If there is one thing that most babies seem to love, it’s water. Splish-splashing in a bath or pool can be great fun with a little one!
But did you know that babies as young as 4 months old can start learning how to swim? It’s true! The earlier you expose your child to swim lessons – and how to be safer in and around the water – the better. And you really can’t start too early.
As a parent, we know it’s important to teach your children the life skill of swimming. But we also know it can be challenging to find the time to make lessons happen. However, if you invest in weekly lessons, you are bound to see extraordinary results. And the best part? By incorporating a few things into your daily (or weekly) routine, you can get your baby ready for swim lessons!
Make Bath Time Fun
Right out of the gate, some babies either love or hate being in their tiny newborn bathtub. You can help instill a more enjoyable attitude toward the water -- by making bath time fun! (Babies can begin learning to swim as early as 4 months old.)
- Warm the room and water. No one is comfortable when they are freezing cold! Keep the bathroom door closed while you fill the tub with warm water. That way the air temperature is agreeable to bare skin. Test the bath water with your forearm or elbow so that it's not too cold or too hot.
- Smile and laugh! Babies take cues from their parents and can sense when you yourself are feeling a bit uneasy. So go in with gusto at bath time! Make bath time a fun event that your baby wants to enjoy time after time.
- Use toys. Maybe it's a squeaky rubber ducky, soft washcloth animals, or a beloved ball. Bring whatever water-appropriate toy your little one adores into the bathtub. Play around before, during and after washing up.
Splish and Splash
Perhaps one of the oddest things to get used to for little ones in the water is unexpected splashes -- and going underwater. Think about it: With so little world experience, water hitting the eyes, nose and mouth can be a bit intimidating. The solution? Get used to it! How? During bath time!
First, prep the area outside the tub with towels so you don't worry about water landing outside the tub. Then, teach your baby how to splash in the water. You splash, baby splashes. In time, your little one can begin to understand the cause and effect of his or her own hand splashing into the water, and the spray going back into his or her face. Until then, laugh while you're both splashing around to show how fun it can be.
If you have one of those extending shower head nozzle attachments, bring it down and let your baby explore it up close. When ready, laugh and let a bit of the spray go onto your baby's arms or belly. Let your baby watch as you spray your own arms -- and even your face -- while you are giggling and enjoying yourself. Experiment with letting your face (and baby's) go near and even under the shower nozzle.
Make After-Bath Time Fun
Instead of simply rushing out of the bath, take a minute to enjoy the moment. Wrap a large, warm towel around your baby and snuggle him or her in a giant bear hug. Gently pat them dry -- from those tiny toes to the wispy hair on his or her head. Sing a song while doing so, or have a gentle one-sided conversation.
Having a relaxing bonding moment after bath time can lead to an expected similar situation after any time getting out of the water. Not only will your baby look forward to the cuddling, but he or she will look forward to the water event that precedes it. (And if not, that's OK, too.).
Get Out of The House
Besides being immersed in a pool like at Goldfish Swim School, the outside environment during swim lessons is different. There are all sorts of new people milling about, curious objects to look at, bold colors everywhere -- and while we work to ensure a GOLDEN experience -- it's a lot different than being at home.
Help your little one get used to being around people other than family, and at a location other than a familiar home. Head out to the mall to walk around, or visit a local library or community playtime where other babies are interacting.
Go in a Pool
You've played with your baby in the bathtub, but have you tested deeper waters? In order to prepare your baby for swim lessons, try heading to a local pool (or stop in for Family Time open swim at Goldfish Swim School) and have your little one explore the open water at your own pace.
There's no instructor to mimic, no directions or tasks to follow, no others to interact with. Since you'll be swimming on your own, you can go at your own pace while baby gets acclimated to the water -- and he or she will discover that being in the water is something to celebrate.
You can also ask about Goldfish Swim School’s free Mini-Prep classes for babies between three months and six months old – these are a great first step to get your little ones comfortable with the water!
How Young Can I Take My Newborn Swimming?
Every baby is unique, so it is best to consult with your physician to determine what is best for your child. Some doctors will recommend waiting 6 weeks to 6 months before swimming with an infant to allow their immune system time to develop. Some parents would prefer to wait before bringing their newborn into chlorinated water. If you feel that you or your baby aren't quite ready to get in the pool just yet, you can always enjoy bath time together. But don't be shy if you are eager to start teaching your baby the basics of water safety. At Goldfish, we work with babies as young as 4 months old.
Goldfish Swim School
Our instructors at Goldfish Swim School use integrity, compassion and trust during each and every swim lesson. We also give parents peace of mind by teaching water safety elements during each and every lesson -- just part of our WOW! customer service. Stop in or call a location near you today and sign up to see for yourself.