Swimming with your baby is a magical experience; it provides a unique sensory experience for your little one whilst developing water confidence skills that will last a lifetime.
At Fins and Floats swim school, we offer structure baby and toddler swimming lessons in warm pools, we limit our classes to 8 adults to ensure each baby and toddler to be given the time to develop and makes the group the perfect social circle.
Our teachers are highly trained and there to guide you through a range of activities that improve your babies development socially, physically and mentally.
Baby swimming has numerous benefits including
Developing language skills
Improving sleeping and eating patterns
Developing strength and muscular symmetry
And promoting bonding through skin to skin contact
We teach a program of water safety and swimming skills. We follow the STA learn to swim program.
We have answered some of the most common questions below but if there is anything we have missed please contact us
Do babies need their immunisations before swimming?
Babies do not need to immunised before they start swimming but they should weigh at least 12lbs.We are happy to accept babies into classes before they are immunised, but we insist that this is your decision. Any concerns should be discussed with your GP or health visitor.
What about feeding?
Babies who are on milk can be fed up to 30 mins before the lesson. For babies and toddlers who are on solid food we recommend feeding at least an hour before lessons. Your baby and you may be hungry after swimming so we suggest you bring a snack
What about illness?
If your baby has suffered from a tummy bug, it is important to wait two days after the first solid movement before going swimming. Babies with ear infections should not swim. Don't go swimming with your baby if they have an infectious disease. This includes diarrhoea or a heavy cold.
How many parents can attend?
We ask that one parent (or grandparent/carer) is in the pool with the baby. The other parent can watch from the side of the pool, you are welcome to swap which parent is in the pool and once a term we try to have a partner lesson so you can invite someone to join you in the pool
Do I have to take my child underwater?
Going underwater plays a big part in developing your little one’s confidence. And for parents, this is often the most exciting bit. Going underwater helps develop breath control and reinforce a babies natural reflexes. But you do not have to do it, we only ask you to do things you are comfortable and confident doing.
Does the adult in the pool have to be a good swimmier?
No. The water is always shallow enough to stand up in, and you never have to go underwater unless you want to.
What time should we arrive?
Lessons start promptly at the time advertised, and each class lasts 30 minutes. In order to avoid changing room congestion, please try to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before the start, and be at the poolside a few minutes before the lesson starts ready to go.
What about changing facilities?
Some of the pools do have tiny changing rooms, so please come with as little equipment as possible, as we mostly hire local pools, this is beyond our control. Please always bring a changing mat, as changing your baby on the floor is by far the safest method. We recommend bringing a car seat to keep your baby safe while you change.
It’s also important that you and your baby shower after swimming – most venues have shower facilities, but again these can be limited so you might want to do this at home instead.
What about nappies in the water?
All Babies and Toddlers must wear a disposable or reusable paper swim nappy underneath and our approved neoprene nappy over the top (both are sold at your lessons in case you forget). We understand that accidents happed but if there is a leakage the pool will have to be closed and we may be fined so we insist on the double nappy system
Please always take your used nappies away with you, unless a clearly marked nappy bin has been provided, and never leave any in an open bin.
Do we need goggles?
We do not encourage googles for babies or toddlers as it is important for them to learn how to deal with getting water in their eyes. Parents are welcome to wear googles so they can see their little swimmer under the water. If you choose to wear googles please use ones that have clear lenses and frames, as they maximise your baby’s ability to see your face, which helps to reassure them. Non-tinted lenses mean that all the babies in your class can see your eyes, so they’re less likely to get upset by them.
Are the pools cold?
We only use warm pools. However very young babies and toddlers or those with low body fat may get cold quickly. Remember babies do not shiver when they are cold but will be very quiet. If your little one gets cold in the pool we recommend a body wrap.
What if my child doesn’t like swimming?
Most children and babies enjoy the water but it can be over stimulating going to the pool for the first time, give your child time to calm down and let them get used to the water. It may be helpful to bring along their favourite bath toy.
Sometimes a baby or toddler may suddenly stop enjoying the water, this is a common developmental phase that kicks in between around 8-24 months. Don’t worry: they will come out of it, and everything they learned and loved before will come back.
What to do if your child hits a plateau
Sometimes it may seem that your child is not progressing or learning anything new in lessons, this may be because they have hit a plateau. This normally occurs between 11 and 15 months, children at this age learn very quickly and after a period of learning, your child's brain needs time to make sense of all the new information and reinforce the skills learned. This period of time is completely natural and a vital part of learning any new skill. The good news is that once your child's brain is able to process the information and has decided how to use it, they'll be able to easily perform the new skills.
If you feel like your child has hit a plateau be patient and talk to your teacher,
Gently encourage and allow your child to work at their own pace
Keep them close to you, and try doing the activity with them to help reinforce the skill
Encourage your child to lead the activity
Even if they're not taking part, encourage them to watch others - they'll still pick up what's going on
Encourage them to take part in other ways; for example, by helping to hold the mat for 'wibble wobble'
If they resist an underwater swim, hold off on the submersions until they're ready to try again
Take them along to other swim sessions (for example, at your local public pool) and just let them play independently
Most importantly, carry on swimming! Stopping your child's lessons would mean they wouldn't have the chance to reinforce the skills they've already learned. And if they're away from the water for too long, there's every chance those skills will be forgotten and may need to be re-learned.