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Babes in the Water



You can take a child of around 4-6 months swimming, providing the conditions are right. However it is unwise to take them swimming much before this as they become chilled very easily. Never take babies to the pool with open sores or upper respiratory infections.

Thinking about joining our class

The best age for children to start water activities is around 4-6 months after they have had their immunisations. This is not a condition of entry but it is recommended. Lessons are structured and last 30 minutes. We will teach you to teach your child water activities. As you will be supporting your child in the water, armbands are not required initially, however when your child can support themselves (around 8-9 months) we would like you to use them to help your child’s independence grow.


Pre swimming Pool

Bath time is a great opportunity to familiarise your baby with a water environment and to prepare them for future activities in the swimming pool. Remember that your baby has been immersed in fluid for 9 months before birth and will almost certainly be comfortable when put into water soon after birth, as long as they feel safe. Initially keep bath time short, reassure your baby by

smiling, talking to and maintaining eye contact. Bath time should be fun for both adult and baby and as washing still remains a priority it is an ideal opportunity for your baby to become comfortable when being immersed and encourages adult confidence when handling the baby in water. From an early age babies will instinctively move arms and legs when immersed in water and will soon be smiling and happy. They should be encouraged to feel the support of the water but there are many activities, which your baby can experience and learn from before moving to the swimming pool environment, usually around 4-6 months.


Initial activities

When putting a young baby in the bath always ensure that there is a non-slip bath mat and that baby’s head is well supported. The initial focus should be to ensure that your baby is happy in water, gradually becomes accustomed to feeling water on the face, begins to feel the support which water can give and becomes familiar with moving their legs. If baby cries, dry his eyes and carry on as if nothing has happened. (splash your own face and laugh)


Moving to the Swimming Pool

If your baby is well accustomed to being in the bath at home there should be few problems associated with transferring to the swimming pool. However, some babies will find the transition a little daunting and a few steps can make it a pleasurable activity for both adult and baby:


· Give your baby a very light snack 15-20 minutes before visiting the pool.

· Arrive in plenty of time so that you are not rushing and can stay relaxed.

· Take a familiar bath toy, this can help to put the child at ease.

· Take a swimming costume for yourself and sufficient towels for both yourself and baby.

· Do not use normal nappies as they fill with water and become uncomfortable and heavy. Use a specifically designed disposable swim nappy.

· Have a positive attitude.


Rest before the lesson

Your baby should be alert when coming to its classes - a tired baby needs warmth and a snug place to sleep - a pool is none of these. Water awareness classes tend to make baby tired and you will find baby ready for a short nap after the lesson.


Get to know each other

Make friend with the other parents and babies. This will help make the lesson more relaxing and your baby will learn more easily. If baby is enjoying the play with other babies they are less likely to get bored. Watching others enjoying the water will help your baby to join in and enjoy the water.


Points to always remember

· Submerge to your shoulder level. Babies held out of the water will soon become cold.

· Watch baby’s face - baby’s face is nearer to the water than yours. If you become distracted baby’s face may fall below the water. By watching their face at all times, you are also aware of baby’s reactions to the lesson and can respond quickly.

· Keep moving - your baby becomes aware that by moving their arms and legs they will stay afloat. Movement also generates heat, if you remain still in the water you and your baby will become cold.

· Freedom - children eager to learn must be given freedom. You will have to experiment to find the best way to hold your active  baby and which buoyancy aids might be useful.

· Be adventurous - do not be over cautious - use your imagination and play games.

· Allow the timid child time to adjust - do not hurry a baby who is cautious. Be patient, babies will learn in their own time.

· Understand why your baby is crying - babies communicate by crying and do so for many reasons, the least likely is being in the water. If you get out every time your baby cries they will begin to associate water with crying.

· Encourage breath control in the swimming pool / bath.


At JJ Swim School, Justine Mileusnić and Jodie Kantas are both experienced and qualified ASA swimming teachers. They continually attend professional developments and training courses to keep their knowledge up to date with the latest teaching techniques.

Our lessons are structured towards the ASA awards scheme. The ASA has a range of Duckling awards specifically designed for this age group, which can be a great incentive. It is important that both adult and baby feel comfortable with the set up of a class and have time to prepare for the lesson in advance.