You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! For questions specifically regarding our Backfloat Baby® program, please scroll down to read more.
When considering swimming lessons for your infant or toddler, there are many questions that need to be asked. We’ve put together some of the questions we hear most in regards to our Backfloat Baby® program. If you have additional questions, please contact us!!
FOSS lessons start as early as 6 months and offer beginner levels for all age groups.
Taking part in formal swim lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years. (1) Here at FOSS our Backfloat Baby® program is designed for little swimmers age 6 months to 3 years. Parents and swimmers laugh and learn together.
While there are great benefits to getting started as early as 6 months, you know what is best for your family. Because our Backfloat Baby® classes require an adult in the water, it is more important to have Mom and Dad on board for the weekly lesson. For families who prefer to wait until their swimmers can take lessons independent of a parent, we offer beginner levels for all age groups. Just remember, the window of opportunity to learn to swim well begins to close at 6 and is almost completely closed by age 11. (2)
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts.
(2) Cecil Colwin, Breakthrough Swimming
Swimmers who participate in the Backfloat Baby® program have a number of advantages:
- They are able to gain an introduction to lessons with the added comfort of having Mom or Dad (Grandma, Grandpa, or another trusted caregiver…) right there with them.
- They are given a very early introduction to the fundamental skills taught in the older levels and mistakes can be fixed before they have a chance to become bad habits.
- They are given the opportunity to form safe habits (walking on the pool deck, proper entry/exit, how to react if they fall in the water, etc.) at an earlier age.
- Graduates of the Backfloat Baby® program will have mastered many independent skills and in some cases will be able to move directly to a higher level in the Littles program (3-5 years).
It is so much more! In each Backfloat Baby® class, you will enter the water with your little one and your instructor will lead you through a series of songs and games. Each activity is geared towards the age and development of the swimmers and is designed to teach a specific skill set. Skills taught throughout the 4 levels of Backfloat Baby® classes range from water adjustment to safe entry and exit of the water to independent paddling and back floats.
Each class you attend will follow roughly the same routine from the start of class to the finish. While the routine will seem repetitive to you as an adult, it is vitally important to creating an ideal learning environment for children of this age. The routine helps them to know what will happen next and this aids in comfort, confidence, trust, and a sense of control – all of which promote better learning.
The Backfloat Baby® program is designed to acclimate our youngest students to the water and eventually help them to transition into independent classes more successfully. You will be amazed what babies and toddlers are capable of in the water!
Children just starting out will learn:
- Water Adjustment Skills
- Breath Control
- Comfort with short submersions
- Comfort on their back, relaxing with their ears submerged under water (with full support)
- Proper response to falling in the water (turn, swim to wall, and climb out.)
- Depth awareness
Graduates of the Backfloat Baby® program will have learned:
- Independent swimming for short distances with no floatation
- Independent back float
- Flipping from back to front independently
- Flipping from front to back with assistance
- Independently entering water over their head and safely climbing out
- A joy and healthy respect of the water!
All children under the age of 3 are required to wear a reusable swim diaper. While we understand that some children are potty trained before age 3, we also know that accidents do happen. A child that normally is very good about communicating when they need to use the bathroom may not realize the effect 91 degree warm water can have on a little body or may get caught up in the fun of swimming and not want to leave. If an accident does happen, depending on the nature of the accident, the pool must be closed until it is safe to swim again. This can result in numerous children missing out on their swimming lessons that day. To prevent this, we do require all children under age 3 to wear reusable swim diapers.
In most cases we recommend any swimmer under age 3 starts with our Backfloat Baby® 1 class, whether they are 6 mos. old or 35 mos. old. The Backfloat Baby® 1 class is much more than just “songs and games for babies.” The class is designed to teach each child how to properly hold their breath, how to hold their body to allow them to back float, how to safely enter and exit a pool with out stairs, and so much more! The class is also designed to help teach you, the parent, how to teach your child. You will learn different ways to hold your swimmer in order to better support them as they learn to float on their back, to teach them how to properly climb out of the water if they fall in, the proper way to hold them when practicing submersions, valuable information about water safety and the reasons why certain skills are so important, and even the words to all those songs! Even for a young swimmer who is comfortable in a pool with floatation, loves the bath tub, or already puts their face in, there can be great advantages to starting at the beginning and learning the fundamentals of the skills.
However, there are those swimmers who have already mastered the skills of a supported back float with ears fully submerged and short submersions under water. If this is your situation, call our office and they can help you find the right level for your swimmer.
One of the reasons we start lessons at 6 months is that, in most cases, a fear of the water has not set in. By getting ahead of it and introducing water adjustment in a safe and baby friendly environment, odds are good your child will develop a healthy respect and joy of the water rather than fear.
However, some babies and young toddlers will already have developed a fear or dislike of the water. In these cases, we highly recommend sticking your lessons out as stopping or avoiding water could cause a child’s fear to become worse as they grow older. Most importantly, keep up a strong line of communication with your instructor. They will help you pinpoint what skills are making your child nervous and introduce you to various coping mechanisms to work on with your little one both in the pool and at home. They can also help introduce various skills and games to help your child find something they do enjoy. If your swimmer is crying in class, don’t feel that you need to force participation in every skill. Work with your instructor to find modified exercises or games to help with increasing comfort while still practicing skills. With the right approach, constant encouragement, and a whole lot of patience, your little one will be splashing and smiling in the water!!