Prep Your Toddler for Their First Independent Swim Lesson!

So, your tiny tot is heading to big-kid lessons for the very first time. Are they going to actually sit on those steps and wait their turn? Will there be tears? Will they listen to their teacher? Moving on from baby classes can be a scary next step for many little kiddos (and parents, too!), which means you should definitely be prepared for what to expect! 

SwimWest offers Parent-Tot classes for babies and their caregivers, so if you’ve completed one of those classes, your little one should already be *slightly* familiar with the water. Parent-Tot classes help your child learn to trust the water with a person they’re comfortable with, and often include singing, swishing, splashing and general water play. This is such a fun way to introduce your baby to the pool. After Parent-Tot classes comes the very first step on your swimmer’s independent swim journey, and is a milestone for all involved.

To be prepared (and to prepare your little one), read our checklist below!

  1. Has your baby completed a Parent-Tot class? If not, try to bring your child to open swim to give a similar experience. While there, hold your child as they learn to explore the water. Let them put their toes in first. Try sprinkling water on his/her head. Sing songs, swish their body through the water, let them jump (if they’re comfortable). Above all, make it FUN! 
  2. Is your child shy or nervous with new people? If so, see if you can arrive a few minutes early to class. Point out the instructor and show your child how much fun the other kids are having. When it’s time to take your child to class, make sure you help facilitate the introduction and let your instructor know it’s the first class and your child may be nervous.
  3. Practice what to expect at bathtime. Before your child’s first class, talk to them about what to expect during bathtime. Show them how nice the water feels, let them kick their legs, or drip water onto their head. Whatever you can do to prepare them ahead of time will be helpful those first few lessons.
  4. Be sure to bring swim diapers SwimWest sells Happy Nappy Swim Diapers and in the case that you don’t have this specific swim diaper, we ask that you double diaper, and extras just in case of an emergency. 
  5. Make sure you’ve got your swim bag packed with the essentials for after class. Little ones especially seem to hate getting out of the pool into the *cold* air. Be ready to wrap them in a warm towel or bathrobe and let them warm up a bit before getting dressed. Make sure you’ve got extra clothes (ideally ones that are easy to slip on damp skin) and shower supplies (if you plan to rinse off afterwards).

We hope your child has a wonderful experience as they progress to independent swim lessons, and if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know at the front desk. We’re always willing to help share ideas and resources for getting your child comfortable (and SAFER) in the water!



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