With the recent, ground-breaking victory of Joseph Schooling in the international arena, we are sure many Singaporean parents are inspired to bring their young ones to the pool. In fact, swimming is one of the healthiest forms of exercises to help with physical development of your kids by toning their muscles, improving stamina, and relaxing the minds.

Make them feel comfortable in water

In the early months, babies should be encouraged to have fun and be comfortable in water. Being comfortable in water will lay firm foundation for them to develop interest in many fun water sports. Start small by bathing him/ her in bath tubs. Let him/her splash around, play with floating toys, sprinkle/spray water. You can also trickle water over their foreheads to let them feel the sensation of running water. The most important thing is to make them enjoy being in water and create the impression that it is a great place to play in.

Baby Swimming

Create water environment that is safe

1. Typically about six weeks old, you could bring your babies to “swim” in a baby pool. Ensure that the pool has warm temperature, heated to up to 32 degree Celcius. Limit the time in the baby pool as they may get cold.

2. Pool should not be heavily chlorinated as baby’s skin is more sensitive to chemicals than adults’ Seek out pools that use the newer ozone filters—these are becoming more common in spas and pools. Ozone-filtered water is clean and very baby-friendly.

3. The bouyancy of water will keep your baby stay afloat and he or she will be able to enjoy freedom of movement. After swimming, you could give your baby a massage and he or she should be very tired to get a good nap after the session.

4. Discourage water swallowing as older babies can swallow too much water, which can be harmful to their body's chemistry. Pool water is for swimming, not drinking.

5. Let your baby wear swim diapers in case of “emergency” at least he/she doesn’t dirty the pool and accidently sip the yucky leakage.

As your baby gets older around six months old, you can take your baby to join a special swimming class to introduce your baby to the water and getting used to their faces being underwater. Initially, you can join a parent-child swimming class in which you will be in water with your baby during these classes. Your child probably won’t be developmentally ready for formal swim lessons until the age of 3 or 4 at least. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says classes for children younger than 4 can still be enjoyable and helpful. The idea is to inculcate the love for water early so that when they are ready, they will be able to learn swimming without any hesitance/ phobia.