I wasn't born in water like some babies are. But I certainly could have lived in it when I was young. Pool, lake, river, ocean. I'd take any of those, and for hours -- even days -- at a time. You too? It's no wonder, because kids dig water. And the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me - or Daddy and Me - classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. And lucky for us and our tots, there are classes galore all around the Southland. Last summer, we shared Six Great Private Swim Classes for LA Kids. And now we say go ahead and take the plunge alongside your wee one. Throw in the towel. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes. It's bubbling with possibilities.
Oh, but before you begin, we just want to clarify. There are many swim classes out there that intend to actually teach your baby to "swim," as in how to roll on their backs and float and do any other necessary function to stay safe if they were to, say, fall into a pool unattended. Babies from a young age can learn this. There are also classes that introduce babies and toddlers to the water, get them comfortable feeling the chill and the splash, and to maybe start to reach with their arms or kick their feet while supported, while teaching parents how to hold them safely and comfortably. Unless otherwise noted, we focus here primarily on these Mommy and Me water acclimation classes (that of course help the baby or toddler develop pre-swimming skills, and may include the introduction of survival skills).
And lastly, what to wear, what to wear? Well, a swim diaper, of course. Every place requires them, as they don't want unexpected, ahem, donations. KidSwim recommends the Finis Swim Diaper. Ever heard of it? Each diaper is reusable, costs a mere $9.99, and lasts for literally years (unless your kid outgrows it). Bye bye disposables! Also recommended, of course, is sun screen (for outdoor swim classes). Otherwise you're good to go.
Founded in the 1800s, the Young Men's Christian Association has provided affordable housing/boarding and general assistance to those in need (originally giving footing to those relocating to the city). Today YMCAs around the globe are open to all, regardless of religion, age or social class, and provide, among other things, safe and affordable recreation spaces, often with swimming pools. There are so many in the greater LA area, that we can't list them all. But we recommend locating the one nearest you, and inquiring about their swim classes. Here are a few to get you started: Hollywood Wilshire YMCA, East Valley Family YMCA, Torrance Southbay YMCA, Santa Monica YMCA.
Culver City Plunge
4175 Overland Blvd.
Culver City, CA
Seasonally, in 2-week sessions, 5 days/week (total of 10 classes); See schedule for more details.
Ages 6 mos. - 3 years
Emphasizing both fun and safety, the classes at The Plunge help babies and toddlers become acclimated to the water, learn breath control, and become swim-ready.
Locations in Mar Vista, Westwood, Hollywood, and Studio City
Ages 6-30 mos.
Choose from many arranged class offerings (schedule is available by Memorial Day at various private pools in the area), or gather a group of your favorite moms or dads and their babies, and create a class in your backyard pool or a friend's. The instructor comes to you. Maximum 8 babies and their parents, though 6 babies is the preferred number. As it takes two or three classes for babies and toddlers to start feeling comfortable in the water, Kidswim hopes you'll try at least 6 consecutive classes. Read the school's Developmental Swim Program description for more information.
Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy
5870 Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Ages newborn - 2 years
Ever have dreams of your child being in the Olympics? Maybe not yet. But take lessons here and you'll be that much closer to a four-time gold medal winner. Lenny Krayzelburg won medals in backstroke in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and now he runs an amazing swim school, with locations in Los Angeles and West Hills (see entry in "Valleys" below). Instructors teach "Parent-Tot" classes that help babies and kids become water safe by fostering a sense of confidence and independence. Sign up for a free initial evaluation lesson; sessions are then scheduled based on demand. The "Parent-Tot" classes are so popular that they are offered almost every day. Babies begin to learn the back float survival skill here.
Santa Monica Swim Center
2225 16th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Morning and afternoon classes offered Mon-Thu and on weekends.
$ (Residents are given priority and a discounted rate.)
Ages 6 mos. - 3 years
This pool is large and gorgeous and easily accessible from the Westside. Classes hope to make your tot love the water by teaching through games and songs - and bubble blowing, of course.
West Los Angeles College - Westside Extension
9000 Overland Ave.
Culver City, CA 90230
30-minute classes offered on Sat or Sun for 5 week sessions throughout the summer; see catalog.
Ages 6 mos. - 5 years
Whether your child is an infant or a competent toddler, West LA College has parent-and-me swimming classes to fit your needs. Take a dip with your baby or toddler, and share the joys of the water.
City of Manhattan Beach - Parks and Rec.
Foster A. Begg Pool
1402 North Peck Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
$ (Discounted rate for residents)
Ages 1-3 years
This class is not intended to teach your child to swim. Instead, it's all about safety and comfort in the water. And having fun, too. Sometimes the town pool is the perfect way to go.
South Bay Aquatics Swim School
2610 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
6 mos. - 3 years
Ongoing classes during the week and on weekends. Heated, indoor pools with a climate controlled dehumidification system to keep surrounding air comfortable and not too damp? What more could your baby ask for? That, and top-notch instruction. Your babies and toddlers will learn to feel at home in the water while they're held and guided by you.
25 Waterworks Way
Irvine, CA 92618
Other locations: Carlsbad, Beverly Hills, Huntington Beach and Sierra Madre
3 mos. - 3 years
Perhaps your infant or toddler has never touched pool water. Or perhaps he is becoming quite adept at kicking and splashing. Either way, this premier swim school's Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level offerings will delight and challenge your budding swimmer, and gradually encourage competence and independence in the water. Double swim diapers required.
Wild Child Water Play
29751 Crown Valley Pkwy.
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
45-min. classes offered 4 mornings/week, and on Sat. and Sun. See schedule.
Ages 6 mos. - 4 years
Using songs, games, and interactive play, with plenty of one-on-one instruction and ample time to practice, Wild Child's small classes help build confidence and a love of the water from a very early age. Infant/toddler as well as Advanced Toddler classes are offered. Disposable diaper and plastic pants required for swimmers under the age of 3.
Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy
New JCC @ Miliken
22622 Van Owen St.
West Hills, CA 91307
newborn - 2 years
We mentioned the Westside location above. But it's worth mentioning this school's Valley location, as both facilities are top-notch. The swim academy's philosophy is the sooner the better. Infants (and their parents) are welcome as soon as their belly buttons have healed from birth. And once the child is two, the Academy believes it's time for mom and dad to step aside in the water. Good stuff happens here. And above all the wee ones learn from the start that being safe and having fun in the water is a glorious thing. Sign up for a free initial evaluation lesson. Sessions are then scheduled based on demand. But the "Parent-Tot" classes here are so popular, they are offered almost every day. Babies begin to learn the back float survival skill here.
Rose Bowl Aquatics Center
360 North Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
Several 30-min classes offered mornings and afternoons, weekdays and weekends. Spring and summer schedules generally include parent and me classes.
6 mos. - 3 years
Believing that babies and toddlers swim when they are ready, the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center offers classes that meet the child where they are at by gradually and gently introducing water play and skills. Bond with your beginners through songs and simple games. Offer support and confidence to more intermediate swimmers as you help them develop water independence, all with the expert guidance from the Aquatics Center's instructors. Classes are offered all year round, in two Olympic size outdoor pools. Snacks and drinks are available inside.
Water Otters Swim School
Water Otters Private Pool (exact address given when registering)
Encino, CA 91436
$$ Private lessons also available.
Water Otters can also come to your private pool.
Water Otters knows that each baby and toddler is different, and so each will have a different reaction to the water. Some are bold and fearless, others are cautious and hesitant. No matter. The fun-filled classes are tailored to meet the needs of the children (and the parents!) in them. Learn to feel confident being in the water with your little one, and delight in watching them gain comfort and skill through fun instruction, games and play.