Learning to swim is a life-changing childhood event. It could be a touching memory of a loving parent supporting your body just below the water’s surface or a traumatic one of being thrown into the cold pool by your impatient siblings. These days, learning how to swim can be as much a milestone as learning how to walk or use a spoon and fork. It’s a practical skill that can be taught to babies as young as 5 months old.
Parents like to think that all babies like swimming but that’s not true. Some babies might not enjoy the pool, but get a kick out of the beach or vice versa. The point is, you won’t know until you try so it’s probably a good idea to just buy on a per session basis if it’s offered.
In Madrid, there are several clases de matronatación, or baby swimming classes, available almost all year round. The weekend swimming classes seem to be popular with the dads; it’s a great chance for them to bond with their babies, while moms can take a break or watch from the sidelines.
You’ll need a swimming cap for yourself (and the baby in some places), towels and a swim diaper at a bare minimum. I’d recommend getting absorbent robes to get you both warm and dry right our of the water as well as rubber slippers or Crocs.
Here are some places that offer swimming classes for babies but keep in mind that your local Centro Deportivo Municipal might have classes too. Not all have pools that can be heated enough so that it’s comfortable for babies or might have a minimum age (typically 3 years old).
Bahía Madrid offers a matronatación class for ages 6-23 months. Each class is 30 minutes long and there is one monitor per group of 4 children. One parent must accompany each child in the pool, which is a heated indoor pool that can be viewed from an observation area if the non-participating parent wishes to look on.
Classes are sold in monthly packages of once, twice or thrice weekly sessions.
Baby Swim has a baby swimming course for 5-month to 3-year-olds. Each class lasts 30 minutes and there are 5 children per monitor.
Babies are divided into groups according to their level: 0, 1 and 2. Parents must participate in the first two levels but may watch from outside the pool when the child reaches the third level.
The course consists of 20 classes completed within 2 months. After that, Baby Swim offers monthly rates of once or twice a week for practice.
The matronatación classes offered by Orgaz Nursery School are for children between 5 months and 2 years old. Classes are 30 minutes long and parental participation is required.
I've been living in Madrid since 2007, married to a madrileño since 2008, and mom to our son since 2011. Tech is my thing. I love salmorejo, matrimonios and cazón adobado. I don't watch football.
Image Credits: Tilman Zitzmann