How to Prepare Your Baby for Survival Swim Lessons
Parents often struggle with knowing when to start baby swim classes, not just the”Mommy & Me” kind but actual instruction designed to teach infants and toddlers how to swim and be safe in and around the water. How early is too early? We do not off “Mommy & Me” classes, but a special program focused on Survival Swim. Every child is different, but our quick answer: 6-months-old is a good time to consider beginning an Infant Aquatic Program. We have already detailed the full spectrum of benefits that swim school infants and toddlers can enjoy, including accelerated cognitive, physical, and social development, as well as reduced danger from drowning. From a capability standpoint, this is the age that most babies demonstrate the improved control of their head and overall muscular development to make early swim instruction successful.
Preparing for Survival Swim
Always check with your pediatrician first. You want to be certain your baby is ready for the water from a health standpoint: belly button or circumcision fully healed, immune system developing normally, etc. The quickest way to get your baby learning to swim is to teach comfort in the water; conveniently, the best place to begin is in the bathtub. Go ahead and climb in with your child, trust us it will be fun! Being close and sharing the experience helps your child feel safe and involved. Use a cup to gently pour water over your baby’s head and face. There will be some spluttering and coughing at first – this is natural, don’t be afraid that your baby is drowning. Practice makes perfect, and soon your child will respond enthusiastically to the water. If you have a pool at home and are bringing your baby in, a few things to keep an eye on:
- Temperature. Babies like it warm because they have a harder time warming up. If your pool is cooler than 90 °F, look for teeth chattering or purplish lips, fingers or toes as indicators to get out and take a break.
- Follow your baby’s lead. Some take to the water like fish, others are more reluctant. Adjust your pace to keep your child comfortable.
- Try not to use floaties.
Your child may be ready for Infant Aquatic classes before you are. If he or she is, feel free to learn more about our Survival Swim program or stop by to see a class in action.