Moms who want the best for their babies often ask me, “Should I choose a Mom and Tot class to get my child used to the water?”
In a word, NO!
And here is why:
Many bad habits are taught in Mom and Tot classes and they are initial skills which means behaviors that are first learned. Think about tennis. If you first learn to hit the ball wrong, it may take a life time to relearn and you may never completely get rid of the incorrect stroke. Think about language. If you learn any language at a young age, you speak fluently without thinking. If you learn a new language at an older age, you speak with an accent and never get rid of it. Learning to swim correctly is so important because it may save your life. So, learn to swim and float as soon as your baby is crawling and has the physical ability to swim and float unassisted.
Never teach a child to blow bubbles in the water. Mom and Tot classes teach blowing bubbles. First, most of the bubbles that come out of the baby’s mouth is just the baby drinking water. If a child falls into the water and has been taught to blow out their air, they sink. At PediaSwim, we teach our children to hold their breath if they feel water coming up over their body so that they have a lung full of air that will help bouyant them to the surface and give them time to decide whether to float for more air or swim back to the edge for air. Bottom line, never teach a child to blow out their air in the water until they can demonstrate that they can swim to the bottom of the pool and swim back up unassisted which is usually around three years old if they have been swimming since they were infants.
Never teach a child to jump into the water until they can demonstrate they can swim and float by themselves. In most Mom and Tots, children are taught to jump to mom, jump to mom, jump to mom until it is a practiced behavior that a child does automatically at the edge of the water. Mom catches the child in the air and the head never even goes under water. Now picture that same child that finds themselves near the water alone. They do what they have been taught, run towards the water because they have learned is a fun, safe place and jump in. Mom has always been there to catch him. Now it is too late, they sink under the water, blow out their air, just as they have been taught. At PediaSwim, we get our moms in the water to practice skills once they have been attained. Mom and baby get to practice swimming and floating and have lots of fun. And the child has learned how to manage themselves in the aquatic environment for safety.
Will my baby cry? Yes, no, maybe, it depends alot on how crying is handled at home. If crying brings a lot of attention, they will probably cry. If mom is unsure if she is doing the right thing, they will definitely cry. Your baby can read you like a book. If you are confident and truly happy watching the lesson, if your face is smiling and excited, if you tell the baby what a great job they are doing after each lesson, if you feel comfortable, the baby will do great. I have had kids that cry, some that quit crying after a couple of lessons, some that stop crying after mom gets in to practice and even some that only cry when mom gets in. Some never cry and all stop complaining sooner or later. Remember, crying is communication and it can mean lots of things. It is never a reason to not make sure that your baby is a great swimmer and floater.
So, schedule your lessons at SouthWest Aquatics right away. SouthWest Aquatics offers well trained PediaSwim Instructors. It just might save your child’s life and it will certainly give them a life time of water fun. You will never regret it.