Babies and toddlers love water from the beginning of time, but a public swimming pool is not their mother’s womb! When we first introduced Lucas to a big pool last summer, he was tentative and scared, but eventually he acclimated. This summer, we signed him up for swim lessons at UNC-Chapel Hill. During the first two lessons he would not stop clinging full-body to his dad, but by the third lesson he started enjoying the water and participating in the swim activities and games! In our class, no one used any floaties or vests, but a group of lifeguards/instructors were in the pool and on the deck during the whole class (one source says that there should be a ratio of 1 instructor to 10 children). Here are few things you should remember to bring for your child’s lesson:
- Swim diapers (Only put these on right before class. Swim diapers are not like regular diapers. If you put the swim diaper on too early and your tot does a number 1, the diaper DOES NOT keep it in. If your tot is potty-trained, try to have him/her go to the bathroom right before class starts.)
- Bag to put wet clothes in after class
Another suggestion is that it’s ok to feed your baby/toddler up to 30 minutes before class, but not a full feed/meal. You can bring a bottle/sippy of water and/or milk because your child will be very thirsty after the lesson!
Your toddler’s swim class covers the basics: holding breath, kicking, learning how to blow bubbles; but won’t likely include putting his/her head under water. It’s more about getting your tot comfortable in the water, learning the proper positions to hold your child while they kick or scoop water, and above all, having fun!