Baby’s firsts are always an important family matter, and your child’s first swimming lessons aren’t any different. You want your baby to be at ease with water as early as possible. This smart decision can ensure that your child grows up with the necessary life skills.
In this guide, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about swimming lessons. Check out this infographic to help you plan and prepare before enrolling your infant or toddler in a swimming school.
Benefits of Swimming & Swimming Lessons for your Child
Learning how to swim is not only vital for your child’s safety; it also promotes mental and physical health.
1. Why should I enroll my infant or toddler in a swimming class?
Drowning is a leading cause of death among children of very young ages, so early swimming lessons may help save your child’s life. By enrolling your child in swimming school, he/she can learn in-water movements and decrease the risk of drowning to about 88%.
2. What other benefits can swimming lessons offer to my infant or toddler?
There are numerous safety and health benefits of starting your child with swimming lessons early on. Aside from reducing the risk of drowning, here are the primary benefits of swim time for your infant or toddler:
Swimming helps in your child’s overall development
As babies use their bodies to swim, the nerve cells in their brains develop. Neurons transmit information from the brain to the muscles, allowing children to move through the water and boost the development of spatial awareness.
It can also be the go-to exercise that improves their health and strengthens their heart and other organs like the lungs. Ultimately, studies have shown that swimming lessons can help your child become smarter. Swimming has been associated with helping children advance their literacy and numeracy skills.
Swimming lessons can boost your child’s confidence
As you expose your little one to an environment where he/she gets to see, meet, and interact with other children.
Swimming helps improve your child’s sleeping and eating patterns.
Spending time at the pool uses up a lot of your child’s energy. For their bodies to replenish the lost energy, your child is more likely to fall asleep or have more appetite after a swimming lesson.
Getting Your Child Ready for Swimming Lessons
Because your child is still developing his/her immune system in the first few months, you want to be extra cautious until you’re sure that it’s safe for your infant or toddler to be in a pool.
3. When is the best time to let my infant or toddler take swimming lessons?
Depending on the country you’re in, the ideal period to introduce your child to swim time is around the 6th month. Swimming lessons in Singapore for younger kids, for example, accept children aged four months to 4 years. While in the womb, they were surrounded by amniotic fluid, so the in-water environment isn’t entirely new to them.
4. What can I do to prepare my infant or toddler before the lesson?
It helps to build readiness and enthusiasm so that your child will feel comfortable being around the water. You can start by performing preconditioning exercises during your child’s bath time. Here’s how to do it:
1. Take a cup of bath-temperature water and gently pour it on your child’s forehead, letting it run across his/her face. Make sure that he/she is ready for this step by saying his/her name and counting to three before pouring the water in smooth and even motions.
2. Alternatively, you can use a wet piece of soft clothing, such as flannel, to drip a small amount of water on your child’s face. Doing this helps prevent him/her from feeling overwhelmed as the water reaches the face.
How to Make Swim Time Fun for (You and) Your Child
Babies respond differently to swimming lessons—some may be playful and not want to leave the water, while some may throw tantrums and will not get into the pool. Whatever state of emotion your child is in, preparation can make things less stressful and more enjoyable for you and your child. Here are some ideas to consider:
5. What are the things I need to take to my infant or toddler’s swimming class?
Pack all of your child’s essentials in a nappy bag, including swim diapers, swimsuit, a changing mat, bottled milk or snacks, and everything else that he/she may need before, during, or after the lesson.
6. How do I keep him/her safe in the water?
Never leave your child in the pool without adult supervision
Swimming classes for infants and toddlers begin with floating, kicking, and paddling lessons before they can learn to swim. It is then essential that you or a caregiver are always within arm’s length of the child to reduce the likelihood of wandering around or getting submerged in water for too long.
Watch out for signs of distress.
If you notice your child shivering in the water, remove him/her out of the water immediately. Since the body loses heat faster in a pool, keeping him/her in it for too long may result in dangerously low body temperature. Have a dry, clean, and soft hooded towel handy to wrap around your child upon leaving the pool.
READ THIS RELATED ARTICLE: Swimming Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Infant or Toddlers Safe
Be aware of the limitations of floating devices.
It’s not quite right to think of floating devices as life-saving equipment since your child may end up being dependent on it. A safer way is to teach your child proper posture until he/she is ready for other advanced swimming techniques.
7. Can I bring my infant or toddler to swimming lessons even if I can’t swim myself?
Pools for infant or toddler swimming classes are shallow or waist-deep. You can easily walk in the water while bonding with your kid. However, it helps if you feel confident about yourself being in the water with your child.
Take note that the more confident you are, the more relaxed your child will be. Try to take basic swimming lessons on your own if you have never had one.
8. What is the optimal pool temperature?
Babies prefer warmer water, finding a temperature that’s lower than 70°F (21°C) to be too cold. The ideal swimming temperature, especially if your child is under six months, is within the range of 32°C to 33°C. Even if there’s a pool thermometer in use, make it a habit to test if the water temperature is just right for your child.
9. Are chlorinated swimming pools safe for babies?
Chlorine is necessary to make the water clean for you and your baby to have a great time. Lightly chlorinated pools are perfectly safe, but salt-chlorinated pools are even better. They mainly use salt to produce chlorine and rid the pool of bacteria that may irritate your child’s skin. So, as much as possible, bring your child to saltwater pools.
Marsden Swim School’s facilities feature indoor pools that are salt-chlorinated, heated, and covered for your child’s enjoyment and comfort.
10. Is it okay for my infant or toddler to eat before a swimming lesson?
Heavy meals before swimming are a no-no simply because you want to prevent your child from vomiting due to overfeeding.
You may have heard others say that swimming right after eating is dangerous as it hampers digestion and can lead to cramps. The American Red Cross says, “… eating before swimming is not a contributing risk for drowning and can be dismissed as a myth.”
Taking Your Child to a Swimming Class
Choose a swimming school that makes lessons as fun as possible for your child, whether it’s through water play, songs, or other kid-friendly activities. The program should also reflect the learning style of your child.
Marsden Swim School’s AUSTSWIM Water Safety and Familiarization Classes for four-month-old to four-year-old children are conducted by swim coaches who understand babies and toddlers.
11. What can I expect from a swim class for infants or toddlers?
Marsden Swim School’s classes are conducted by qualified swim coaches who are experts at handling children. Small group swimming classes may start with 10-minute sessions and gradually build up to 20 minutes or a maximum of 30 minutes.
Keep Your Child Swimming
Be ready to greet your child with a smile or encouraging words after the lesson, regardless if a small or significant achievement. Remember that it may take time for your child to learn how to swim, so you have to be patient.
Swimming is one of the most enjoyable and beneficial learning activities that your young child will ever experience, so start looking for swimming lessons for toddlers in Singapore today! Plus, it helps you form a special bond as you spend a lot of time with your little one doing exciting things and meeting people in swim class.