Water safety is a hot topic around my house. We’ve always pushed our kids to learn how to swim early because we know that an accident can happen at any time. This hit home several years ago when my oldest son nearly drowned in a boating accident. Last year my heart ached for a friend whose little girl drowned in a backyard pool.
Accidents can happen at any time.
My older kids are fairly confident swimmers but I worry about my toddler. We watch her carefully but she moves fast and between pools and the ocean, we are surrounded by water here.
That’s why I’ve been looking into infant swimming lessons. Starting your baby in swimming lessons is a bit different than dealing with older kids. Here are a few of my best tips:
Babies are never too young to be introduced to the water. We’ve always taken my kids swimming from newborn on up, although when swimming with young babies be sure that you are in a clean pool and keep their heads above water. Even before you begin formal swimming lessons, early water exposure can help prevent your baby from developing fears about being in the pool later on.
Move at your Baby’s Pace
If your baby is hesitant around the water, move slowly. It’s better for your baby to work up to the idea of being in the water than to push the issue and have your baby associate the water with fearful memories. Start by letting your baby splash her feet in the water and keep visits to the pool short in the beginning. Build upon small successes and your baby will become more confident. At this stage, it’s more important to get your baby comfortable with the water than to get her in formal swimming lessons, if that’s what it takes.
Look for a Mommy and Me Class
Most individual swimming lessons don’t start until preschool age but it’s fairly easy to find a mommy and me swimming class. These classes are great for getting your baby used to the water and pave the way for more advanced skills as they get older.
Take a CPR Class
A CPR class may not be one you typically consider when looking for swimming lessons for your baby but I’m a firm believer that whenever you have kids around water, you should have at least one adult who is CPR certified. Classes are held frequently in most places and they are very affordable. It’s not a skill you’ll ever regret having.
Focus on Survival Skills
For young kids, the most important thing to focus on is water survival skills. There’s time to learn proper swimming strokes as they get older. For young infants and toddlers, the parent is the one learning most of the survival skills, such as taking a CPR class and creating habits that keep infants safe near water. There are instructors offering Infant Self Rescue courses that teach infants how to roll onto their back and breath if they fall in the water. These classes are expensive but they give infants a priceless skill if they are ever in the situation to need it.
Have you considered starting your baby in swimming lessons?