bath with them, and one that swims too!
Baby Annabell was sent for review. All words are my own opinion