A guide for your toddler’s first swimming class.
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
Do you remember your baby’s first word, first step, and first haircut? Your baby’s firsts are always a big deal for the family. If you’ve enrolled your child in a swimming class, their first swimming lessons won’t be any different. Letting your child learn to stroke and float in the water at an early age is a valuable skill that can save their or someone else’s life in the future.
However, the first time is always anxiety-inducing. Even when they have professional swimming teachers around, and you’re with them in the water, there’s the fear that they might slip unnoticed or suffer a catastrophic poo mishap.
Starting swimming lessons is a huge step for your little one and the parents joining them in the water. Even if you’re a pool regular, your needs are different from your child’s. Below is a guide to your kid’s swimming class, highlighting the important notes you need to do and prepare for another successful first.
Getting your child ready before the lesson
It’s worth checking out the swimming class’ dress code for lessons. For instance, they may require swimming caps to be worn by children with long hair.
You may also need to buy some things to take for the lessons, such as swim nappies, goggles, and appropriate attire for both your child and yourself. You can let your child pick their own swimwear to get them excited about the classes. It’s a good idea to involve your child to get what they need for the lesson so they’ll know what to expect.
Moreover, you can help familiarize your toddler to the water by making bath times fun. It’s essential to get them used in the water ahead of time, especially for submersions. You can have them bathe their favorite toy, pour water over their face and head with a verbal trigger, and leave them to splash water around.
These pre-conditioning exercises during bath time can help them anticipate what happens during their first lesson. Bear in mind that heavy meals before swimming lessons are not advised. You don’t want your child to vomit in the water during the session. A light meal is okay before attending the class.
What to do during the lesson itself?
- Fix them up with a swim nappy. Make sure to protect your child with a proper disposable or reusable swimming nappy just in case they need to poop. When kids need to do their business, they will go when they need to—even when they’re in the water.
- Stay by your toddler’s side throughout the swimming lesson. If your child is below two years old, you need to be in the pool to support them. However, if your child is a little older but still wants you to be with them in the pool, join them. This will help keep them at ease in the water. Remember to smile and motivate them during the lesson.
- Be positive. Since it’s their first time dipping in the water to learn how to stroke and float, it will be helpful for your child if you signal some positive signs to show your support for them and tell them they’re doing well. Smiling, clapping, and giving them a thumbs up will keep them going. Your positive attitude and energy will bounce off of them.
- Pay attention to them. Since your child will be staying in the water for a while, make sure to keep watch for any signs of distress. If you see them shivering, take them out of the pool and wrap a dry and clean towel around them to help keep them warm.
- Never leave them unattended. Under no circumstances should you ever leave your child in the pool without adult supervision. You must keep an eye on them so they won’t wander around the pool area or submerge in the water for too long.
After the lesson
- Wrap them up warm. Make sure to prepare a dry towel to wrap your child with as soon as they finish the lesson. You’d want to give them a tight hug and some good drying and cleaning after their tiring (but fun) class.
- Talk to them about the session. Check-in with your toddler after the swimming sessions. Ask them what they did, what they thought about the class, and what they liked or disliked. If they raise any challenges or problems, discuss options with the instructor or swim school. Perhaps one-on-one private swimming lessons would be better.
- Reward their hard work. Treating your child to their favorite fast food, buying them ice cream, or going to their favorite park after swim class can give them something to look forward to. You don’t always have to treat them each time, but it can definitely raise their spirits after a tiring swim lesson.
Summing it up
Swimming classes for toddlers are headed by qualified swimming coaches who are experts at teaching children. Enrolling them in quality swimming lessons and being with them in their sessions, especially the first one, is something you can bond over together. It’s also a helpful learning experience and a life-saving skill they will find useful for the rest of their lives.