They say it’s the little things in life that bring you the most happiness and there’s nothing like a little family bonding. Swimming has to be one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways for every generation of a family to get together, bond and have some fun.
Simone Benhayon, Zoggs ‘Learn to Swim’ Ambassador and ASA & STA Swim Teacher of the Year believes, “going swimming with your child does not mean you all have to do lengths of the pool together. Being in water is the perfect bonding activity as first and foremost, as the whole activity is not about skill but about having fun, playing and enjoying the water together. From babies to the elderly, no matter what your age is everyone has the ability to have fun and enjoy the water together."
We asked swimwear specialists at Zoggs what kind of swimming activities are good for family bonding and they suggested the following:
Swimming with Babies:
After spending months encased in amniotic fluid, babies feel right at home in the water. You can start taking them to a heated pool almost straight away, however new mums, especially those who’ve had C-section deliveries, are advised to wait 4-6 weeks after labour to limit any risk of infection.
Swimming sessions with babies are often short, but they give little ones a soothing yet fascinating sensory experience and as you hold your baby close to give them support, you can both benefit from that lovely eye and skin-to-skin and eye contact that’s so important for bonding.
Tip: Mums and dads often take the lead in baby swimming classes but they’re a great way for aunts, uncles and grandparents to bond with babies too, so get them involved.
Swimming with Small Children:
Learning to swim at a young age gives children the essential life skills and confidence they need to play around water safely.
You could teach your child to swim alongside of their swimming lessons to help them practice what they’ve learned, or just cheer them on from the side of the pool, but to really bond, you need to get into the water and have fun!
Most kids love dunking their parents, swimming through legs and being swished through the water but you can get more playtime out of the pool by taking a few water toys.
Zoggs produce a great range of pool toys for kids made up of bright and colourful water squirters, buoyancy noodles and splash balls as well as a selection of floats and armbands that are all designed to help little ones feel at ease and happy in the pool.
You can use these toys to help kids develop basic swimming techniques, manage their breathing and even improve their hand-eye coordination by playing catch.
Tip: If you have a family member who isn’t joining you in the water, make sure you include them in the fun by asking them to take photos, referee or keep a tally of any game scores.
Swimming with Teenagers:
The kinds of water activities that appeal to children as they get older tend to be less about fun and more about overcoming challenges or getting competitive; there is no sweeter victory than beating dad in a lane race!
Pool toys suitable for older children and adults include dive sticks, inflatables and balls that can be used for dive and retrieve games or catch, but team sports like relay races are ideal for bonding.
However, one of the best bonding activities that any family can do is something completely new. If you have older children, introduce them, and yourselves, to open water swims or scuba diving.
From simple eye mask, snorkel and flipper sets to full-blown wetsuits for real adventures, there’s all sorts of swimwear, accessories and equipment available that make it easy to swim out of your family comfort zone and into new water experiences.
Tip: You don’t need to take the whole family overseas to enjoy open water swims or get an introduction to scuba diving. The British Sub-Aqua Club (BASC) provide advice and information about diving and snorkelling at specialist centres across the UK.
You can get further advice on all things swimming or order any water toys, swimwear and accessories you need to have fun with the whole family at the pool, online from Zoggs.