Splashing Around With Infant Swimming


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    By: Dawn Juntilla


    When my husband and I had our first child, we were eager to get her active and enrolled her in infant swimming at age 6 months.  In hindsight, it may have been unnecessary, but it was really fun!

    Fortunately, our daughter loved the water.  Several other parents in the class were not so lucky.  Many children came week after week and did nothing but scream and cry.

    Some infant programs attempt to teach babies to swim. That was not the focus of either of the programs we attended.  The primary goal of both was to get children comfortable in the water. This was achieved through songs, games and the use of water toys to encourage kicking and scooping.  For us, it was less of a learning experience and more of a bonding experience.  It was fun to be in the water engaging with our daughter in a unique, new way.

    We attended programs through both community education and at a private swimming lesson center.  I thought both were adequate for an infant, with one very important caveat.  Our community education program began in a warm wading pool and was moved mid-session to a standard lap pool (aka popsicle pool).  Big mistake! If you ask one question before you enroll in an infant swimming lesson class, ask if the pool is 85 degrees or warmer. Your swimming experience will be much more enjoyable without goose bumps.

    Unfortunately, we had to discontinue our daughter’s swimming lessons due to chronic ear infections.  However, I have good news for parents who choose not to enroll in infant swimming lessons.  After several years out of the pool, my daughter started lessons again and is a great swimmer.  That should be a comfort to parents whose infants don’t immediately take to the water.  It’s okay if they don’t take to swimming and the water at a young age. If you’d rather spare them and you from the screaming and crying, just wait until they are older.

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