Parenting

Baby Swimming Roadmap

Learn to swim

Child learns to swim

Learning to swim

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You want your kids to learn to swim but don’t know where to start? As with many aspects of parenting it can all look a bit daunting at first. Here are some tips to get you and the kids splashing around in no time!

Where to learn to swim

Having fun in the pool is part of the New Zealand lifestyle, and a hot summer’s day wouldn’t be the same without a cool-down in the pool after school. Learning to swim early on in life is a good idea and can really make a difference to children’s safety around water. There are 2 main places where your kids can learn to swim:

  • Public pools – a good place to start, especially for very young children (less than 6 months old)
  • Swim schools – they specialise in teaching swimming, most have registered professional swim instructors’ employed so they are also worth checking out

Public pools & aquatic centres

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a major city or a country town as chances are a public swimming pool is not far away. Going to the local pool is a great value outing, with lots to keep the whole family entertained while getting fit at the same time. Larger pool complexes are often called aquatic centres and have additional facilities like a sauna, spa, gym, and even exercise classes. Often you will find a creche as well, just in case you need a bit of “me” time.

Swim schools

If you don’t want to be distracted by saunas and waterslides then a specialist swim school might be just what you are looking for. They have registered professional instructors and coaches and focus solely on teaching swimming, so your kids learn to swim in a safer, quieter environment. If you are considering a swim school for your baby then make sure you read about how to pick a good one and the different registration associations there are.

Swimming lessons

Being informed about swimming lessons early on in your child’s development will help you recognise when your child is ready to learn to swim. Huggies has developed a guide on how to swim with babies and infants. Take a look at it before you and your little one make the big splash. Getting off to the right start is important because infant and baby swimming can be scary, and fear of the water will make formal swimming lessons a much bigger challenge down the track.

Baby swimwear

With almost as many options as for adults, dressing your kids for the pool or beach can be quite a task. Getting the important things right is key, especially if your kids are going to be learning to swim outside in the sun. A good rash vest to keep covered up should be a priority, but one piece suits can be difficult if your baby is still in nappies. Nappies and pools are a necessary but often difficult combination – take a look at Huggies Little Swimmers Swimpants and understand how they are different from regular nappies and how they help prevent embarrassing little ‘accidents’ from turning up during the water in swim lessons. Sun, nappies, colours and the infinite varieties of styles mean baby swimwear is a big topic.

Pool games for kids

Kids learn best when they’re having fun and having fun in the water is no exception. Pool games are an enjoyable way for kids to learn to swim and gain the essential water safety skills they need. Often a good instructor will incorporate swimming lesson games to help the teaching process along and keep kids interested. These are usually designed to build water skills – for example, holding your breath while ‘diving for treasure’ or using a kickboard to strengthen little legs. Kids’ water games like tag, Marco Polo, swimming races or hand stand competitions can help children with established skills in the pool get faster and more co-ordinated while having fun at the same time.

A day at the beach is also a great place to introduce kids to beach games; here the whole family can get involved with a game of catch by the edge of the water so younger kids can see that waves are not so scary after all!

For more information see Parents and children or Parenting .