Water acclimation programs help introduce infants to the water for the first time, reducing their fear and the potential of tears. Using a parent-assisted approach, swim instructors work with the parent and show them how to swim safely with their child. These programs are geared towards gentle water exploration and developing the child’s awareness of the aquatic environment while introducing the exercises used in later classes.

The aim is to build confidence and self-esteem as well as to develop awareness and the ability to respond to new challenges. At British Swim School, this class is mandatory for any child under the age of 18 months.  Once they have mastered water acclimation, submersion, lying on their back with ears in and no tears, they can then advance to higher levels.

Here are 5 tips for parents when introducing their child to water:

1. Educate instead of creating fear
  • Avoid “scary” words and focus on educating your children about the water
  • Teach your children to always ask an adult for permission to swim or play in the water
2. Practice at home
  • Work on getting your child comfortable in the bathtub
  •  Have your child lay on their back with their ears in the water
    • When they get water in their eyes teach them to blink it away instead of rubbing their eyes
3. Toy safety
  • Ensure that toys are never left in a body of water because they will act as a draw for your child. This includes the pool, small blow-up pool and even the bathtub
4. Survival lessons
  • Put your child into swim survival lessons as early as possible. This will help them acclimate, make them comfortable and ensure that they have a positive relationship with all bodies of water
  • Trust the experts to teach lifesaving skills like back floating and moving through the water to safety
5. Focus on you first!
  • For adults who are not confident in their swimming abilities, it’s important to take your own swim lessons before helping others! Not only will you strengthen your skills, but you will become confident and safe in the water, and will then be able to help little ones if necessary. 

The purpose of water acclimation programs is to relieve fear and promote confidence in infants by introducing them to the water with the support of their parents. Water acclimation programs aim to increase a child’s awareness of the water and their ability to respond to novel situations. Water acclimation is required for all children under the age of 18 months at British Swim School. They can go to higher stages if they have mastered water acclimation, submersion, resting on their back with their ears in and no tears.

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