Swimming is just as important for babies as learning how to walk. When they know how to swim properly, they’re better equipped to stay safe around different bodies of water as they grow up.
Since babies are conditioned to be underwater while they’re inside the womb, most children already enjoy the feeling of being in warm water and have a natural inclination for swimming.
For this reason, it’s worth teaching babies how to swim from an early age. Don’t know where to start? Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to teach your baby to swim.
How do you teach an infant to swim?
Most structured swim lesson programs will start when your baby is around 6 months old. Since babies have a harder time regulating their body temperature, we recommend finding a facility that specializes in kids swim lessons and has a heated pool.
Signing up for swimming lessons is a great way to get started, and will teach you some basics as the parent!
Here’s what you need to know about teaching babies to swim the safest way:
Start in the Bathtub
A bathtub is an excellent place to give your babies their first water experience. You can stimulate learning by playing with them during their daily bath routine and encouraging kicking their legs and splashing their hands. It also helps condition babies to enjoy being near water.
As your baby grows more comfortable in the water, you can use a cup to pour water over their arms, shoulders, legs, and eventually gently over the top of their head avoiding their eyes and mouth. Once they are comfortable with that, you can practice having them lay down in very shallow water so water just barely goes in their ears. This is a new sensation for babies, and often one that takes the most adjustment with learning to swim!
Use Floats and Pool Noodles
Once your baby is comfortable in the water, you can introduce noodles and floats to encourage a new type of learning! This also encourages balance while getting familiar with the buoyancy of the water.
Always be sure that any noodle or flotation device is being properly used, and never let your child float alone in the water. You can use your imagination and pretend the noodle is a horse they are riding, or you can pretend your little one is driving a racecar by putting the noodle securely under their armpits.
Move Around the Pool While Kicking and Splashing
Once your child is comfortable in the water without flailing as you hold them, they can learn how to stabilize themselves and propel themselves forward by kicking and splashing.
To teach them this, place your child on their stomach and allow them to cuddle your neck. Then, put your thumbs on their calf muscles and gently manipulate their legs, having them make rapid, little kicks on the water. As you’re doing this, lightly move them around the water.
Bring Toys to Keep Them Entertained
Children learn best when they’re having fun, and you can keep them entertained in a variety of ways. Sing songs, play games, and bring small toys as props to help infants feel safe and enjoy being in the water.
Here are some fun water games to make your swimming lessons fun:
- Follow the leader: Babies like mimicking their parents. Try dunking your nose or blowing bubbles in the water so they can follow your lead.
- First stroke: Encourage your kid to reach a rubber duckie floating a few inches in front of them. Don’t forget to hold them behind for support.
- Floating on their back: Let your baby rest their head on your shoulder while you support them under the armpits. Have them look up to the ceiling and talk about what you see. This is also a great opportunity to hold a toy a few inches in front of them to teach them to tilt their head back into your shoulder and in the water!
Water Safety Tips for Babies
Accidents can happen in a split second, it is critical to never take your eyes off your child when they are around water. Below are some safety precautions to ensure that the water is safe for your baby.
Keep Your Infant Within Arm’s Reach
Pay close attention to your kid in and around the water. You’ve heard that you never take your hand off your baby while they’re on the examining table at their well check, and the same applies for the pool. Always have your baby within arms reach and touching them while you are around water.
Know Where to Find the Emergency Flotation Device
Before you enter a pool or other body of water, look around to locate where the emergency flotation devices are. In case of a water emergency, you will want to quickly be able to find and access these devices.
Benefits of Infant Swimming Lessons
Teaching children how to swim in their formative years can make them feel more confident to try new things.
Here are the benefits of infant swimming lessons:
- Gain water confidence and independence at an early age
- Strengthen your baby’s joints and muscles
- Socialize and interact with adults and children
- Reduce the risk of drowning
- Improves their balance and coordination
It’s Never Too Early for Infant Swim Lessons
Make swimming safe and enjoyable for your kids. Enroll your babies in swimming lessons today.
Visit our website to learn more about our swim packages for infants and toddlers.