One of the things I’ve been looking forward to doing more of with Arlo is going swimming. He’s had a fair few goes in a pool now, whether that’s at the gym, or on holiday. Like with Freddie and Sasha, I’m hoping that the more he becomes familiar with swimming, the more confident he be in the water when it comes to starting actual lessons.
We’re delighted to be continuing to work with Swim England, as so far over the past year I’ve found them to be a constant source of support and advice when it comes to getting families swimming. As you might have read in previous posts of mine, we have shared our family swimming journey over the past year as the big two have really progressed. Indeed, Freddie has gone from getting his 10M badge to earning his 100M one! Such a confidence boost.
We really hope Arlo follows in his siblings footsteps in the pool.
With this in mind, and with the help and guidance of Swim England, I’ve compiled a list of tips for taking your baby swimming, as well as a little video at the bottom of this post.
Do let me know your thoughts, and if you have any tips yourself when it comes to babies and learning to swim- I’d love to hear them!
Get your baby prepared
Before your baby even hits the pool there are things you can do to get them used to water. Obviously the majority of babies will have regular baths, and these will help lots in themselves, but gently trickling water over their head, or having some closely supervised fun with a water tray or paddling pool can really help too.
Research your local pool
Going swimming in a public place can be daunting for some people at the best of times, let alone when you’re responsible for a baby too. Check out what your local pools have to offer first, before you take the plunge (excuse the pun). Do they have a baby pool? Suitable changing facilities? (I don’t know about you, but I like a roomy cubicle and baby change table when going with Arlo, even better if there’s a play pen!). What temperature are the pools? Can you buy swim nappies there or should you purchase beforehand? The recommended temperature is 32 degrees for 3 months and under, and 30 degrees for over that age until 12 months.
Keep baby facing you when entering the pool
This is to reassure him or her that all is okay, and you can talk to them and give positive eye contact. It might be quite scary otherwise for a baby facing forwards, wondering where on earth they are! If you need help with steps, ask a pool attendant to help you.
Gently wet your baby’s head
In the same way that you would do this to prepare your baby for swimming, start off by trickling some water over baby’s head once you’re in the pool. You can talk or sing to them whilst doing this, and hopefully they’ll associate the sensation with something fun and positive!
Have fun with your baby
Whilst learning to swim is important for water safety, you still want to have lots of fun in the water, even with little ones! I sometimes bring a few of Arlo’s bath toys with us when we go swimming, and he also loves pushing a ball around the pool now. Humpty Dumpty is a great nursery ryhme to sing with a baby or toddler as you can lift them in the water from the side when Humpty Dumpty has a ‘great fall’!
Consider a baby swim class
Most pools or leisure centres offer adult and baby swim classes. These are usually about half an hour in length, and are great for offering a bit of structure to your swim time. Give your local pool a call to find out the timetable.
Don’t stay in the pool too long
Make you sure you don’t stay in the pool too long with baby. 10 minutes is plenty for a baby 3 months of younger, and between 20 and 30 minutes for older babies. Sounds obvious, but make sure you have a towel for them at the ready, so you can wrap them up nice and warm. You’ll probably find baby is pretty tired after their busy swim session!
Do you go swimming with your baby? Do they enjoy it? I’d love to know!
*Post in collaboration with Swim England.