How to Prepare an Infant for a Swimming Class
Preparation will help make your infant's swim class a positive experience. Determine that he is ready for swimming lessons before registering for classes, and in the days and weeks before lessons begin, help your baby learn to enjoy the water and encourage him to feel comfortable in the swimming pool. Once classes start, make the most of it by arriving on time, being prepared and ensuring that both you and your child are ready to participate at the start of each lesson.
Determine that your infant is ready for swim lessons. Ask to visit a class with your child to see if she seems to enjoy the experience. Some babies adapt more willingly than others to new people, environments and experiences. Consult with your child's medical provider to discuss whether she's healthy enough and physically ready for the swimming pool.
Visit the pool where lessons are to be held, preferably during the time of day when your child's lesson will be held. Note the environmental conditions. Is it sunny? Is there a breeze? Does the water feel chilly at first? Does the pool have rules about swim diapers and what swimmers are allowed to wear into the water? This information will help you be prepared for class with the right swimwear and gear to keep your little one comfortable.
Create a positive aquatic experience for your infant by helping him feel comfortable in the water. Attend an open swim session or two with your infant during the days leading up to his first swim lesson. Splash around in the water to familiarize him with the new sights and sounds.
Acclimate your infant to the water during bath time. Help her float on her back for a few moments at a time while carefully supporting her head to keep her face from going under the water. Talk and sing to her while she floats so that she hears what your voice sounds like with her ears in the water. Gently pour water over her head and face while in the tub, or take her in the shower with you to help her get used to being splashed and having water in her face.
Arrive on time and prepared for each lesson. Refrain from feeding your infant during the 30 minutes before class to avoid spitting up during the lesson, suggests Jennifer C. White, Director of Operations and Swim School Specialist for Starfish Aquatics Institute. Have him dressed for the pool and changed into a fresh swim diaper just before class is scheduled to start, White recommends. Babies can tire quickly, she adds, so it's best not play in the water with your little one before class to ensure he'll be fresh for his lesson.
Bring along extra swim diapers and towels for both of you, as well as a change of clothes for after class. Secure your child in her stroller or infant seat while you change your own clothes before and after class.
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- Starfish Aquatics Institute: Our Management Team
- World Aquatic Babies & Children Network: Guidelines on Operation of Aquatic Programs for Children Under Three Years of Age
- Jennifer Calver White; Director of Operations and Swim School Specialist for the Starfish Aquatics Institute; Savannah, Georgia