I have wanted to take Dominic to swimming lessons since he was born. 1 year later, I am finally enrolling him for baby swimming lessons. The lessons are designed to teach babies to become familiar with water and to learn how to float. The techniques are centered around getting your baby used to falling into the water face first and then flipping onto their backs. By graduation your baby is meant to be comfortable with floating in water on their backs.
With new swimming lessons comes new swim suits for both baby and mummy. I picked up this super cute tribal print one piece at Kmart for under $30.
At the swimming centre, upon enrollment, I picked up up the mandatory ToasTees reusable swim nappy along with a Speedo sun top. I want to buy him a one piece but I’ll have to look online since they were all sold out.
The first lesson was a nightmare. Poor Dominic cried the whole 30 minutes and I was ready to give up after the first lesson. I thought to myself… I have to really give this a chance. From that moment on wards I made a commitment to take Dominic swimming at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 4 weeks to help him get used to it. If he still hated swimming after 4 weeks (or was traumatised, with no improvement, each time I took him) then I would give up. Fortunately for me, each time I took Dominic swimming, he became more comfortable with the environment. After the 3rd visit he was practically running to the water and trying to get into the swimming position all on his own.
I’m glad I didn’t give up after the first lesson. To be honest, I think it was not only the pain of watching him cry and cling on to me in fear, but also the look on other parents faces, as though I was purposely traumatising my child and should just take him out of the swimming lesson. But pushing aside my own self-consciousness Dominic was able to enjoy learning a skill which could one day save his life.
My tips to parents thinking about swimming lessons for toddlers:
- Start them early (there are new born babies in every lesson)
- Take showers with your toddler (the water on their face and in their eyes helps)
- Make it a routine and be consistent (commit to the lesson and go every week for at least 4 weeks so your baby gets used to it)
- Don’t force them to do the routine (give them breaks of comfort when they need it and then try the routine again)
- Throw away your self-conscious mind (no one is judging you, they are all parents, and if they are who cares? everyone has different parenting styles)