Family Life · Fitness

Swimming with Three!

Oh I was a sight, in the pool, swimming with three under 5’s! People must have thought I was completely bonkers and I think I probably was! But, I was determined that my kids would be far more confident swimmers than I was as a child. Consequently, they were in the pool as new-borns, with K (first born) after her initial jabs but with the others, I was advised it was safe to take them in sooner, so they were in from a few weeks old. I think you’ve got it right when your children don’t remember learning to swim, in the same way that they don’t remember learning to walk!

Buzymum - Swimming with three!

Though, I learned to swim as a child, it has never felt easy. With many of my friends being competent swimmers, I was swept along to a life-saving course, which absolutely petrified me but I’m so glad I did it! Later, I became a level 1 swimming teacher (another string to my bow of ‘sports coach’) and taught for a while in leisure centers and schools.

It’s all about being confident in the water. Children pick up on your fear and will then be afraid. If they go under unexpectedly, pull them up with a big smile and tell them how clever that was. If they see it’s no big deal, they’ll have a cough and possibly a huge guttural burp (hilarious when they are so little!) and carry on.

Buzymum - K learning to swim

Swimming with a new-born

Up to 5months old, babies have an automatic reflex to hold their breath when submerged, so this is the ideal time to do it. Remember, they were living in fluid not so long ago! A little trick I learned is to blow in their face just before submerging and also to use a vocal cue eg. Lucy ready, 1,2,3- then blow and submerge. Soon they hold their breath without the need for the blow. Even though I knew they would automatically hold their breath under 5months, I was more confident to submerge, seeing them take that last breath and close their mouths.

Buzymum - K enjoying the water with Daddy!

Swimming with a toddler and a new-born

We spent a lot of time on the steps of the baby pool playing with sinkers and poring water over Lou’s head. K (nearly 3) could just touch the bottom of pool and by this time she was water confident and could get back to her feet from horizontal. I wouldn’t recommend taking a toddler swimming for their first time on your own with a new-born. We used a noodle to get K swimming front and back while I followed her around with Lou on one arm, who loved the water and even fell asleep on occasion!

Buzymum - Swimming with 3!!

Preschooler, toddler and new-born!!

Most pools wont let you in with three under 8, even if they can swim. It seems ridiculous to me, as they will then allow any 8 year old or older completely unsupervised, whether they can swim or not! To get around this, I took the younger two, while K was in a lesson. This meant that we had to go in the big pool, consequently, the Boy was happy jumping in and swimming back to the side before he was 2. I would definitely recommend spending some time in a pool out of their depth, if they can’t touch the floor, they have to swim!

Having put the effort in early, now the Boy is 4, I can read a book by the pool on holiday, reassured by the knowledge that the kids are all safe in the water- bliss!!

Top tips:

  • Choose a warm pool- you will be doing a lot of standing/ sitting around!
  • Invest in a neoprene swim suit for your child- they are happier if they are warm!
  • Don’t forget swim nappies, but remember they aren’t water-proof, just designed to keep solid stuff in!
  • Best not to use armbands as these are restrictive and hinder swimming. Ideally, avoid floatation aids that attach to the child and instead use a noodle tied in a knot for babies or under armpits for toddlers and older. Noodles enable a better swimming position in the water (more horizontal than upright) while keeping them at the surface.
  • Use pool toys (sinkers, floaters, watering cans etc) to distract, entice and bribe!
  • Float jackets are great for holidays, when the kids are playing in the pool but not for learning to swim as they encourage an upright (rather than horizontal) position in the water.
  • Invest in a towel dressing gown for you (you’ll get them for the kids but forget yourself!)- put it on as soon as you get out (you are now warm), dry and dress the kids, give them snacks, you are now dry and can dress in peace while they eat!
  • Take snacks for changing – a must especially when you end up having to feed the baby in the changing room because it’s ‘one of those days’!

Do you have a handy tip to share? Have you attempted swimming with three or more young children?




19 thoughts on “Swimming with Three!

    1. I know! I hate being told what I can and can’t do, when I know my children are safe. I suppose there are parents out there who would put their child at risk but, as always, those few spoil it for the rest of us!! x


  1. Such great tip here! We have started taking my daughter swimming, she loves it! I couldn’t imagine doing it with more than one child though haha, oh my nerves! x


    1. Once one is competent, it’s so much easier with the others! Holidays are so much more enjoyable when they are all water-confident. Good luck! x


  2. I think learning to swim is such an important life-skill as it can be life-saving.

    I learnt to swim at a very young age and was a member of a swimming club until my teens. Rowan was five months old when he got in the pool and has been swimming once a week with Water Babies since then and sometimes we take him to a second swimming session just as a family. He loves it and at 20 months is really confident in the water.

    Laura x


  3. Great tips! My son is now six months and I still haven’t taken him yet!!! I really must, especially as his sister loves swimming lots! Xxx


  4. I have four children and swimming is hard work, especially given the fact that the youngest three are each just twelve months apart. Taking a newborn, a 1 and a 2 year old was probably the toughest, and most stupid, thing I have ever done! Now at 2, 3 and 4 it’s still a nightmare, thankfully my eldest can dress himself, but the changing room part is HELL! #fabfridaypost

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really a good article. I also encourage my kids to swim at a very young age. Ethan started when he was only 2 months old but Evelyn was later – a year one when she started. That didn’t matter though as she was just copying what Ethan was doing and wanted to swim like him! I like your check list too. Great advice!
    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    Liked by 1 person

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