February 15, 2018

3 Water Skills Your Infant Should Learn Now

When is the right time to start swim lessons? This is a question many parents find themselves asking. At MIT Recreation, we believe that as early as 6 months of age is a good time to start introducing your child to the water and pool environment. For infants (18 months old and younger), this time is about water skills more than swimming skills, but these are important steps to take on the way to swimming. All classes at this age level are parent-child, and focus on water adjustment, building readiness, and building independence in the water.

There are three skills in particular that are important for your infant to learn at this stage. Each will help him or her to prepare for future swim lessons and learning.

Infant Water Skills

Skill 1: Getting Comfortable in the Water

Skill Description: Entering and exiting the pool as well as being in a large body of water without upset or panic.

Why is this skill important? This skill is really the foundation of all others. Once your infant is comfortable in the water, they will be relaxed enough to try skills and complete steps that are needed to learn swimming. Getting them acclimated now can be very beneficial when they begin preschool swim lesson levels and up.

Infant Water Skills

Skill 2: Getting Face wet

Skill Description: Poring, splashing or sprinkling water on their own face without hesitation.

Why is this skill important?  A child can be perfectly fine getting in and out of the water, but then hesitate when it comes to getting their face wet. Working to ease this hesitation at a young age helps build on general comfort in the water, as well as prepares for future skills. When your child reaches higher lesson levels, they won’t be as uncomfortable going underwater, getting splashed, or practicing any other skills that require them to submerge.

Infant Water Skills

Skill 3: Back Floating

Skill Description: Being able to float or relax while on their back.

Why is this skill important? Being comfortable on your back in the water is a challenge for many – children and adults alike – as they begin swim lessons. The earlier this position is introduced, the easier any discomfort is to overcome. Infants are already in the water at this stage with a parent or caretaker that they trust, which helps them learn with more confidence. This can also be a lifesaving skill someday.


Armed with these three important water skills, your infant will be more than ready to start swim lessons later on. Why not get a jump start on their comfort and safety in the water today?