Teaching Baby to Swim

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Summer is winding down, but the need for water safety never does, especially in San Diego with our year-round access to beach, bay and pools. If you attempted swim lessons with your little one this summer, and they ended like this…

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Don’t worry, it’s normal and often expected.

For some children the water can be a scary place and a brand new sensory experience – especially since they are probably not used to a learning environment at this age. It’s similar to how most children cry on the 1st day of preschool,” says Sarah Sebe, owner of Sunsational Swim School.

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In fact, two of the three Mom’s Guide babies cried during parts of their Sunsational Swim lesson. Baby Ollie wanted to play and baby Graham got so chilled in our heated pool that his teeth were chattering.

Infants and toddlers can get cold very easily since they cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults,” says Sarah. “90 degrees is the ideal temperature for baby swim lessons, but is not normally realistic so we recommend using a baby wet suit.” Sunsational Swim recommends the Konfidence Baby Warma to help keep kiddos warm and comfortable during their lesson.

The Konfidence Baby Warma wet suit is a great way to keep baby warm during lessons.

The Konfidence Baby Warma wet suit is a great way to keep baby warm during lessons.

Baby Lucas loved the water. He was happy and calm practicing skills, and was even a trooper with the underwater portion of the afternoon.

 

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“Most infants and toddlers will stop crying after the first few lessons, begin to become comfortable with the lessons and start to have fun!” says Sarah.DSCN4838

“It is important for parents to be persistent and think of learning to swim like wearing a seat belt or bike helmet – until they know how to swim it is simply not negotiable! Children are not able to understand the the risks associated with the water and parents should make swimming lessons an important priority, especially if they have a home swimming pool.”

What’s great about Sunsational Swim School is that their instructors come to your home or community pool, providing children a certain level of comfort that they may not have in a strange setting. You can choose private or group lessons, and Sunsational offers a money-back guarantee if not satisfied with the first class.

If you’re simply not ready to take the swim lessons plunge, consider these tips from our awesome instructor, Jess, to help your little one gain more confidence and comfort in the water…

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  • Practice back floats- you want your children to have the muscle memory to flip on their back if they ever fall in the pool so that they can keep their mouth out of the water and breathe. Practice “jumping” off the wall, going under and then immediately flipping over to a back float.

 

  • Water comfort skills can be practiced during bath time too! Floating, bubbles, kicking, etc… It is also less intimidating than a large pool so many kids will have an easier time becoming used to putting their face in the water in the bath first.

 

  • If a child doesn’t like getting submerged all the way, start gradually with just their mouth (kissing the water), then their nose, eyes, forehead, etc.

 

  • When a child is old enough for a swim aid, AVOID ARM FLOATIES! These do not keep a child’s face above water should they start to panic in the water. Always use US Coast Guard approved devices to ensure the child’s safety. Puddle Jumpers are great and allow for kids to practice all necessary swimming skills on their own. 

For more information about learning to swim, visit SunSationalSwimSchool.com. And be sure to check out their blog for great articles and tips!

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