Evie is now 6 months of age and it is grandpa Laurie’s (Lollipop as he’s affectionately known) turn to get into the pool.
At this stage the main objective is to build Evie’s independence in the water by getting her to grip and hold on. You’ll notice that now 6 months, Evie is much better at this important activity.
Cup conditioning still remains important and is always included in the warm up activity. Evie is now being challenged to hold her breath for 3 seconds.
If you compare the submersions from last month you’ll see that Evie is now able to stay underwater much longer. In fact she is now capable of free floating.
In both submersions and free floats we always ensure that the baby is in a good horizontal position. This position puts baby in a good swimming position and gives them an opportunity to free float and even kick.
When performing underwater work we always use a double trigger to warn the baby. Our verbal trigger is followed by a lifting trigger so that the baby can catch their breath.
When performing free floating activities ideally the parent should build the skill. Start with a float and catch. Then build to a float and grip the t-shirt. If you’ve been regularly practicing gripping activities this should be a breeze.
We are also starting to build independence in shallow water on a foam mat. Here Evie is challenged to hold her head up out of the water. Because she is rolling on land she is also experimenting with this in the water. This is great exploratory learning but the adult must be within arms reach strictly supervising at all times.
Shallow water exploration is also done on a shallow ledge. Here Evie is learning to sit up. Because this is a new activity for Evie she easily overbalances. Because she has been conditioned to go underwater this activity does not bother her. However, if your child has not been preconditioned I would not recommend this activity. Remember learning to swim should follow a gradual progression.
Remember no child is safe in or around water unless being strictly supervised within arms reach of an adult.