Learning to swim and having water confidence were always things I considered really important when I became a parent. My parents invested a great deal of time and effort getting me to learn to swim as a child, and I am very grateful for that.
My dad swam with me every Sunday morning, challenging me to go further and further each week, throwing me around in the water, splashing my face and so on. There weren’t baby swimming classes back then, but once I was old enough for lessons at the local pool I went there.
Learning to swim meant that I had another life skill, it meant I could take part in all sorts of other activities, enjoy family holidays and friends swimming parties. Most of all it meant that whilst I learnt to understand the dangers of the water, I was never frightened of it.
Baby swimming classes were something that I wanted to do from my early pregnancy with my first child. I picked up leaflets for both Waterbabies and Puddleducks at a baby show when I was pregnant, along with a Splash About swim nappy. These are superb and I’ve since used them with all my children, as well as their wet suits, which keep them that bit warmer.
I took my daughter to Puddleducks whilst I was on maternity leave but after returning to work we switched to Waterbabies as the times were better suited to us.
It was a similar thing with my second child, Puddleducks initially and then a switch to Waterbabies.
They both continued to around 2.5 years. Whilst lessons continue way beyond that and although both the children loved the water, they resisted the structure of the classes at that age and we opted not to continue.
They had learnt: to love the water; enjoy playing in the water; not to be afraid of being under the surface of the water; to hold their breath under the water; close their eyes on cue; to hold on to the side; to climb out on their own; to kick in the water; and to balance on a float and kick themselves along. It was well worth the cost and the effort.
My third child again began with Puddleducks and we continued with this until he was about 13 months. Again, he loved the water but he was already beginning to resist the structure of the lessons and it did not seem helpful to continue.
By the time we needed to arrange baby swimming classes for our youngest little man, we didn’t have many options available, due to the fact that there are not really any options for containing a toddler whilst you take part in a baby swimming class with a newborn. We came across Turtle Tots which has worked well time wise.
Having tried three different companies for baby swimming lessons I can say that they are much of a muchness. There are subtle differences between them and some cost variations as well, but they all focus on water confidence and life-saving techniques, they all create opportunities for babies to go under the water and there are even opportunities for an underwater photo shoot .
Whilst they had a break from formal lessons as toddlers, the children have always enjoyed swimming as a family. This has applied when we are at home or on holiday.
The big kids started lessons at the local pool as they turned 4 and the have progressed at a superb rate. Our eldest now swims in a swimming club and for school. By the time the little boys were ready to start lessons they had created a pre-school class so they have been every week since they turned three.
Investing in baby swimming classes was really worth it. They all love the water, they are confident and they all know what to do if they get into difficulty.
Have you taken your children swimming from an early age? How are they in water?