Every parent wants the very best for their children, and with so much focus on water activities having a positive impact on baby development, it may be tempting to make a splash as early as possible. But there’s no need to book a holiday in the sun! The facilities you need are much closer to home:
The early days
Baby’s first experience with water outside the womb is typically at home in the bath. To get your baby used to water, you can use a rinse cup, such as the Dunck Stacking Bath Toy by Skip Hop, and pour water over baby. Swimming instructors often advise parents to pour water on baby’s head at bathtime to ensure baby doesn’t develop a fear of water on the head.
The Baby Spa
Babies between the age of 2 days and 6 months can go to The Baby Spa in Kensington, where they get to float in a tub before having a massage. Babies under 8 weeks old swim in individual tubs, while babies who’ve had their immunisations go in the larger pool where there’s space for three babies. Going to The Baby Spa, is a fun outing in the early days, and it can also help prepare baby for other adventures in water and support baby’s brain and physical development.
The next step
After baby has had its immunisations, you may want to consider taking baby to swimming classes. Babies usually enjoy seeing other babies in the water, so signing up for a class instead of taking private lessons is a good option. Classes are usually small, and baby will need to be accompanied by an adult in the water. The challenge is to find a swimming class that suits both you and your baby. Some classes will be more about playing and singing, whereas other classes are focused on teaching baby new skills in the water. The second option usually means submersion, which some parents find daunting in the beginning, but it can also be amazing to follow the progress and see what baby can do in the water–and underwater!
Swimming Rocks (see picture above) is a swimming school for babies, children and adults operating in three locations in Chelsea, South Kensington and Golders Green, and they have classes for babies aged 3 months and up. The baby classes are focused on teaching babies lifesaving skills in a fun environment. They learn to hold on to the edge, turn to the edge, float, roll and move both above and below the water.
Children who start weekly swimming lessons from an early age may be swimming on their own before they turn 3. Many choose private or semi-private lessons for older children, ensuring the lessons can be tailored to their abilities.
New Baby Company founder, Vicki, is excited to have started working with swimming school SwimWay to offer parent and baby swimming on Friday mornings after Easter. There are also great swimming classes for children aged 3 to 8 in the pool in her home in Wimbledon on Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons. SwimWay now runs private and semi-private swimming lessons in her home.