by Mark Garcia July 27, 2013
Teaching Babies to Swim at Home
If you have young children in your home under 3 years old - and, you have a pool in your backyard (or know other parents who do) - take advantage of the summer temps to teach your babies how to swim.
Swim lessons for children, can begin at 6 months of age. Early lessons are more for acclimation and comfort level building, of course - stroke development usually comes after 3 years of age.
Every summer, take advantage of your pool and the warm weather to host swim lessons for your baby and a few other local babies and at least one parent. It's a swim lesson, but it's also a social event for all participants.
I found a super easy program online, at uswim.com - that has videos, lesson plans and certificates (suitable for framing!). And, it's FREE, you don't even have to give up an email address!
There's not much equipment that you need to have for baby swim lessons. A large pool float, either dense foam or inflatable - is very helpful to sit the babies on. For toddler ages, small kickboards are useful to work on kicking strokes.
The real 'gear' used for teaching babies and toddlers to swim, is pretty basic.
Plan to host a complete session, of 6 lessons. Uswim has 6 skills within the Level 1 session for baby swim lessons. Each is a different lesson focusing on a specific set of skill building goals. Once per week, or twice per week - your choice, but plan for a Swim Session, of 6 consecutive lessons.
Invite your friends! It's more fun when there are other swimmers learning! Just make sure that each baby or toddler has their own dedicated swim teacher, who is in the pool - everybody swims! Let them know that it's a session or series of 6 lessons, with each lessons skills building on the previous, and attending all lessons is encouraged.
When your participants arrive, you can get started right away. 3 steps to hosting a baby swim group at your home.
Step 1: Play the Video. A tablet or a laptop is ideal for 1 or 2 people, with volume turned up higher. You could also watch the video lesson inside, gathered around a monitor. Each video is short, only 3 minutes or so, and can be played as many times as you need.
Step 2: Pass out the Lesson Plan. Each skill has its own lesson plan, have a black and white printout for each parent. If you have a color printer, print one copy of each Lesson Plan in color for each lesson, ahead of time and all at once. Place them in a spiral binder with plastic divider sleeves.
As you can see on the right, the Lesson Plan is very colorful and attractively designed. Each lesson starts with a song, and ends with a song, and there are 6 short and fun exercises in between. Stand your binder up poolside, so you can follow the Lesson Procedure.
Each lesson is planned to last around 20 minutes. As the coordinator, you'll move the class through the steps, with some flexibility to time limits, but try to keep things moving, so that the class can be limited to 20 mins, and no more than 30 minutes. Diaper check!
Step 3: Conclude the class by a slow and safe exit from the pool, to a drying off area where you can close the swim lesson with congratulations to all, and a summary of next week's lesson plan, open binder on the table for all to see.
Get each person's commitment to come for the following swim lesson, try to encourage each person to clear their calendar, so that everyone can attend, every session. If needed, remind them also, how important this is - teaching your babies how to swim.
You can pass out the certificates of achievement for each class if you want, or just do one at the end of the entire session. You may want to have a make-up lesson available near the end of class, for anyone who needs one.
Check out uswim.com, for their free online baby swimming lessons. It's a great resource, and I commend them for putting it together.
Thanks for reading!