Dr Swim Junior lessons take away fear of water submersion and give children the physical skills they need to enjoy water to the full.  Each lesson avoids too much technical information, and focuses on demonstrations, practice and encouragement.

Stroke technique, breathing and co-ordination are taught via progressive drills and games.  Having fun and being relaxed in the water are vital, so floating exercises, fin-wearing and picking up submersible objects form a valuable part of the lessons. Children’s confidence is inspired by teaching buoyancy and using aids when appropriate.

Dr Swim likes to get children in the pool as young as possible; this lays important groundwork for a lifetime of water skills. It’s not unusual for a 5 year old to have a good grasp of front-crawl, back-crawl, breast-stroke and the dolphin kick if they’ve had lessons from an early age.  The STA recommends that children learn butterfly from the age of 7.

Dr Swim teaches complete beginners through to competent child swimmers, either individually or in small groups.  In consultation with parents a swim programme is devised to reach objectives and maximise the child’s swimming progression. 

Average lesson time is 30 minutes.

Dr Swim Junior also has a range of ‘bathtime tricks’ to help give toddlers confidence for their first visits to the pool.

Both Victoria and Marianne hold STA Beginner qualifications and National Rescue Safety certificates.

Dr Swim Junior's "Bathtime Tricks"

It’s never too early to start teaching babies and children to feel confident and happy in and around water - bathtimes really are the perfect place to practise.

Here are some easy and fun exercises for babies and toddlers to practise in the bath before their first swimming lesson:

Getting head and face wet
Some children don't like the feel of the water on their heads and faces initially. It's an important first step so turn it into a fun game:

  • Pour a watering can filled with water over their head.
  • Turn washing their face with water into a game or make up a song to go with it.
  • Squeeze a sponge over face and head - parent first, then child.
  • Babies and toddlers love a good splash, encourage them to splash so their faces get wet. This will help when they're in the pool.

Learning to hold the breath
A vital technique for swimming so the earlier you can practise this with them the better:-

  • The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) recommends using cue words. Try saying, ‘one, two, three, go!’ when water is put  on the face. Babies have a reflex action, so automatically hold their breath when water hits their face. In the future, you can use those words to help them hold their breath underwater.
  • Use this technique for toddlers too and do more by getting them to submerge their faces underwater.
  • Try placing toys at the bottom of the bath for toddlers to retrieve.

Floating on the back
One the basic skills for swimming and easy to practice at home:

  • Fill the bath with only a few inches of water, this helps the child to know that there is something solid right underneath.
  • Place one hand on the small of the back and tell them to push their belly towards the ceiling.

Water in their ears
This will save time and energy for future swimming lessons:-

  • Encourage your child to put ears in the water one at a time and make different noises under water.
  • Try this in the tub and make tapping noises under water and above.
  • Use spoons or toys to make different noises by tapping them together or on the bottom of the bathtub.
  • For toddlers get them to make their own sounds to listen to.

Blowing bubbles underwater
This is a great technique for building confidence and getting children used to blowing out underwater:-

  • Try "blow out the birthday cake candles" under water or "being a fish" underwater.
  • If you have a toddler, get them to wear some swimming goggles so they can see the bubbles when they blow.

Kicking legs on front 
An important  building block of swimming:-

  • Support their head out of the water and encourage them to make lots of little kicks.
  • Encourage long and straight legs, ankles "floppy" and toes pointed.

Kicking legs on back

  • Support their head out of the water and same as above.
  • Encourage them to splash from the toes but the keep the legs straight.
  • No knees coming out of the water.

‘Swim’ them in the bath
Important to give the young a “feel” for moving through the water:-

    • ‘Swim’ your baby up and down the bath, first on the back, supporting the head and bottom, then on the tummy, supporting chin and tummy.
    • If you have a toddler, ask them to lie on their front and back, hands on the bottom of the bath and gently bounce up and down to give the feeling of buoyancy.

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