How To Teach Your Baby To Swim
This is a monthly post on 'Book Review for Parents'. Every 1st week of the month I will post review of the books that I have read with regards to raising our children. My previous posts were:
Jan - Raising Musical Kids
Feb - Lynn's Money Adventures
Mar - Appreciating Your Child
Apr - How To Teach Your Baby To Be Physically Superb
May - How To Teach Your Baby To Read
I'm sure many of you have watched these 2 videos that went viral. If you can't view them here, please click the links here & here.
If you have any doubt whether babies can swim (if taught properly), I believe these 2 videos (& more in youtube) would proof you wrong. Let's not forget that foetuses swim in mothers' womb before they were even born. Infants, therefore, are accustom to water at birth. It is us, adults, who delay their exposure to water that cause them to fear water as they have forgotten how it is like swimming in their mothers' womb.
“Adults sometimes look upon newborns as weak, immobile creatures. On the contrary, newborns are born swimmers. If we allow them to continue to be in water, they will not lose that ability.” - Douglas Doman from "How to Teach Your Baby to Swim"
I wished I had read this book before AJ was born. I didn't know of this book until AJ was about 2. Too late. He has already developed the fear of water.
“It is easier to teach a five-year-old to swim than a six-year old, a three-year-old than a four-year-old, and a one-year-old than a two-year-old. Newborn babies already know how to swim, so we really don’t need to teach them much. We only need to give them the opportunity to use what they have learned in utero.” - Douglas Doman, How To Teach Your Baby to Swim
Nonetheless, better late than never. We signed him up for toddler swim class with AquaDucks where we met with this incredible swim coach Garett.
Garett is very good with infants & toddlers. He often had some chats with us after class, giving us tips to follow up at home to help AJ. Within a month or so, AJ was able to overcome the fear of water (with follow up at home). Within 3 months, AJ was able to walk to the edge of the pool alone & jumped down to the water.
Shortly after, Garett left AquaDucks & set up his own company Little Swim School. We followed him because we find that he is an excellent coach. At 3, AJ acquired water confidence (youtube link).
"Swimming stimulates the brain’s sensory areas. The back part of the brain is dedicated to incoming sensory information from our environment. Everything we learn in our lifetime – everything that Einstein ever learned in his lifetime – is the result of what the brain takes in through the five pathways." - Douglas Doman, How To Teach Your Baby to Swim
A few months before turning 4, AJ was able to swim more independently (youtube link).
“Setting an example for your baby is very important part of creating a successful swimming program. First and foremost, show your baby how much you love to be in the water. If your baby sees how happy mother (or father) is, he will understand that he can be happy, too.” - Douglas Doman
No, we have no intention to let AJ be trained to be a competitive swimmer. We only want him to acquire the necessary skills, the proper strokes & enjoy swimming at leisure. This is a life skill, a survival skill that is so important.
Today, AJ can swim free style pretty well (youtube link) & is fine tuning his strokes for breast stroke.
Had I come across this book written by Douglas Doman earlier, I believe AJ would have a better start. While it is no point lamenting now, I take this as a lesson for me to share with parents here. If you (mothers-to-be) are currently pregnant or have young babies, do consider picking up this book to read thoroughly to understand the benefits of starting your babies to swim early. The issue of chlorine in pools is also addressed at length in this book. They have addressed all important issues regarding safety & baby swimming. Definitely a book to read if you intend to develop an all-rounded baby.