The SG Baby & Toddler Swim Programme
3 MONTHS – 10/12 MONTHS
This level introduces parents and babies to both the water and swimming, building confidence. Our qualified teachers provide parents with ideas through repetition and play that will make your babies happy swimmers.
- safe entry and exit of pool
- introduction of how to hold your baby on both front and back in the water
- demonstrating support holds
- encouraging water confidence through songs and actions
- first steps to submersion in a controlled environment
- supervised jumping in
10/12 MONTHS – 15 MONTHS
This level is for those parents and babies that have attended classes before. Both parents and babies are taught to perform a series of exercises with a mixture of buoyancy aids, that will help babies work towards swimming independently.
- demonstration of front and back holding and floating position
- encouragement of reaching and holding skills
- introducing blowing bubbles in the water
- introduction of various buoyancy aids
- songs and actions to encourage propulsion
- progression of submersion
- floating and swimming with your baby
- supervised jumping in
15 MONTHS – 22 MONTHS
This level is for those who have attended our New/Experienced Baby classes. At this age we are now able to introduce some fundamental swimming skills such as breathing, paddling and kicking, and independent submersion.
- independent propulsion with a variation of buoyancy aids
- demonstration of streamlined body position
- rotating from front to back
- blowing bubbles and breathing
- submersion and putting eyes/faces into the water
- monkey walking on the wall
- independent jumping in
22 MONTHS – 2.5 YEARS
This level prepares toddlers to swim independently. Instructors will work on the toddler’s listening skills and their ability to take instructions alongside their swimming skills. Toddlers will be able to move into our pre-school groups at the end of the course.
- emphasis on putting eyes and face in the water
- jumping in unaided and independently to both parent and instructor
- independent propulsion using buoyancy aids
- rotating from front to back
- preparation for pre-school classes when entering the water with instructor only – i.e. more work with swim instructor, less with parent
The Principles of SG Baby & Toddler Swimming
In their first few weeks, babies naturally make rhythmical, coordinated swimming movements, and also inhibit their own breathing underwater. This is called the gag reflex. After about 6 months, that reflex slows down as they start to take control of their own breathing when going underwater. Also your baby’s brain grows more rapidly in the first few months of life than at any other time; therefore Sports Generation believe the optimal time for a child to start learning to swim is 3 months old when they have had all their jabs but are still able to take advantage of the gag reflex and rapid brain growth.
Until they’re aged about 3, babies and toddlers lack the strength, co-ordination and motor skills to swim on the surface; the way their body mass is distributed also makes it difficult. However, with careful supervision and encouragement they can naturally swim short distances underwater from very early on. We structure our baby swim programme to reflect children’s natural development phases. Hence submersion plays a big part in developing your baby’s confidence. And for parents, this is often the most exciting part — watching your baby glide towards you as you hover above the water’s surface is a thrilling and rewarding experience. Our method of introducing babies to underwater swimming is very gentle, gradual and carefully controlled. Babies quickly become familiar with the way we work and are soon able to recognize the commands which precipitate an underwater swim. This, combined with the fact that we’ll never swim a baby against their wishes, helps to develop the confidence you see amongst our tiny swimmers.
As important and exciting as going underwater is, it’s only a very tiny part of the work we do. About 95% of the lesson is on the surface, and going under only ever lasts a few seconds. As you (or your baby’s carer) are in the water too, one of our core philosophies is that we are teaching you to also teach your baby or toddler to swim, so we will always explain why we are doing something, as well as carefully demonstrate exactly what we are doing. Our fully qualified teachers will demonstrate to you many different ways in which you can support your baby in the water. These positions will be repeated and practised each week, front and back, so both you and your baby will become comfortable using the support positions in the water. Your baby will also become familiar with submerging their ears whilst swimming on their back and we will encourage them to eventually submerge their faces on their front. These support positions lead onto your baby having a streamlined position when progressing to becoming a swimmer.
All babies learn through repetitive teaching, consistency, word association, play and regular classes. In lessons we use songs, rhymes and actions to encourage movement, reaching, paddling and splashing. We also use a selection of different buoyancy aids to encourage independent floatation although these are only recommended for 10-15 minutes of the lesson.
Our SG Babies grow steadily through our programme, having great fun whilst all the time building their confidence and independence in the water. It is a marathon not a sprint and it is critical not to push babies too far too soon which will only undermine their confidence and discourage them.
Most of our toddlers can swim short distances by the age of 2, and have mastered vital skills including how to turn around and hold on and, where possible, how to clamber out. All of this is a great source of pride for you and them (and us!), and offers critical safety skills should they ever fall into water.
Progress continues as they develop their motor skills, strength and stamina to become independent swimmers with controlled arm and leg movements, eventually turning into front paddle and later, front crawl.
As soon as our coaches are happy that your toddler is ready to take their next step on the Sports Generation journey, they will inform you of the appropriate class for your child to join on our SG Children’s Swim Programme.