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When N started at Water Babies, there wasn’t really any question of who would take him swimming. Largely because I was the one who had time off work and did everything with him, but also because the OH didn’t really feel that strongly about swimming lessons for babies and isn’t keen on swimming himself. Even on holidays, he’ll paddle but won’t really swim.
In our first swimming class, it mostly comprised our NCT class plus a couple of other mums and babies. Occasionally a dad would do the class to help out occasionally, but mostly it was mum time. Always good for the socialising aspect, but not so great when there’s 10 of you plus a baby in a tiny changing area changing while the previous class might be lagging behind and the next class might have arrived early.
We changed day, and again it was mostly mums, I suppose because it was a week day…most baby and toddler classes fall on a week day because it’s presumed that they’re not at school (and maybe that more parents stay at home with them), plus it means it would free up weekend lessons for older children for whom that’s the only possible time with the school week.
But now, having gone back to work full time, we swim on a Saturday. Luckily there were spaces on that day, as there must be a lot of demand for weekend classes, so we’re in a lesson with a very different composition of parents.
Because it’s a weekend, there’re a lot more dads in the pool with the children. Some classes have grandparents taking their grandchildren swimming, but our class is pretty much 50:50 dads to mums.
It does make for a very different class and one to definitely think about in terms of how differently the dads interact with the toddlers while in the water. Here are my observations and thoughts:
- On the plus side, there’s a lot more space in the changing room, even if the dad swims but the mum changes the toddler
- Another plus, chances are you’ve got an extra person coming along so they can take lots of photos. It’s only ever me, hence why my swimming posts are severely lacking in photos!
- The downside is the social side, however friendly, there’s only so much chit chat you do on the side of the pool while you wait with both adults in swimming costumes…funny situation in my opinion, compared to the chit chat you can get in the changing room itself. Obviously we’re there for the swimming, but the chatting is good too!
- In the pool, the dads do have a tendency to be wilder with their children. A couple of the dads will ‘chuck’ their toddlers around before the lesson starts, and the kids love it. One of the new mums also does this with her son practicing flips, but I reckon N would be petrified if I did that with him (he still hates going underwater). I wonder what it would have been like if his dad had come to swimming lessons with him, whether they’d have continued their horseplay from out of the water?
While N does love kicking, splashing and jumping in, we’ve never really done ‘fun’ mucking around stuff, it’s always been ‘swimming’ activities because we’ve not done a holiday to spend lots of pool time. Maybe that’s something we need to do so he can get used to the fun mad side of swimming as well as the safety and learning to actually swim.
Who takes your children swimming (those going in the water with their little ones)? What do you do help them have fun in the water as well as learning to swim?
(On an aside though, he did swim a full 10 metres just with a woggle this week, he’s quite a straight swimmer which is good – no point using up extra energy – and without really doing much with his arms, he motors quite fast for someone so little!)