Ages4 months – 3+ years
WaterBabies is a guided water experience using songs and games to build confidence, develop motor skills, and teach personal water safety to parents and children. Waterbabies uses a gentle, loving, child-centered approach where "play is learning and learning is play." We partner with parents in the aquatic education of their child to create a successful water experience. (Parent participation required.)
Ages3 years – 12 years
We use a child-centered teaching approach focused on water adjustment, personal safety, basic survival skills, and basic through advanced swim techniques. Our highly trained instructors work with students to develop a harmonious relationship with the water. They build a strong foundation for the strokes by introducing breathing exercises, correct body alignment, building core body strength, and propulsion.
Our Adult Aquatics program is centered around your goals as an adult swimmer. Whether you are fearful and uncomfortable as you approach the water, comfortable with submersion but need instruction around swimming strokes, or just looking to refine and perfect your technique, our lifelong learning curriculum helps you increase your confidence, boost your skills, and achieve your swimming potential!
NEW FAMILY PREPARATION
Thank you for choosing Waterbabies!
Our year-round classes are based on Perpetual (continuous) Enrollment. This means once you’ve enrolled your child in a class, they will be able to keep their time slot as long as needed, and as long as the class exists. They will automatically continue each month unless they are promoted to another level or we are given proper notice of withdrawal. Classes meet once per week. If you are new to our program, though not required, we highly recommend committing to a minimum of 3 months to truly start to see the benefits.
New WaterBabies families will need to begin during the first week of the month (second week is okay.) If a new family enrolls after the second class in the month, they will be notified via email that their start date will be pushed to the following month.
For more on this, please see our Policies and FAQ sections, linked at the bottom of this page (and all pages) within our website.
Where to Start
To determine which class to enroll your child in, please take our online New to Waterbabies Swim Level Assessment:
Policies & Guidelines
Before joining our program, all new families are required to read through Waterbabies Enrollment Policies, Fees, Make-up Policies, and Health Guidelines. As part of the enrollment process, you will be asked to acknowledge these polices, in addition to signing liability and photo/video waivers, when you set-up your Waterbabies Parent Portal.
Supplies Required for Class
Most of the below required items can be purchased directly from the Waterbabies online store. All purchases made will be delivered to your next class whenever possible. To help ensure you receive your products in a timely manner, online orders must be placed at least one week before your next class.
REQUIRED for all children under 5 years of age – even if potty-trained.
Acceptable swim diapers: Reusable, coated cloth swim diapers with elastic around the waist and legs. Elastic should fit snugly in order to prevent solid waste from leaking into the pool. See acceptable examples at our online store.
Unacceptable swim diapers: Disposable diapers, diapers with widely-spaced snaps, wrap-arounds, diapers with ties, or diapers with velcro. If you show up with these kinds of diapers, you will not be allowed to swim in class. (Note: The iPlay brand with snaps is permitted because the snaps are spaced tightly together.)
REQUIRED for all parents participating in WaterBabies (parent-tot) classes once your child is going underwater. These should be clear lens goggles so your child can see your eyes underwater.
REQUIRED for all children in WaterBabies 2 (18-36 mos) and higher level classes. These should be clear lens goggles, labeled with your child’s name.
Highly recommended for anyone (parents or children) with hair below their ears. They help keep hair out of faces and help keep pool water clean and clear.
REQUIRED for everyone! Don’t forget to bring your own towels to dry off as well as cover up to keep warm transitioning from pool to changing room.
REQUIRED for children in WaterKids 6 or higher. These should be labeled with your child’s name.
Wetsuits / Core Warmers
Highly recommended for children taking classes in the lap pools (WaterKids 6 & higher) due to the cooler pool temperatures. We recommend shorty wetsuits at 2mm thickness; these can be purchased from Amazon. (Note: Wetsuits are not needed at the Renton pool due to the warmer temperature.)
Facility Rules & Info
Waterbabies partners with several area locations where we hold our classes. We ask that all families participating in our classes kindly respect each facility’s rules and adhere to their policies, as we are all guests.
Sign-in: Check-in/ sign-in at the front desk upon arrival for each class.
Towels: Bring your own towels.
Shower: Shower before entering the pool.
No Food/Drinks: Do not bring food or open beverages in the pool area.
Glass: No glass containers of any kind are permitted in locker rooms or on pool deck.
Basic Tips & Pool Etiquette
First-Timers: Please arrive 20-30 minutes early on your first day of class to check in, acquaint yourself with the facility, and get ready for class.
Come Prepared: We recommend you arrive at class with your swimsuit underneath your clothes.
Before WaterBabies Classes: We ask parents to wait on the benches/chairs at the side of the pool for your class to begin. Do not allow your child to wander on the pool deck or sit on the side of the pool splashing and kicking (this is distracting to the class that is still going on). When the class before you starts singing the ‘Goodbye Song’ that is the cue to come to the side of the pool and sit with your child to get ready for safe entry.
During WaterBabies Classes: Please stay with your class. If you need to move away to help calm your child, please let the instructor know.
Before/After WaterKids Classes: When children are in classes without a parent, at least one adult must stay on the pool deck during the class. If it’s too hot or crowded to wait in the pool area, at the very minimum, an adult must accompany swimmers on deck until they are safely in the water with their instructor, and return to meet them on deck 2-3 minutes before the end of their class.
Shouting: Do not shout instructions to your child from the side of the pool while they are in class. It is essential to allow the teacher to lead activities without interruption.
Pool Use: Enter and exit the pool promptly at the start and end of your class. The pool is for class use only. No open swim is allowed during lesson time unless otherwise posted.
At-Home Practice: It is important to practice the skills you learn in class at least one additional time each week – either at a pool or in the bathtub.
Tips for Success
Your Attitude: Swimming lessons with your child will be one of the happiest and most rewarding experiences of your life, and your attitude is infectious. Talk enthusiastically about “going to the lesson” and “seeing” the instructor outside of class. Your child may not understand your words but the happiness is contagious. Your body language and tone of voice is letting your baby/child know how you want them to respond to the water. The 30-45 minutes of uninterrupted playtime and direct attention to your child during class is an opportunity for rich connection and joy, so have fun!
• Your child’s main mode of learning is play. Play is learning and learning is play!
• Smile and laugh a lot. Your body language and tone of voice is letting your baby/child know how you want them to respond to the water.
• If you are fearful of the water, we suggest you join an adult swim class to work through your fears. If you are wary or uncomfortable in the water, your child will feel it and respond the same way, which undermines the purpose of you being in class.
• Be aware of your language; avoid negative talk in front of your child.
• Encourage your child to try new things.
• Empathize with their potential, not their fears.
• Model what you are asking your child to do: go underwater, blow bubbles, hide your eyes in the water, etc.
• Make eye contact with your child. Tell your child what you are going to do next.
• Allow your child to explore and be independent. They can safely discover what doesn’t work as well as what does.
• Enthusiastically try each skill that is introduced in a lesson at least three times.
• TELL, DON’T ASK: Don’t ask your child (especially 2-year-olds) questions such as “do you want to…?” The only answer to a question about something unknown is “No.” Instead, phrase it as a statement: “Now we are going to…”
• Don’t compare children – every child is different and goes at their own pace.
Your Child’s Attitude: Remember… everything changes. What your child does not like one day can easily become a favorite thing in the future! Crying is the only way a child can express what is going on for them (surprise, disappointment, hunger, or any number of things). It does not necessarily mean he/she doesn’t like the swim lessons. If your child becomes upset during class, stop what you’re doing, hold them close, and soothe them with your voice and touch. If your child continues to cry in class, talk with your instructor and ask for some strategies that can help. Some children are over-stimulated by the noise and new people at first, which usually subsides over time.