Teaching babies to swim in Singapore is an essential life skill, and giving your child confidence in the water through swimming lessons is priceless. Thanks to Singapore’s neverending summer, pool time is definitely one of the nation’s favourite afternoon activities – and not just because of the exhausted sleep your little fish will fall into afterwards.
If you’re keen to get your little ones water safe sooner rather than later, pull out those teeny tiny swimsuits (your baby’s, of course) and check out our round up of swimming lessons for babies. Want more? Check out our guide to swimming schools in Singapore for older children, and where to buy kids’ swimwear in Singapore.
But first, some general advice from the coaches:
- Make sure your baby has good neck strength before starting lessons – many swimming schools and coaches recommend waiting until your baby is six months old.
- Give your baby a head start in the water with lots of bath time from birth.
- Some babies are sensitive to chlorine, so make sure you rinse them off well after lessons and keep an eye on their skin for any issues.
- Make sure babies have been fed and are well-rested before a lesson.
- If you opt for group lessons, make sure other babies in the group are around the same age and ability as your child.
- Get in early! It’s not uncommon for the most popular instructors to have waiting lists, especially for weekend time slots.
And finally, never underestimate the benefits of poolside research. Many coaches work for themselves and stick to one area, so word-of-mouth referral is likely to be (almost!) as useful as our guide…
SWISH! Swim School
New on the scene is SWISH! Swim School, tucked away within the Loewen Cluster on Dempsey Hil in a beautifully restored black-and-white property. We’re absolutely impressed by the saltwater, temperature-controlled indoor and outdoor pools; the indoor pool is only one metre deep and ideal for babies and tots, and the chlorinated saltwater is much kinder to your little one’s skin. SWISH! offers aquatic enrichment programs including learn to swim classes for infants aged six months old through to pre-squad level. AustSwim certified swim coaches lead 30-minute sessions for parents and their bubs – these lovely bonding sessions are a great way to teach water safety skills and build confidence so your baby doesn’t panic in the water. With full buggy access, and indoor facilities so you can still enjoy lessons during unpredictable weather, the team at SWISH! really has thought of everything.
SWISH! Swim School, 72 Loewen Road, #01-08, Dempsey Hill, Singapore 248848; www.swishswimming.com
AUSTSWIM swimming instructor Mann Weng Yong specialises in infant and preschooler swimming, and uses songs and toys to help little ones build their water safety skills in a fun way. He encourages swimming from birth, without the use of floatation devices that can teach dependency – babies and toddlers are taught how to feel confident and safe in the water, and to know what to do to survive if they should fall in. MoovSwim currently operates in the River Valley and East Coast areas and group class ratios are kept to a maximum of four parent-child pairs, at $35 each; one-on-one classes are $80 for half an hour. All children aged six-36 months must be accompanied in the water by a parent.
8128 8397; www.moovswim.com
Happy Fish Swim School
Happy Fish Swim School instructors travel to your condo or local pool to teach babies from just four months old, and will even come to assist with bath time for those younger babies really destined for the Olympics. Packages start at $300 per month for four lessons of 30 minutes, or $350 for two children.
6589 8650; www.swimminglessons.com.sg
If you don’t want the neighbours’ kids distracting you during class, AquaBambinos offers lessons for babies from six months in their custom-designed pool at Serangoon. Classes use songs and toys to keep things fun and are capped at six parent-baby pairs per instructor. There is a once-off registration fee of $35, thereafter classes are $32 for 30 minutes and sold in term-length packages of usually about 11 lessons.
45 Burghley Drive, Singapore, 559022. p. 6487 3225; www.aquabambinos.com.sg
Little Swim School
Little Swim School classes familiarise babies with the sensation of being in water and teach them how to control their breath, float and eventually go under. Prices range from $60 to $90 for 30-minute private lessons (depending on the experience of the instructor) which are usually held weekly and are sold in monthly packages. Group classes are also offered at Yio Chu Kang and Queenstown Swimming Complexes.
6747 5232; www.littleswimschool.com
Marsden Swim School
The well-known Marsden Swim School offers classes at both the Australian and Canadian International Schools, as well as Queenstown and Ang Mo Kio Swimming Complexes and The Grandstand/Turf City. Fees start from around $30 per student for group classes (maximum six per class) to $60 for individual sessions at most locations. They also offer classes for domestic helpers.
6473 8353; www.marsdenswimschool.com
THE HONEYKIDS TOP 5 SWIM ESSENTIALS FOR BABIES & TODDLERS
Our top pick of poolside gear for little ones learning to swim
- Poolzies Pool Shoes
We’ve road tested these and can guarantee they’re a godsend for little ones who love time at the pool. They keep tiny feet protected from scorching surfaces outdoors, offer UPF 50+ protection from the sun and have non-slip soles to prevent falls. We love the cute patterns, which are available in sizes from 0-6 months all the way to 24-36 months. Designed by clever local mum Pia Solomon, they’re $35 with free delivery within Singapore!
Poolzies Pool Shoes in ‘Nautical Red’, $35; www.poolzies.com
- Splash About Baby Swim Wrap
This genius Baby Wrap keeps babies warm in the pool and helps prevent the chills when going from water to changing room. It’s also a total sun block, with UPF50+ protection, and its soft neoprene is comfy, while providing a good grip for parents when holding little ones in the pool – no more slip factor!
Splash About baby swim wrap, $69, www.baby-beachbums.com
- Skip Hop Grab & Go Wet/Dry Bag
This roomy 12 x 15″ bag is perfect for a ready-to-go swim kit: keep it stocked with swim nappies, swimmers, a hat, sunscreen and a change of clothes, then transport wet items home in this waterproof wonder. Clean and dry items can be stashed in the outer mesh pocket.
Skip Hop Grab & Go Wet/Dry Bag, currently on sale for $19.90 at www.pupsikstudio.com
- Bambino Mio ‘Under The Sea’ swim nappy
We love the idea of a reusable swim nappy – think of all those disposables that only get minutes of use before they get tossed (plus they hold water and weigh your baby down)! This award-winning design has a soft cotton terry lining and concealed water-resistent layer to keep leaks at bay. Plus, the patterns are undeniably cute.
Bambino Mio ‘Under The Sea’ swim nappy, $23.50, www.foxysales.com
- California Baby Swimmers Defense Shampoo and Body Wash
Keep this on hand to gently but thoroughly cleanse chlorine from your baby’s hair and skin – this is a lifesaver if your baby’s skin is particularly sensitive to chemicals. We love that it doubles as a body wash, so you can use it head to toe, and its lemongrass-scented aromatherapy blend is divine.
California Baby Swimmers Defense Shampoo and Body Wash, $25 at Supernature, Motherswork and Redmart