Congrats! You’re rolling right along and getting into a new groove of swim lessons with your baby. Before long, your baby will recognize this as a pattern in their weekly schedule and an activity that they look forward to! Babies are creatures of routine and habit, they learn best through repetition. Remember, we talked a few weeks ago about how the baby is not bored and in fact loves repetition and consistency (think of the same show on repeat, the same book over and over again, same favorite toys, etc).
With repetition and consistency comes muscle memory and the formation of strong synapses (connections) in the brain. What do we do when we have muscle memory and strong synapses? We develop instinct. From there we build upon the now instinctual skills to learn even more things like breath control and swimming longer distances. Let’s dive in and learn more!
Since you are a few weeks into classes, you have learned that we don’t “dunk” a baby in the water right away. We prefer to ease them into it with more gentle approaches such as using our rain bucket to begin to feel the water over their faces and in their ears, etc.
When baby (and parent) are ready, we will move forward to a quick trauma-free submersion. Each time we practice submersion, we always use our “ready, 1-2-3” cue. This conditions the baby to know what is coming and to hold their breath in response to the verbal prompt. We practice gentle, cue-driven submersion with passes between the parent and instructor. Many times you will hear the instructor counting out loud, this is to indicate the number of seconds your baby has learned to hold their breath while motoring through the water. Learning to hold your breath while motoring your arms and legs is no small feat. Your baby’s brain is hard at work building multiple connections while practicing this! How cool is that? It will very quickly become instinct.
Over time, as your baby continues to practice cue-driven submersion, the instructor will watch for improvement and find opportunities to extend the swim a little further. When we say a little, we mean it. A typical increase is about 1 second and there might be gaps of time in between increases.Remember, our goal is to build skills through love and repetition. If we push a baby too far too soon, it can greatly set back the progress. Trust us and our process. Your baby is learning at the perfect pace – their own!
By the time your baby graduates from our parent-child Baby FINS program, they will be able to swim 5 feet and hold their breath for at least 5 seconds. Doesn’t seem like a long time? Look at your baby and count to 5 in your head. Pretty impressive considering how small they are, huh?
Thanks for reading and learning! We hope each week you find the provided information helpful and that you are learning something new. Be on the lookout for an email next week where we will tell you all about the FINS Parent Portal and all the cool things you can do, like check on your child’s skill progression, see class openings, make updates to your account, and more!