In the bath
- Whilst washing baby’s hair, drip some clean water onto their face.
- Use a toy watering can to dribble water directly onto baby’s head or take a shower together and let the water run freely over baby’s face.
- Older ones could try watering themselves with a toy watering can.
- Practise holding baby whilst they are wet they can be very slippery.
- Breastfeeding in the bath is a lovely way to bond and a reassuring way to get baby used to a larger bathing arena.
- Use the adult bath rather than a baby bath to prepare baby for a larger unrestricted environment.
- Smaller babies could spend a few minutes every day on their tummies to help build up their core and help with their strengthening exercises.
In a pool
- Have fun in the water, smile and reassure baby all the time.
- Try chasing a toy or ball around the pool, if old enough encourage baby to reach for the toy.
- Practise holding on to the side, use your hands to cover theirs, put your knee under their bottom to stop them hanging
- Blow bubbles in the water, children love to mimic you and it’s a great breathing exercise.
- Try new swimming kit on out of the pool so baby isn’t overwhelmed by their new outfit and you know how to put it on!
- Check you have the right size nappies (under and over) before the lesson. We recommend TotsBots and sell them in our online shop (one TotsBots under-nappy costs the same as a pack of disposables and lasts longer!)
- Know where you are going, how long it’ll take and where to park if you are driving.
- Allow plenty of time so that you don’t arrive to your taster stressed.
- Pack up your kit the day before so there are no last minute panics, remember a towel for both you and your baby and a changing mat (roll-up mats are the perfect solution)
- Research our beginner Duckling courses and costs online before the session, it’s a shame to try something and love it to then realise there is no day or time in the schedule to suit you.
- Try submerging your baby without advice and preparation.
- Overwhelm your child by trying everything at once.
- Look worried or anxious – baby can sense your mood!
- Leave your Taster Session if baby is unsettled, we bring plenty of toys so take yourself off to the side to watch and let baby play.
We hope you find these tips helpful for preparing for your baby’s first swimming lesson, thanks for reading.
One of the most important policies Aquatots Swimming has is ‘double bagging’ your child! This simply means that every infant that swims with us that is not 100% toilet trained is expected to wear a swim nappy (either washable or disposable) underneath a neoprene over-nappy.
At Aquatots Swimming we aim to have our children comfortably and confidently swimming by the time they reach school age, teaching babies from as young as 8 weeks old means we need each child to have a parent or guardian in the water with them. How many children are missing out because their parent(s) have had a bad experience with water at some point in their lives?
At Aquatots we recognise and nurture babies’ natural ability to swim by using specialised techniques that our Managing Director Fiona has adapted and fine-tuned during the past 19 years of running Aquatots. We have a solid core belief backed up by scientific evidence that proves the attributes of starting your baby swimming at a young age[i]. This is why we feel it is so important, in the light of a new method of baby swimming technique ‘drown-proofing’, that we add our experienced voice to the UK’s leading swimming authorities and “debunk” the so called “benefits” of these water survival programmes!
Aquatots playing on a float
You may have seen images of babies suspended by their necks in water by semi-solid or inflatable rings, the photographs generally display babies looking serene and relaxed, enjoying a so-called ‘Pampering Experience’. For as little as £2.49 you can purchase your baby an inflatable neck ring online and recreate a baby spa in your own bathroom! These products are sold as “Safety Aids” and “Unique Swim Gifts”, it is claimed that they “Exercise your baby’s strength and ability to grasp” and that they “Encourage early mobility, exploration & a love for water play” but in our opinion (and many other professionals) we believe this device is completely overlooking the real benefits of introducing young babies to water.
Swim School lesson with Aquatots Swimming Ltd
All Aquatots teachers come to us with an existing ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) or STA (Swimming Teacher Association) level 2 qualification. This means they have all undergone the relevant training in a nationally recognised framework to ensure that before they even begin their hundred hours of Aquatots training they are able to deliver lessons to a high and consistent level. (This qualification has been designed by both the ASA and the STA to train would be swimming Teachers to teach children from the ages of 3 upwards.) This is true of all professional swimming teachers so what happens when your Swim School or teacher are not able to meet your expectations?
At Aquatots we pride ourselves in not only teaching babies and children how to swim but also giving them the skills to save their own lives (and during our higher levels the skills to save others!). Having these skills does reduce the risk of serious water related incidents BUT accidents happen especially to young children and we ask that you NEVER become complacent about the dangers, teach your children to respect water and always supervise them when they are around water.
‘Freebies’….a word that can make people very suspicious – can you really get Something for Nothing? At Aquatots we have a core belief – ‘If YOU are happy then we are happy’! This is why FOUR times a year we offer completely FREE, no strings attached Baby Swimming Taster Sessions. They are not a gimmick or a stunt to trap you, there is not a sales person hiding in the changing rooms to encourage you to sign up to a full course or a hidden cost of the Taster Session if you decide not to start your baby swimming with Aquatots. They are simply our way of giving you and your baby the opportunity to experience what we can do and more importantly allowing you to decide if you like it.
Your baby starts their journey with Aquatots somewhere between 8 weeks and 18 months old and they begin at our Duckling level. We want you and your child to really enjoy your weekly lesson. We strive to make each session varied, interesting yet informative and most importantly productive! During the first term with us we are going to be teaching you and your baby 28 exercises – this is why our courses are not a “drop in”. We need the structure of the course especially in this important Duckling level, to teach your child the abilities they will need to continue on to learn the skills to save their own life and then later in swimming widths and then lengths of the pool. By the end of the Duckling course your baby will have done at least 5 submersions in one lesson. They will be using their instincts and Mammalian Dive Reflex under the water to build confidence levels and learning new skills above water that will help them with exercises in later levels as well as out of the water i.e ‘holding on’. The Duckling level is such an important starter point and we do encourage the same person to take baby swimming throughout this course as it is as much about the parent/guardian learning as the child!
Not every baby has it but if your child has gone through a swimming ‘Wobble’ stage then it will be etched in your memory, it is a period of time that required the three P’s – Patience, Perseverance and Practise!