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.
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?
We love getting feedback from our parents and swimmers but this is the first time we have ever had a blog testimonial written about us! If you are still in two minds about the benefits of Baby Swimming or choosing Aquatots as your preferred Swim School then read on to see some excerpts from Karen Whitlock’s blog “Stopping At Two”
“On parenting forums, there are frequent discussions on whether baby swimming lessons are worth the money. It is cheaper to go swimming at the leisure centre, where both of us can be in the water with the girls, but I haven’t regretted the money spent on the Aquatots courses for one minute”
“Aquatots courses are progressive. Everyone starts off at Duckling level and then move on through the courses at their own pace, once certain skills have been mastered”
“Fiona runs Aquatots. She is very experienced and it really shows. I have been amazed at how well Freyja has done with her”
“She (Freyja) happily dives in from the side, or throws herself in from a float (something that she has NEVER wanted to do)”
“There are free catch-up lessons if your child is ill so can’t do the lesson too! And what I have been most impressed with is that they have tried to be really accommodating with when lessons are, so the girls have theirs back-to-back”
“Aquatots do free taster sessions – so you can at least try before you buy a term of lessons”
Read the Blog in its entirety here – http://www.stoppingattwo.co.uk/post/96293594193/aquatots
Thanks to Karen for such including us in her blog, its a pleasure to teach Frejya and Emily 🙂
Aquatots Managing Director
Why should children be introduced to swimming when they are babies?
Every parent is protective of their child(ren) and only want what is best for them – quite often I get asked “Why should I start my baby swimming early?” Fortunately I find this one very easy to answer!
Swimming is hugely beneficial to health, development and fitness so getting in the water at any age is a bonus but to take full advantage of babies mammalian dive reflex (which stops water getting into a baby’s lungs) its best to get them in the water and enjoying swimming before they are six months old.
Childhood obesity is on the rise and encouraging swimming from a young age means that not only are they less likely to develop a fear of water they are also opening a door to an active lifestyle. Starting swimming early means your baby is getting a complete low impact work-out during each session, this means that no stress is being put on joints yet their heart and lungs are getting a good work out whilst their brains are getting a developmental helping hand too – don’t forget that it’s also beneficial to parents too who will be burning a few calories whilst in the pool!
Swimming from an early age encourages bonding between the baby and its parent as well as giving the opportunity to interact socially with the other children and instructor in a relaxed environment. It also increases cognitive abilities – teaching a baby to blow bubbles in the water, kick their legs and reach for the side encourages concentration and willpower as well as confidence, all of these are beneficial in other areas of their lives as they grow and are a great foundation for when they start school.
Putting aside all the health, well-being and social benefits of infant swimming let’s look at swimming for safety!* Drowning is the third biggest cause of death in children under 5 – teaching a child to be calm, get to the side and to hold on/get out is essential to young children and gives them survival skills should the unthinkable happen.
Last but definitely not least – swimming aids better sleeping patterns which I’m sure most parents of young children would welcome with open arms
Check out our video of some of our happy little swimmers here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXl5DqXJOqg
Thanks for reading
Managing Director and Senior Swim Instructor at Aquatots Swimming Ltd.
*Swimming lessons are not a substitute for adult supervision and children should always be fully supervised whilst in water.