When I was young, I was involved in swimming lessons every year. Because of this, I learned to love the water and was able to swim on my own. My family was a “water family” for a while; going to lakes and pools during the summer months. I want my children to love swimming and being in the water like I do, so I have started introducing it to Lucas at a young age.
Lucas and I started taking a water babies class at our local pool when he was 6 months old. It’s a great thing for us to do together as it gets us out of the house. It involves something new and exciting, and it helps Lucas to learn and focus on new things. It’s quite the day for us. I have listed out some of the activities in numerical order for you. It’s fun that way.
I pack in our swimsuit bag:
- 2 towels
- Lucas’ swim diaper
- A toy for Lucas
- Lucas’ shampoo/soap
- A new diaper and change of clothes for him
- Clothes for me if needed
The dressing room is the biggest challenge.
17. Look at how cute your swimsuit is. See these turtles. See? Isn’t that cool? Let’s put it on.
18. If you want to go swimming you have to put your suit on. Please sit still now.
At our first class, and the first day that Lucas had ever been swimming, he went under water. I was pretty nervous, but he actually did really well. It’s amazing how babies have a natural instinct to hold their breath when they go under. We call them “dips.” He is under water for less than two whole seconds. (As if you’re counting one-one thousand two one thousand)
It’s simply a dip.
This is how I was taught to do it and how I’ve been doing it with Lucas. First, I try to get his attention which is hard to do when there is a giant plastic whale floating above our heads and ten other kids splashing around us. I have to repeat myself several times, and then he will eventually focus on me. I look him in the eyes and say, “Are you ready to go underwater? Let’s do a dip? Okay? Ready? We’re going to dip.” Once I have his full attention and have eye contact with him, I exaggerate my words and motions and count, “Oneeeee Twooooo” (Big inhale breath) and as I dip him underwater I say “Threeee!”
- If they get water in their mouth, encourage them to cough by making a coughing sound yourself. Pretend like you are coughing and they will hopefully get the idea to do the same.
- If they get scared because they got water in their mouth, water in their eyes or tried a new activity, don’t act scared yourself. Even if you are scared, fake it. Remain positive and calm. They will generally base their reaction of things off of your reaction. Act like it’s “not a big deal.” Smile, reassure them that it’s okay and then move on.
- Practice blowing bubbles. Babies will watch you for a while and put their mouth/face in the water until they eventually try it themselves.
- Don’t practice jumps, blowing bubbles or going underwater when they are tired. We always swim for a few minutes and then go right to dips. He does a few dips, some jumps and floating on his back all at the beginning. As soon as I see that he is starting to get tired, I don’t force any activities on him.
23. Please sit still. Don’t you want to put these soft warm sweats on? Look at them!
24. I need to put your diaper on. We have to put your diaper on.
25. Okay good. You’re dressed now. Sit here for a minute while I get dressed.
He always falls asleep on the way home so he usually goes straight to nap time. Usually swimming makes for a great afternoon nap. Well, sometimes.
27. Lucas. YOU ARE TIRED. Go back to bed. 30 minutes does not count as a nap. Go back to bed honey.