Frequently Asked Questions

  When can we get started?
  How should we prepare for our swimming lessons?
  What if my baby doesn’t like the water?
  When will my baby swim?
  What should my baby wear for swimming lessons?
  When should I feed my baby?
  What should I do if my baby is ill?
  What qualifications do the swimming instructors hold?
  Can my partner come along to the swimming lessons?
  Do I need to be able to swim?
  How warm is the pool?
  How big are the swimming classes?
  Are private swimming lessons available?
  Can Daddy's bring their little one along to swimming lessons?
  Do you have swimming awards?
  My baby is 8 months old and has never been to baby swimming lessons before. I have taken them swimming myself and they love bath time, but which age group should they go in?
  My little one doesn't like floating on their back. What should I do?
  How do the Water Sprites swimming courses work? Will my baby move up to the next class after they've finished each course?
  My little one doesn't like woggles or swimming floats and I'm concerned that it may affect their progress. What should I do?
  What approach do you take with your swimming lessons?
  Will my child need to keep practicing what they have learned outside of swimming lessons?
  Where are your swimming lessons held?

When can we get started?
Babies can be introduced to swimming from birth onwards, which is in line with the most recent recommendations from the Department of Health. However this is largely dependent on what you are comfortable with. I often find between 6-8 weeks being a good age to begin.  Further details about introducing babies to swimming pools and immunisations can be found on www.nhs.uk. The current recommendation is that your baby does not need any immunisations before they go swimming, but if you have any concerns at all, please discuss these with your Midwife, Health Visitor or Doctor.

How should we prepare for our swimming lessons?
You can introduce your baby to swim-related practice at bath time. In fact, babies and parents who have incorporated swimming practices into their bath routine will be better prepared for baby swimming classes. Try floating your baby on their back, supporting their head and gently splashing water over their toes, legs, tummy, and neck.

What if my baby doesn’t like the water?
Each baby is different. A comfortable environment is always important, as is food, drink and nutrition. Parents of crying babies shouldn’t worry that their child doesn’t like the water, as there may be many other reasons as to their discomfort. They may be tired or hungry.  If your baby feels secure, and you can incorporate swim-related practices into your bathtime routine, then they may well look forward to their swimming experience next time.

When will my baby swim?
Many parents expect their babies to be able to swim soon after they start. Some infants may move freely in the water after just a few sessions, but it is rare that they will be able to swim unaided before they are at least two years old. Water Sprites swimming lessons focus on your little one acquiring a whole range of aquatic skills in a fun and gentle approach to swimming that ensures they are confident in the water. With the ongoing development of your little one’s strength and co-ordination, they may then go on to swim on the surface after the age of two years. The most important aspect of any baby swimming lesson is to have fun and relax, so remember to respect your baby's individual pace and give them plenty of love and praise.

What should my baby wear for swimming lessons?
Your baby must wear a double nappy system for swimming lessons. The inner one should be a snug fitting disposable swimming nappy that forms a good seal around the legs and waist. The outer one should be a non-disposable swimming nappy that fits closely enough to cover the disposable swim nappy underneath and form a complete seal over the top. You can purchase these from Water Sprites directly.  You should make sure that you bring an extra towel and some spare disposable swimming nappies as a soiled one will need to be removed immediately.

When should I feed my baby?
It is recommended that babies and toddlers are not fed in the one hour before their swimming lesson, but they may be particularly hungry afterwards with all of that exercise!

What should I do if my baby is ill?
Never bring your baby to swimming lessons if they have any form of sickness, ear, eye, nose, throat or chest infection, diarrhoea, chicken pox or measles. Wait until symptoms have completely cleared for at least 48 hours, or the doctor has given the all clear, before returning. When it comes to any medical condition, we ask that you always check with your doctor or other health practitioner before attending swimming lessons. If your baby has had inoculations on a swimming day, check with your doctor that they are alright to swim. Further details about vaccinations and taking babies swimming can be found on www.nhs.uk. Sometimes the distraction of going to their swimming lessons can help your baby forget about their injections!

What qualifications do the swimming instructors hold?
Liz is the owner of Water Sprites. She holds the STA Baby & Pre-School Aquatic Certificate, as well as the recent STA Level 3 Diploma for Baby and Pre-School, as well as STA Level 2 Award and SAT pool safety award. Liz and her team are DBS checked and First Aid at Work trained and have Safeguarding Children certificates. All her teachers are STA Baby & Pre-School trained as well as being trained by Liz personally in how to deliver Water Sprites lessons. Liz and her team are insured with the STA which includes public liability insurance.

Can my partner come along to the swimming lessons?
Due to health and safety reasons, only one parent is able to accompany your child in the pool during their swimming lessons. However, your partner is always welcome to come and watch you during your Water Sprites classes.

Do I need to be able to swim?
No – All of our pools are warm and welcoming, with no deep end, so you should be able to stand up comfortably in the water. Water Sprites swimming lessons can give water confidence to the parents as well as the babies and toddlers! If you would like to have private 1-2-1 swimming lessons for yourself, then please enquire as to the options.

How warm is the pool?
At Water Sprites we run all of our swimming lessons in warm private pools. The water and air temperature must be higher than for normal public swimming; at least 30c. We aim to make sure that our pools are no less than this so that everyone is relaxed and comfortable during their swimming lessons.

How big are the swimming classes?
Classes are kept small with no more than 6 babies or toddlers per lesson. The swimming lessons are very sociable and encourage parents to make new friends, enabling you to form friendships with those who share your love of water and swimming.

Are private swimming lessons available?
Yes - on occasions we can offer 1-2-1 private swimming lessons for those parents and/or children who are less confident or may prefer more intensive tuition(Note this dependent on swimming tutor availability at the time of enquiry).  If you would prefer to work closely with another parent and/or child, we can also work with you to achieve this.  For further details on costs of 1-2-1 swimming lessons please enquire as to the options.

Can Daddy's bring their little one along to swimming lessons?
Of course!  We love to see Daddy's attending our classes as much as Mummy's - it is an excellent way for them to bond with their baby, whilst having lots of fun too.  In fact we already have a few Daddy's who come along to our swimming lessons, and they love spending quality time with their little one in the water.  We welcome anyone bringing their baby or toddler along to swimming lessons - Grandma's, Grandad's, Aunties, Uncle's, best friends, etc (as long as they have parental consent of course).

Do you have swimming awards?
Yes – Once your little one has completed the swimming lessons in each programme, they will receive their own Water Sprites certificate as a colourful record of their achievements(badges and certificates can be purchased at a small extra cost at the end of each term)

Click on the 'Earn Your Water Wings' icon at the bottom of the home page to see our Baby Sprites, Bubble Sprites and Aqua Sprites awards for our swimming lessons.

My baby is 8 months old and has never been to baby swimming lessons before. I have taken them swimming myself and they love bath time, but which age group should they go in?
If your little one has never been to baby or toddler swimming lessons before, then it's important to get them familiar with the process and format of the lessons first to help improve their confidence and build on things at a gradual pace.  Everything will be new for them, so the swimming pool itself, the swimming positions we use, the words that we say and what they mean, the list goes on and on, and babies and toddlers love familiarity and repetition - that's how they learn!  So with that in mind, it is important to start them off in the younger class and see how they get on.  If they are happy and confident and progressing well, then there is no reason why they cannot move up to the next class, providing there is a space available.  If they are thriving, but the lesson is challenging enough and is at the correct pace for them, then it will be beneficial to leave them content and relaxed in that class. The decision really is up to your baby!

My little one doesn't like floating on their back. What should I do?

The well-known mantra that ‘you can’t swim if you can’t float’ is an essential starting point for all of our baby and toddler swimming lessons no matter what age they are, but the most important advice we can offer is to not force it. It is very common for children at any young age to not to like being on their backs, and while they are capable and skill ready, the children may not be mentally ready. Learning to swim should be a loving, enjoyable experience, and babies and toddlers should not be forced to do any swimming lesson skills against their will. If your child is communicating to you that they are not happy, then we need to respect that feeling. By keeping a child focused approach, your little one will learn to love swimming lessons and develop a life long love of the water. By forcing back floating (or any skill) on a happy child, it will only prolong the process of learning the skill. By forcing a skill on a little one, they will only learn to dislike the process of learning to swim instead of loving it, and loving it is what we all want!

How do the Water Sprites swimming courses work? Will my baby move up to the next class after they've finished each course?

Our swimming courses are designed specifically for the three different age groups (Baby Sprites 0-8 months, Bubble Sprites 8-18 months, and Aqua Sprites from 18 months upwards), which means that as your little one grows we are teaching the right things for them at the right time. It's all about them as individuals and what they can comfortably achieve at various stages as they grow!

We want them to be completely confident and content with what they are doing, so they feel challenged and learn new swimming skills when they are ready and able. Their happiness and enjoyment in the swimming pool is vital. More importantly we want them to be safe, so will only ever teach them new things when they are physically capable.

Whilst we use our age groups as a general guide, our courses are based on the ability and capability of each individual child in the swimming pool, so it may be that your little one stays in their current age group for an extra term. It is about them as individuals and what they can confidently achieve as safely as possible. Their safety is paramount and to ensure their wellbeing, both in the swimming pool and on the poolside, we will make sure that we put them in the best class for them to fully achieve their potential and keep them happy and water confident.

My little one doesn't like woggles or swimming floats and I'm concerned that it may affect their progress. What should I do?
Don't worry - this is quite common. I suggest you buy a swimming woggle or float for your little one to play with at home and also bring it along to the lessons if you like, so that they can get use to their own when it comes to rest and play time. Hopefully this familiarity with the swimming aids will enable them to overcome their fear.

What approach do you take with your swimming lessons?
All of our in-house training covers birthlight techniques, which have a strong emphasis on the overall well being of baby and parent with links to baby massage and yoga. Our teaching is based on word associations and repetition, and the instructor provides demonstrations for new skills.  The level of the skill is built up through the course and levels as your child grows and develops.

Will my child need to keep practicing what they have learned outside of swimming lessons?
If you can take them swimming yourself or with your family outside of lessons, then its a great way of building their confidence and spending quality time together. You will see in our lessons that swimming is not all about practicing the same thing over and over again. It's about having fun an incorporating swimming with a pleasurable experience that your child will want to do over and over again. Yes there are some practices that have to be done over again sometimes to reinforce them and make sure they are perfecting their skills, but the essential point is to break it up with a learn to swim game or a water skill and then go back to what you are doing. This prevents children from getting bored as well as yourself, so have fun!

Where are your swimming lessons held?
Our baby swimming lessons, toddler swimming lessons and child swimming lessons are held in Girton, Newark (Nottinghamshire), and Nettleham, Lincoln(Lincolnshire). For further details on the swimming lessons we provide and their times and locations, please click on our venue details and timetables pages (Please be reminded that these change regularly therefore may not be up to date, therefore please email enquiries@watersprites.co.uk for more accurate information).

Baby Sprites Under 8 Months

Baby Sprites 8-18 Months

Baby Sprites 18 Months +