Swim Classes
Is it time to get baby comfortable with water? There's plenty of options around Vancouver to choose from and I'm sure you can find something that fits your family's needs well. But be warned, when it comes to some of the more popular swim classes, you may find yourself in a race for a space! In some cases, it's not as simple as visiting the website, creating an account and joining a class. You may find yourself needing to battle it out like you would for highly sought after concert tickets! Crazy right? So call ahead to find out the situation and hopefully avoid disappointment. Baby pools are warmer than the general pool, usually around 30-32 celcius. This helps keep the little ones comfortable. Every baby is different and may well react differently at different ages. We waited until Isabelle was over 6 months before venturing into the pool, also we thought it would make for a fun summer activity. We didn't consider this, but the pool is a rather loud environment, with plenty of other kids splashing about. This did not make for a great first class, but she soon warmed up to the idea in subsequent visits. Now, she loves it! Our class is pretty simple, some songs, floating toys, encouragement to kick and introduction to going under briefly as well as lying back and moving around with daddy or teacher securely holding on. Some quick tips;
  • You'll need a swim diaper, a reusable one works well under a swim suit
  • Make sure the pool you're visiting has baby facilities, a change table and warmer pool
  • Bring a couple of towels, a hooded one is good for when baby first gets out of the pool
  • It's a lot easier with two adults, though I applaud any parent going solo with a tiny tot
  • Consider introducing baby to the pool during a quieter time to make the first experience less overwhelming
  • There's plenty of float aids for baby, some with covers if you're out in the sun, but be wary, word of mouth suggests that these floaties are incredibly attractive to other kids and a baby in the middle may get in trouble if the kids make a bee line for it and hang on (case in point, the pool I heard about banned these for babies during peak hours due to the risk involved)
  • Find out the registration procedure well ahead of class dates in case they fill up quick
  • Consider your baby's nap schedule and try to cater the class time to what would suit baby best
Looking for classes in Vancouver, here's some to get you started; Vancouver Community Pools - Baby swim class search. Some pools, such as the Aquatic Centre in the West End close down for the summer, but offer baby classes throughout the year. Hillcrest and Britannia pool schedules can be found here and are popular options as well. Atlantis Swim - This is the class we started with, it's just off Arbutus St. It's a 30 minute class and only had a few others in attendance. We ended up with one to one tuition a couple of times which baby thrived with! They're a very affordable option to get started. It's taught by college kids on summer jobs though, so don't expect the world. Our teacher was sweet though, and it's clear he went looking for more information between classes. Plenty of enthusiasm. They also teach kids to ride bicycles in later years. Aquaventures - These guys are in high demand, so get ready to compete for a spot. They're much pricier than most other classes out there, but come well reviewed and the demand speaks for itself. They also take a break over summer generally to give the coaches time off. UBC Recreation Centre - Offers swim classes starting at 4 months. YMCA - They offer drop in sessions and structured classes. Swimming is an important life skill, so why not get baby splashing about and comfortable in the pool sooner? It's a nice way to bond and get some super cute photos in the process! Have fun!