Right before baby P’s fourth month, we enrolled him in a swim class at our local Emler Swim school. My parents have a large pool and I want to make sure my son knows from a young age how to navigate swimming and water. Not only is it a huge relief as far as safety goes, but a swim class is an amazing way to bond with baby and make sure they interact with others and release some energy. After our class my son is always exhausted and starving, so I know he gets a workout!
What ages can join?
Bath time babies allows babies as young as two months and up to six months to join. The school actually has classes for much older kids as well. I regret not knowing that it was a possibility to start an activity so young! It really works on their muscles in a variety of ways and I’m positive it has helped in my sons physical development, so I do recommend starting as soon as you can! I have seen improvements in both gross and fine motor skills more quickly than I would have expected.
Are classes only in the Summer?
Classes are held year round! We enrolled in December, which means it was freezing outside. Luckily classes are indoor in a temperature controlled room. The room is so hot, I usually have to watch from outside the glass barrier or I’ll sweat! This gave me peace of mind because I don’t have to worry about my son being wet and cold. Even once you’re out of the pool, they have a rinse station and tons of blow dryers available at changing tables to make sure your kiddo isn’t leaving the facility all wet!
What will we need to bring?
You’ll need to buy two cloth swim diapers. Disposables are not allowed and babies need to wear both diapers at the same time to prevent leaks! I bring a change of clothes for baby and parent, a towel for me and for baby, and a bottle (or boob) in case baby is hungry. No toys or other accessories are necessary!
What do you do in class?
As far as the actual class goes, we’ve had two super friendly swim coaches who guide our kids through simple but effective techniques. We practice getting water in their faces/eyes to get them used to the pool. They practice kicking off the walls with their little feet and paddling in water. They use different types of floaters to guide through the pool while still allowing them to kick. The kicking strengthens their legs, pushing up on a floatie is a great variation for tummy time, and we make repetitive gestures to begin to show them how to safely move in the water. We also sing songs, practice waving goodbye and hello, among other small activities that focus on skills that will even be helpful outside of the pool!
Is it worth it the investment?
I have seen that even bathing at home has become easier now! I had to ditch the baby tub. I bathe my son straight in our huge tub now and practice some of the things we do in our class at home as well. The first day of class our instructor told us the goal was to have the activities be simple enough to practice in our own bathtub! He is so comfortable in water now that he doesn’t mind sitting in it unsupported and getting it in his eyes (without soaps or shampoo of course).
Cost can be a huge factor in what kinds of activities you’re able to participate in. Emler Swim school is an amazing school with highly qualified instructors and a great system, but the quality matches the pricing of course. The good news is that from two to sixth months, you only have to pay the annual registration fee of $30! That’s four months of weekly classes for only $30. Once you hit six months, each semester is close to $200. I have loved classes and for sure will continue to attend Emler because I have been so happy with the results!