Swimming is a fundamental skill that’s great for your toddler’s health, wellbeing and confidence. It is not only one of the best ways to cool off on a hot day, it can also help your toddler to enjoy the Australian outdoor lifestyle. However, your child’s safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when they’re around water. Regardless if they’re in the bath or in a swimming pool, they must always be supervised and within arm’s reach.
When Can My Toddler Start Learning To Swim?
The Australian Council for the Teaching of Swimming and Water Safety (AUSTSWIM) recommend infants from 6 months of age participate in aquatic activity programs. Infants less than 6 months may not be physically or developmentally ready for any formal aquatic programs, but water familiarity can start at home with some fun play time in the bath.
Which Swim Program Should You Choose?
Choose an aquatic facility which has AUSTSWIM accredited teachers. This is the industry standard for swimming and water safety.
AUSTSWIM recommends looking for swimming programs for your toddler which offer activities to help with:
- Familiarisation with water
- Water safety and parent education
- Learning swimming skills
- Social interaction.
Your toddler’s swimming program should be short and regular, e.g. 30 minutes once per week.
Tips For Stress Free Swimming Lessons
- If your toddler is not used to wearing swimmers, goggles or a swimming cap, allow them to practice wearing these at home so they’re more comfortable for their first lesson
- Make sure your swim bag is packed with all the essentials; a towel, swimwear, swim nappies (if needed), goggles, swim cap and another set of dry clothes
- Arrive early, to help your toddler to feel calm and ready for their class
- Introduce your child to the instructor before starting so they feel more comfortable
- Take them to the toilet before the lesson starts to avoid accidents in the water or interruption during the class
- In the cooler months, don’t leave the centre with your toddler wearing wet swimmers or wrapped in a wet towel. Give them a warm shower after their lesson and dress them in dry clothes
- To end on a positive note, encourage your child by recognising their swimming achievements.
Most aquatic centres offer swimming lessons all year round. While the summer months are most popular, lessons in winter has its benefits such as classes may be smaller – providing more direct communication with instructors. This then allows your child to build on the skills they learnt in the warmer months. Keep in mind if they’ve a long break in between lessons that it may be hard for them get back into their swimming routine.