A woman of my word, I stayed true to my New Year’s Resolution and recently signed up for a baby swim class with my 8-month-old daughter. I have known how to swim ever since I was about 2, so I’m hoping to instill a love of the water (or at least a lack of fear!) in my daughter early on. Plus, I thought it would be a great way to meet other babies and mamas. We’re only one class in, but so far, we’re loving it!
Babies as young as 6 months old can start the parent/child classes, but I was worried that Avery was too young even at 8 months. Turns out I had nothing to worry about as she took to the water like a guppy to a fish bowl. Or at least she didn’t cry. I think she was a bit perplexed at first by the giant “bathtub,” but she let me wade around with her without a single complaint for the whole 30-minute class.
The class is focused on making the water comfortable for the babies, so it’s all geared toward fun. There’s singing—”If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Wheels on the Bus” give plenty of opportunities for splashing and playing in the water—rescuing toys the instructor tossed around the pool and going through noodle tunnels. In addition to the fun, there is also a practical safety focus to the class. The kiddos (with the help of the parent, of course) do seated and standing jumps from the side of the pool, and the parent turns them around immediately and helps them “climb” out of the pool. This helps them learn that if they ever fall into a pool, they should turn around and go right back to the wall. Really cool.
For the third seated and standing jump, we got the green light to dunk our baby—much to my surprise! Under instructor’s orders, I blew in Avery’s face so she’d hold her breath and held my own breath as I dunked her after her jump. She was a bit startled and rubbed her eyes with a look of “What the HECK was that?” but had no problems with it either time. The babies also did a short underwater swim, where the instructor held the baby, puffed in her face and swam her a couple of feet under water in my direction. I think she was a little surprised at all the underwater action, but she wasn’t bothered in the least. There were a couple of kiddos who were less than fond of the experience, but I’m interested to see if they grow less fearful during our 10-week course.
After our 30 minutes of fun were over, I climbed out of the pool to discover that I was tired! I’d forgotten how water wears you out, and I guess my half hour of water walking was a bit of good cardio. So far, I give baby swim classes two wrinkly thumbs up! Have you mamas taken swim classes with your little ones? How old were they when they started? Did they love it or hate it? —Erin