Young baby shown how to blow bubbles by Angela

Babies ready to start swimming lessons from 4 months old

Teaching Parent & Baby classes is so rewarding. These little ones may have much to learn but it always impresses our instructors how quickly young learners begin to feel comfortable in a pool. Their smiles and giggles are a reminder of how calming water can be if you’re shown how to do things the right way. During weekly lessons, the bond between child and parent helps our instructors deliver early years swim techniques, especially designed for the under 3s.

Even from as young as four months, water skills and confidence build really easily. When young ones only have eyes for mum or dad, we teach the parents everything they need to share the basics of strokes, breathing and strength building.

Angela with toddler having swim lesson

The teaching programme Angela has developed particularly for this age group is full of familiar nursery rhymes and popular songs. They become the children’s soundtrack to learning essential principles of backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl. The actions that go with the songs definitely are fun to do but they are so much more than that – they help the children start to develop the right actions and movements to swim even before they realise they’re doing it.

Why we don’t agree with submerging babies

When it comes to learning to swim, we’ve never found any benefit in dunking children. As Angela explains, “When you’ve seen as many toddlers scared of the water as I have because early lessons with other swim schools took them underwater you’ll understand why.”

The time to dip below the surface is once learners have mastered blowing bubbles as they breathe out. Only then do they have the tools to start to control their breathing which is so crucial to helping beginners stay calm and relaxed in the water. Keep children calm and you keep them swimming.

Happy baby in water wearing armbands

Baby Angela wearing armbands

Armbands, on babies?

Absolutely yes! All of our beginners learn in armbands. They really are an effective tool to help children feel confident, and they don’t hinder their arms in any way. Watch a learner without them and you’ll see how fear shortens their movements and restricts their breathing. A sensation that really knocks confidence.

So, if babies and toddlers always have their parent to hold them during our lessons what do the armbands do? It’s about gradually preparing little ones for when they are old enough for preschool lessons that they take without a parent or carer. Instead, one of our instructors is in the water with them, helping with movements and techniques. By this time, they are so used to wearing armbands, and ideally goggles as well, that there’s no distraction and all energy can go to learning to swim.

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