There are so many bath and pool toys for your little one to play with while in the water. There are some that we'd recommend more than others and while the market is forever changing, we thought I'd be important to teach you what to look for when you are considering to purchase bath and pool toys for your little one. This way no matter what toys come out in the future, you'll have the tools to know what to look for!
Choose toys that can properly dry
It is important to choose toys that can dry thoroughly so bacteria and mold do not begin to grow. You'll want to avoid buying toys that tend to squeak because the inside of the toy typically does not dry well. If your little one loves to swim with a rubber duckie, consider using a hot glue gun to seal the hole so water does not get in. After the bath, be sure to take all the toys out of the tub (or pool) and let them thoroughly dry before putting them away.
Choose toys that are an appropriate size for your little one
We know our little ones love to put things in their mouth, especially if they are teething. Be sure to select toys that are large enough so that your little one cannot swallow them or so they won't go down the drain.
Choose toys and floatation devices that are US Coast Guard (USCG) Approved
USCG-approved equipment is designed to keep you safe in the water. USCG-Approved equipment always has a certificate of approval saying that the product meets its relevant regulations. You will most likely use USCG-approved lifejackets with your little ones.
Whichever toys you decide to purchase for your little one, always remember to remove them from the tub or pool after each bath or swim and store them away from the water. Keep in mind that our children are curious and if a toy is left behind, your little one will most certainly want to find away to play with it! Most importantly remember that bath time is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your little one and nurture their love for the water! Have fun splashing around!
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As parents, we strive to teach our children right from wrong and instill safe & healthy habits that they will have for the rest of their life. We teach them how to brush their teeth, wear appropriate clothing depending on the weather, look both ways before crossing the street, and more. Teaching your little ones about the water is just as important. We can start building safe water habits with them every time we give them a bath or show them how to wash their hands throughout each day. Three water safety habits you can start with are: developing cues, asking permission, and knowing their boundaries!
Cueing is one of the very first habits we can build with our little ones even before they begin to develop their language skills. A cue is a signal, word, or phrase, that makes sense to you as the parent, to let your little one know that it's safe to come in the water. Using cues is an excellent safety habit to build with your little one even before they can ask permission to go in the water.
How to use cueing with your little one:
The key to cueing is repetition. The more you practice with your little one, the more they will remember the cue. At first, your little one might not know what it means and may just try to jump right in. If that's the case, take them out of the water and try again, this time using the cue.
Teaching your little one to ask permission to go in the water is an essential habit to build as soon as your little one starts developing language skills. Each time your little one experiences the water we want to start teaching them that they need to get permission from an adult before they are allowed to jump in.
How to teach your little one ask permission to go in the water:
Practice is going to help your little one learn that they must wait until you answer their question to enter the water. Remember that if you are not ready for them to go in, it's okay to tell them they need to wait one minute.
Asking For Help
One of the most important things we can first teach our little ones is understanding their boundaries while swimming - knowing what they feel comfortable doing and what feels uncomfortable for them as they explore the water. They begin to learn these things as you observe their reactions and help them recognize these feelings. By first recognizing what feels comfortable and uncomfortable, we can then begin to teach them how to ask for help and what to do should an emergency arise.
How to teach your little one to ask for help:
When first exploring the water with your little one, you should always be within arms' reach if you are not holding them and be watching them 100% of the time. To help eliminate distractions or walking away, check out our bathtime checklist of tips and tricks to ensure your little one has your undivided attention during bath time.
We are often talking about how bath time can be a wonderful bonding time for you and your little one and how it's the perfect opportunity to safely have your little one explore the water. These three water safety habits are always taught in our parent-child swim lessons which start at 6-months old. You can of course start introducing these habits as soon as you think your baby is ready! Remember when teaching our little ones new things, practice and routine helps them build great habits that last a lifetime! You got this Mama and Papa!
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Did you know that you can practice survival swimming skills during bath time?
The four survival swimming skills we often recommend swimmers practice at home are blowing bubbles, floating on their tummies and backs, kicking their feet, and scooping their arms. Regardless of whether or not your little one has had formal swim lessons, you can still introduce these skills and practice with them at home.
Below you will find the four survival swimming skills, why it's an essential skill, and some tips for practicing them during bath time!
SKILL 1: Blowing Bubbles
Blowing bubbles helps young children develop breath control in the water. This begins to teach them how to hold their breath underwater and when to come back up to take a breath. Swim Instructors often introduce bubbles as "talking to the fishies," "blowing out birthday candles," or even "making the water dance."
Steps to blowing bubbles in the bath:
Skill 2: Floating
Floating helps swimmers understand the effects of buoyancy in the water and they learn to keep their head above the water. The begins to teach them about their body positioning in the water. Swim Instructors will teach children how to float on their front just like a superhero and then float on their backs just like taking a nap!
Steps to practice floating in the bath:
Skill 3: Kicking
Kicking, or leg movements, helps swimmers move from one place to another in the water and keep their head above water. Swim Instructors start by teaching swimmers the flutter kick, the kick used in the front crawl, while swimmers sit on the edge of the pool. This helps them get used to the motion of kicking before kicking across the pool.
Steps to practice kicking in the bath:
While practicing kicking, it's important to remind your swimmer to point thier toes and keep their kicks right at the top (or surface) of the water and make tiny splash.
Disclaimer: With all that splashing, you might be a little soggy after practicing this skill! A good tip is partially closing the shower curtain, but make sure you always see and get to your little one, should they need help!
Skill 4: Scooping
Scooping, or arm movements, help swimmers move in a specific direction. Swim instructors start off by having swimmers learn to alternate their arms in forwarding circles. Most often swimmers keep their elbows bent close to them when they are first starting off. It's helpful to work with your swimmer on extending their arm like they are reaching for something.
Steps to practice scooping in the bath:
It can sometimes be hard to find the time to get to the pool and practice swimming skills with your little one. If you have a bathtub at home and are looking for something to do, consider practicing these survival swimming skills at home with your little one. Blowing bubbles, floating, kicking, and scooping are all survival swimming skills that all of our babies must know!
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Download our FREE 4 survival swimming skills poster and leave it by the bath!
The bath is a great place to safely support your little one's curiosity about water, start building safe water habits at a young age, and even learn some fundamental swimming skills.
At first, some little ones might be fussy during bath time and others may love it immediately! It's always important to acknowledge their feelings, reassure them that they are ok, and encourage them to try new things.
As they become more comfortable during bath time, we, as parents and guardians, can support their curiosity by teaching them about the water through songs and play. Check out three of our favorite activities you can do in the bath to ensure your little one has a positive water experience while learning foundational swimming skills.
Make it rain
This is an excellent activity to help your little one get adjusted to the water.
You can use your hands, a sponge, a toy watering can, or little toy bath cups to sprinkle water on your little one's body. It's important to start at their toes and gradually move up their body so they can begin to observe what they are experiencing.
Two tips for doing this activity with your little one:
TIP 1. You may want to narrate when is happening while you are sprinkling water on their body. For example, Mommy is sprinkling water on your toe-toes. Daddy is putting some water on your tummy. This will help develop language and allow them to associate this feeling with what is happening.
TIP 2. Sing A Song! For some little ones, adding music is soothing. Some songs we sing while doing this activity in swim lessons are: "Rain, Rain Go Away" or "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary." Of course, feel free to sing your little one's favorite song too!
Talk to the fishies
Talking to the fishies helps your little one start to develop one of the most fundamental swimming skills, breath control.
When encouraging your little one to talk to the fishies, you want to make sure you have one or both hands under their chest to at first keep their face above water. Begin to lower their head slowly into the water starting with their chin and then lips. If they are comfortable with that, then move to submerge their nose, eyes, and forehead.
While you are beginning to submerge their head, encourage them to blow or exhale to make the water move. Tell them that when you do this under the water, you can talk to the fishies! Once your little one's lips are under the water, they may notice that instead of the water just moving, they are actually blowing bubbles. Be sure to point this out to your little one. Eventually, we want your little one to associate talking to the fishies with blowing bubbles underwater.
Two tips for talking to the fishies:
TIP 1. Go at your little one's pace. If they are uncomfortable at first with being on their tummy, reassure them and try to sing a song to camp them down. If they are still uncomfortable, it's okay to stop and try again next time. Consider pushing your little one a little further each time they are in the bath.
TIP 2. Some little one's better associate exhaling with blowing at birthday cake candles. If your little one likes to open their mouth instead of exhaling, practice with a candle outside of the bath, especially if their first birthday is coming up!
If you're happy and you know it...
If you're happy and you know it... is one of our FAVORITE activities to do without little ones because it teaches and reinforces four fundamental swimming and water safety skills: moving to safety, breath control, arm movement, and leg movement.
While singing the song "If You're Happy And You Know It", you will replace the actions in the song with these fundamental swimming and water safety skills: bobbing or jumping up and down, blowing bubbles, scooping, or moving their arms in forwarding circles, kicking or moving their legs up and down.
If you're happy and you know it bob up and down.
If you're happy and you know it bob up and down.
If you're happy and you know it and you really want to show it,
If you're happy and you know it bob up and down.
Repeat with other skills: blow some bubbles, scoop your arms, kick your feet
Two Tips for singing the swimming version of "If You're Happy And You Know It"
TIP 1. If you have a tiny little one, at first all your motions will be hand-over-hand motions. You will be moving their body for them until they have associated the words of the songs to their actions and are able to perform the actions on their own.
TIP 2. If you are first introducing this to your little one, consider practicing only one skill at a time. Once you've noticed they are beginning to pick one that first skill, like talking to the fishies or bouncing up and down, then introduce the next skill. Over the course of a few weeks, you can sing the entire song with all four different actions.
Encouraging your little one to try new things during bath time by singing songs and learning through play fosters a love for learning and the water. This transfers to their learning experiences for the rest of their lives, especially in swimming lessons. By doing these activities in the bath you are building the foundation for a water-smart and water safety-aware child, all while creating an unbreakable bond between you and your little one. Stay tuned next week as we dive further into the four fundamental swimming skills!
Download our FREE Bath Time Activity Sheet to keep the directions of these activities nearby when it's bath time!
How to set up bath time safely?
Did you know that January is Bath Safety Awareness Month?
Bath time is one of your baby's first experiences with the water! It can also be a special bonding time for you and your little one. Before jumping in, it's important to learn about bath safety and ways to keep bath time a safe and enjoyable experience.
Bath safety awareness is vital information all parents must know because the repercussions of not educating yourself could be a fatal incident. Drowning is still the number one cause of accidental death in children ages 1-4. Two-thirds of all drowning deaths in infants and toddlers occur in bathtubs. Don't forget that drowning is often silent and can happen in just an inch or two of water! While all these facts are super scary to think about, the good news is that drowning is also 100% preventable!
Let keep bath time a safe and enjoyable experience for all by keeping these top three safety tips in mind while setting up a bath:
TIP 1: Bring everything to the bathroom before you fill the tub!
It's important to have everything you need in the bathroom before turning on the water. Once you start filling the tub with water you never want to leave your little one unattended! Our bathtubs are slippery and accidents happen.
Always stay attentive and keep your eyes on your little one. Staying with your little one will reinforce a positive water experience and it gives you the opportunity to respond promptly should an emergency arise.
Consider bringing the following items into the bathroom before you get started:
TIP 2: Monitor the bath temperature and water levels!
Have you ever been in the shower and someone flushes the toilet and all of a sudden the water either gets really cold or really hot? Not fun, right?
As your baby starts to learn about the water, we want to create the most comfortable environment possible. Monitoring the water temperature of your little one's bath can help prevent those freezing cold or scalding hot moments. It's recommended by the Mayo Clinic that bath temperature should be around 100 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Unsure of how to test the water temperature? Pick up one of those fun floating pool thermometers in the shape of a froggy or duckie that can float in the tub during bath time. Not into the froggy & ducks, you can also purchase a water thermometer online or in most sporting goods stores.
Another important thing to monitor when setting up a bath for your little one is the water level. The water level in the bath should be no more than waist-deep if your little one is old enough to sit in the tub. If you are still using an infant tub, you should only leave about 2 inches of water in the tub.
If you're worried about your little one catching a chill from the difference between the water and air temperatures, consider keeping the door to the bathroom closed during bath time and using the steam from the bath to warm the room. Remember that you've brought your towels in the bathroom, so they should be nearby if your little one is getting too cold.
TIP 3: Keep the toilet lid closed at all times!
While preparing a bath, your little one is most likely in the bathroom with you unless you have another responsible adult attending to your little one while you set things up. As the well-prepared Mama or Papa that you are, you've probably already baby-proofed your bathroom cabinets, especially if you have crawlers and toddlers roaming around, but there's one more bathroom feature to keep a close eye on... the toilet.
Another most commonplace for drownings or water emergencies to occur is the toilet. I know what you're thinking, eww that's gross. BUT, it's true! Consider your little one's perspective... "Ooo look water, I can splash and play."
If you don't have another adult to help with bath time, the best thing you can do to keep your little one out of the "potty water" would be to close the lid! This way the "potty water" is out of sight and your little one is most likely not going to be interested.
Getting your little one ready for bath time is WORK! There are so many things to remember. Consider coming up with a bath time routine that works best for you and your family. Turn these tips into new family habits to keep your little ones safe and bath time a super fun water experience! Remember making these small changes at home teaches your little one safe water habits from a young age.
Check back in throughout the month for some fun things you can do with your little one during bath time!
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Download our FREE water safety at home guide to learn more water safety tips at home. You'll learn safety tips & habits to teach your children when near water in the kitchen and in the yard!
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