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swimming lessons

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
When did you introduce swimming to your kids? How old were they? What kind of water - swimming pool (private/public), pond, lake, ocean etc? Did you use those floaty bathing suits or any sort of device?
post #2 of 22
Introduced water/swimming at six months...parent/child class through Madison WI school system...nice program. Started formal lessons, where she was in the water herself, at the YMCA in Tarrytown NY (GREAT PROGRAM!!) when she was 2 1/2. Never used the blow-up water wings or floaties in the bathing suit. She was given a "barbell" or "noodle" to use to swim. She is very comfortable in the water now and we reinforce lessons when we can at a local swim club here on Staten Island.

We decided to use formal lessons because we don't have a pool and wanted DD to feel acclimated to water in case we went somewhere with a pool/lake/pond/ocean. I never had formal lessons as a kid but my aunt had a pool (she lived about a mile from us) and then eventually we got our own pool in our backyard or swam at the local lakes/ponds. We regularly went to the Jersey Shore as children as well so I don't ever remember NOT knowing how to swim.

I've always been impressed with shows that demonstrate a child under one year swimming in the water (supervised closely by mom and dad, of course). The argument is that babies are used to a water environment from being in the womb and can be acclimated to the water quite easily the earlier they are introduced to the pool. The argument is to introduce the child within the first six months to the pool and they should transition easily. Of course, the decision to introduce swimming at that age could be controversial, but the sooner my child learned how to take care of herself in the water, the better I felt about her in a pool...even with VERY CLOSE SUPERVISION. I knew she knew how to float on her back and hold on to the side of the pool if she fell in. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING replaces parental supervision but it made my job easier to know she was comfortable in the water.

I hope that helps!!!

post #3 of 22
good question.

i can't wait.

im so excited.

when my baby is one year old i am going to see of the YMCA or someplace has "mother and baby" swimming classes for us to do together...such as water exercise or something.

actual "swimming lessons"....i think i was in kindergarten when my mom started me.

i'd be a little worried about a toddler falling on the wet cement though.

but... i think we will enrollin mother baby classes.
post #4 of 22
Living in Arizona (the highest per capita pool ratio in the US... I think), it is very important to teach your children how to swim. We also have an outragious amount of child drownings every year. They are constantly doing public service announcements on it every year.

Anyway, our ds, now 6 mo, plays with us in the tub. He LOVES water and he is starting to learn how to float. When the weather starts getting warmer (in about a week, wink) we will be heading over to the YMCA for swimming lessons. We are both (dh and I) looking foward to it. So fun.
post #5 of 22
Our rec centres have programs starting as young as 4 months. We're going to start in the spring. It's a program called Aqua Tot. Our rec centre has an amazing pool so we're going to go there. I was going to start in the fall (at around 6 months) but we moved in the middle of the session. I'm really looking forward to it (although I think dh and I are going to have to fight to see who gets to go!).
post #6 of 22
Just thought of something - what do your babies wear to swim in? I'm presuming some sort of swim diaper but is that it?
post #7 of 22
We live by the ocean so we started taking dd in the ocean soon after she was born. She learned how to swim by herself around 3 1/2yrs.

We did a combination of things: swim lessons in the pool (starting around 3yrs) and ocean swimming with us (since birth). The pool lessons were only valuable when we had private one-on-one lessons, otherwise it was a waste of time and money. I have some reservations with chlorine so I prefer the ocean, but it is nearly impossible to avoid the pool here so I just make sure I wash the chlorine off her skin immediately after swimming. The baby/mother classes are mainly just to make the child feel more comfortable in water and only last 1/2 hour once a week, in our case it was better to take her ourselves (w/o class) and keep it fun with no pressure. We never pressured her to go in the water, if she didn't want to go then that was respected.

We didn't use any safety device, it worked better for us w/o them. But we did let her swim around in a floaty ring as long as we were right beside her.

Hope that helps!!
post #8 of 22
Good post! We are starting parent/child swimming at the local YMCA in February. DD turns 6 months 1 week before the new session starts. In the last month I have started taking her in the shower with me and taking baths with her. She still wiggles around when water gets on her face (I don't pour it on just let it trickle down) but other than that she doesn't seem to mind water at all!

I am excited to start these classes!

post #9 of 22
Answering MilkfaceMama's question...we used a special brand of swim suit...I think it was called Swim Diaper...that is heavier knit than regular suits and is lined to keep in BM, and urine to some extent. It is only the bottom piece. I am unsure I believe urine was kept in and DD never did a BM while in the pool so I can't speak for the accuracy of their claim but all the pools that we went in were satisfied with that brand of swim suit for her when she went in. Regular disposables get soaking wet apparently (we didn't use them ourselves) but we did use the disposable Huggies swim diapers in a pinch and only when DD was older and could tell us she needed a toilet.

I think you can get the swim diaper in any JC Penney's when local weather permits (it's a seasonal item naturally), or Wally-world/Kmart...usually in the children's clothes section. If not there...check summer pool/floats/games area...they may have the baby swim diapers tucked away there. Probably could find it in pool supply or sporting goods stores, too.

post #10 of 22
What to wear in the pool: public pools usually have strict rules requiring swim diapers. I always used a cloth diaper with those gerber plastic pants. The disposable swim diapers don't keep urine in at all although they probably hold solid BM's pretty well. I know of a public beach in Canada that requires the gerber plastic pants. They even sell them at the entrance.
post #11 of 22
What a great thread. My ds started when he was 3 yo. They didn't pressure the kids and it was very gentle. He was in a small class w/other kids his age, without the parents. He is now 5 yo and is such a FISH! He really took off in lessons at around 5. We went to Kauai this summer and he even went snorkeling in the ocean! He loved seeing all the fish~he loves animals . He can now swim underwater and do a front float. I am so, so proud of him and we are going to continue because he loves it so much!


post #12 of 22
Well other than living in my watery womb and being born underwater in a birthing tub, my son started "swim lessons" when he was 5 1/2 months old. I did the parent/child swim classes w/ him at the YMCA. He loves the water! I'm so glad we did the classes- he loves bath time and swimming. I can't wait to bring him to the lakes this summer!
As for what he wears- a cloth diaper w/ a light weight diaper cover and the Gerber plastic pants. He also has a really cute pair of baby boy swim trunks that he wears over the diaper!
post #13 of 22
DD#1 started at 2 1/2 and loved it. DD#2 is 3 1/2 and has tried swim lessons twice and hated it both times.

All kids are different!!!!!!

Swim lessons do not make your child safer in the water. Statistically, just the opposite is true. The only thing that makes your child safe in water is YOU. (which also means that the only reason for a kid to be in swim lessons is because they enjoy it.)
post #14 of 22
Speaking as a former swim instructor, floaties and other types of worn floatation devices (those bathing suits with the tubes in them) are evil. They encourage the wrong position in the water, which makes learning to swim more difficult.

post #15 of 22
My son is starting mommy baby classes in june. I wanted to get him in the one that started two weeks ago but he wasn't 6 months yet (they are pretty anal about it because he turned 6 months on 4-19) We are going through our local Y. We do have a "swim jacket" for him. It is the lycra body suit with the fowm padding in it. The only reason we have it is because we take him out in our kayak and while he is always with in arms reach of me and another adult, I still feel better having him in some sort of flotation device, just in case. But that is the only time we use it, if he is in the water with me then he is just in a swim diaper. WE started putting him in the pool when he was about 6 weeks old and he seems to do fine with it so far
post #16 of 22
I taught Parent-Tot swim lessons, as well as lessons for older children, from 1988 through 1996, and started my ds in the water at 2 months (much to the alarm of my pediatrician). He loves the water, and starting learning to swim on his own at age 3. Children can learn to swim as early as 2, although retention of the skills is better from age 3 on (no danger of having to re-teach).

I wanted to mention two things. First of all, no matter what a lesson program tells you, your children will not be drownproofed! It is impossible to completely "drownproof" a child, which is why most public swimming facilities require parents to be in attendance with children under the age of 12, regardless of how well they can swim. I was a lifeguard for a number of years, both at pools and open water (lakefront, and oceanfront) and I can tell you that there are many situations that can arise in which good swimmers drown.

Secondly, if you decide to take your infant swimming, keep in mind that swallowing too much pool water can lead to hyponatremia, a condition in which the electrolyte balance is thrown off. This can lead to serious consequences, including hospitalization and, if not treated, can be fatal. This can be avoided by never forcibly putting a child underwater.

Most YMCAs have good parent-tot programs that are more water adjustment and bonding with parents, and start actual lessons at age 3. For older children, the YMCA program is excellent, as is the Learn-to-Swim program run by the American Red Cross. It usually last 1-2 weeks in the summer, and cost is nominal. For you homeschoolers, most states allow swimming lessons to fulfill a phys ed requirement.

I am an advocate for swimming lessons for all children, and highly recommend that all parents involve some form of swimming instruction and water safety into their parenthood.

post #17 of 22
With dd1 we started official parent/child swimming lessons at 1 year. Our aim was to get her used to the water, and we knew we wouldn't take her regularly on our own (especially in winter!!). I don't think it made any difference, she took lessons regularly until a couple of summers ago when I put her in private, every day lessons during the summer. Within 10 days she was putting her face in the water, swimming strokes, etc., that she would no more have tried before. Her instructor was great, and we go back every summer now.

Dd2 only swims recreationally with us, no lessons. We decided the cost and hassle wasn't worth it, after our experience with dd1.
post #18 of 22
Originally posted by veggiewolf
Secondly, if you decide to take your infant swimming, keep in mind that swallowing too much pool water can lead to hyponatremia, a condition in which the electrolyte balance is thrown off. This can lead to serious consequences, including hospitalization and, if not treated, can be fatal. This can be avoided by never forcibly putting a child underwater.
Do you have a source for that? I want to show it to my mil and tell her that she is an idiot (well maybe not that exactly, but the general idea! )

She claims that I am just wasting money to put my son in swimming lessons because I can teach him myself, by blowing forcefully in his face and putting him underwater. Apparently, the blowing makes them gasp and then they are holdly their breath while they are underwater.

Honestly, I'm usprised my husband and his brother made it past infancy with some of the crap that woman spews as "good child rearing". I suppose fil is the reason they survived but I can't imagine him stand up to her and doing things his way.
post #19 of 22

Let me check my Y instructor books...

I can find the reference for it and post it once I locate it.

In my second year teaching Parent-Tot, I had a woman in the class who griped and complained about how I wasn't teaching them how to make the babies go underwater (her son was 6 months old), and that she only stayed in the class because her son enjoyed it. Two weeks after the session was over, I ended up calling EMS because she brought the baby into the pool for free swim and kept dunking him underwater. No matter the fact that he was screaming after the first plunge underwater, she wouldn't quit. The baby ended up having a seizure.

Needless to say, I am death on this subject!!! :mad:

post #20 of 22

Ok, I found the reference...

In my YMCA Parent-Tot Swimming Manual, the Mechanics of Teaching section:

"...remind parents not to forcibly place the child underwater, as doing so could cause swallowing of water. As little as 1 cup of chlorinated water can cause an imbalance of electrolytes. This condition, known as hyponatremia, can lead to lethargy, seizure, and, if untreated, can be fatal."

The manual goes on to discuss the technique of blowing in an infant's face before submerging, stating that "...although the infant may gulp air when this is done, it will not hold breath long enough to protect against inhalation of water."

I hope this helps!

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