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Swim At Home

The bathtub is a great place to begin your aquatic adventures!

Swimmers often need about 8 – 10 swimming lessons to acclimate to the aquatic environment. Using our water acclimation skill sets at home, you can eliminate most of the tears, fears, and tension associated with the first few swim lessons.

These skills are to be practiced in a relaxed environment with a willing swimmer. Please respect their need to stop if they are not enjoying the swim!

Ready for your swim? Here is what you need:

  • Happy baby
  • Lukewarm Bath water
  • No Soap or Bubbles
  • Small Cup (we refer to these as "Rain Cups"
  • Towel

Rain Cups {learn breath control}

Watch your baby’s face as you practice this skill. Your baby will begin to show signs they recognize your verbal cue such as closing their eyes, squinting, flinching, closing their mouth, thrusting their tongue, or spitting.

  • Fill a small cup with water.
  • Count “1, 2, 3,” and say, “eyes wet!”
  • Gently sprinkle the water over the back of your baby’s head, and eventually over their eyes and mouth, as well.

Once your baby is comfortable with breath control with a cup submersion on a verbal cue, they are most likely ready to be submerged for up to five seconds.


Soothing Sways {relaxation, buoyancy, and balance}

Look for a relaxed body, a small burst of movement in the legs and/or arms, and smiles!

  • Cradle-hold your baby and support their head and neck.
  • Slowly lower your baby bottom-first into the water.
  • Extend your arms until the water is covering your baby’s shoulders.
  • Begin swaying, slowly and gently, back and forth in the water.
  • Let the water flow over your baby’s body in steady movements.
  • Sing a song or use a rhyme to signal the beginning and end of each sway set.

Once your baby is relaxed and comfortable with water sways, they are ready to begin the rest of the water acclimation skill sets in the bathtub or in a warm pool!

Ear dips {relaxed back floats}

Look for signs of relaxation, such as palms facing down, head laying back in the water, relaxed feet and legs, or steady breathing and/or talking.


  • The bathtub should be filled with only a few inches of water for this skill.
  • Support your baby by placing your palm on the lower part of their neck and the other hand on their chest.
  • Slowly and gently lay your baby back in the water until their ears are fully submerged.
  • Once your baby is submerged, count, “1, 2, 3.” You may also increase the count as your baby relaxes.


  • If your toddler is able, practice self-ear dips while they are on their back. This skill signals aquatic relaxation and quickly leads to independent back floats in a pool setting.
  • While they are on their back, encourage your toddler to place their elbows on the bottom of the bathtub.
  • Slowly lower their ears to submersion. The ear submersion should last at least ten seconds.

Once your baby is comfortable submerging their ears for more than 10 seconds, they are ready for an independent back float and survival kicks on their back in the pool!

Self-Submersion {underwater acclimation and extended breath control}

Look for bubbles and underwater acclimation and extended breath control

  • The bathtub is a great place to begin early submersions as students feel in control of their environment and are comfortable experimenting with new skills.
  • Encourage your baby to lie on their tummy in the bathtub.
  • Practice blowing bubbles, dipping their nose, and dipping their eyes.
  • Once your baby is confident enough to dip their eyes, encourage extended submersion by placing toys or other objects under the water for them to retrieve.

Once your baby submerges on their own, they are ready for seated dives with glides into the pool!

These skills are to be practiced in a relaxed environment with a willing baby. Please respect their need to stop if everyone isn’t enjoying the swim!