I couldn’t imagine not having swum with N from a young age. My own journey with learning to swim was very up and down from age 5 to 7, and the OH isn’t keen on swimming, so I wanted to make sure N was capable of swimming as a child. We started his lessons at 3 months old along with most of my NCT group in a Water Babies class together.
In the 5 1/2 years he’s been to swimming lessons, we’ve had an emotional roller coaster. As a baby he was ambivalent about the water, but was happy enough being moved around in the water. But when he started cruising and trying to walk, we hit a year of water wobbles where he moaned every lesson and refused to join in. The support from our teacher was amazing. We were put in touch with another parent who went through the same thing with one of her boys. But one day it miraculously just clicked and suddenly he was back enjoying the water instead of clinging to me. Of course, N being N still wanted to do it in his own way and time.
By his graduation from baby and toddler swimming he was still the only one in the class not to swim 10 metres unaided. Then N went into normal children’s swimming lessons. A lot of Water Babies find it hard swimming on top of the water rather than underwater, but N didn’t have that problem.
A year later, he’s still not swimming without a swim belt. After Water Babies where they go in the water without a float belt, it was a surprise to him. (they couldn’t touch the bottom of the pool when he first changed lessons hence the float belt, plus it helped with body position). N is definitely a natural sink rather than swim child unfortunately. But I’m optimistic he’ll get there. The aim is to be able to swim reasonably well on back and front by the time he’s going to swimming lessons with school in another year’s time.in year 2.
My best memory and the moment I’m most proud of in N’s swimming journey is the move to these swimming lessons. That meant he’d be in the pool on his own for the first time.
I was worried about him wearing a swim belt for the first time.
Agreeing to wear a swimming hat.
Taking part in all activities.
But there was no need to worry. N sat on the side before the lesson with his new swimming buddies, answered the register, and in the pool he did every single thing asked of him. Even star floats which he had always refused in toddler swimming lessons. All with a smile on his face. Every change in the lessons he took in his stride.
I think not having me with him in the water gave him confidence. Riding his bike well has also helped strengthen his legs so he’s got a really good kick now.
I thought it would take a long time for him to move up a level, but this year he and 2 others were moved up to level 3. He’s the only one in his class with a float belt still (we’re down to 2 bars, and I’m hoping after swimming in half term, we might be able to remove another bar), but he’s been doing really well, even with learning all of the technical stroke components. We just need to get him swimming without his float belt, and for him to continue swimming rather than giving up after a few strokes.
The biggest transition has been how much N loves going swimming now. After the year of swimming hell as a toddler, his reaction to going in the pool on his own has been a revelation. N really enjoys the water, works hard in his lessons, and wants to improve. I’ve enjoyed being able to have that bond while he’s been learning. Oh, and he always asks to go swimming in the school holidays which isn’t always as possible as he thinks given we usually holiday in the UK without pools.
How did your children take to switching between baby classes going in the pool with you, to switching to normal children’s swimming lessons without you?
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