Many of my childhood holiday memories seem to involve swimming pools or the sea. We must have been lucky with the weather because most of them were outdoor pools, and usually in the north of England! Obviously our skin must have been made from wet suits as we splashed about for hours and I don’t remember ever being bothered by the cold!
We all learnt to swim around the time we started school or a little later. I was never a fantastically fast swimmer but had a good style and enjoyed it. I think swimming is a fantastic way to keep fit and in shape and is a great stress reliever when you just want to work off some energy!
I was keen for my own children to learn to swim and feel water confident and started our first born, Ethan, at waterbabies when he was four months old. If I am honest with myself the main reason behind it was because I wanted the underwater picture of him! Anyway, that didn’t happen as on the day of the shoot he was teething or something and generally not very happy so we didn’t go ahead with it. I returned to work shortly afterwards and we stopped the lessons but continued to take him swimming every couple of weeks.
Our second son, Noah (who was born into water at home!), was much more obliging and when I started taking him to waterbabies he had a great photo shoot and we carried on the lessons for about a year. At this point he could climb out of the pool and wallk off so we stopped the lessons and I take him (admittedly a little less often) myself.
At our local council pool children can start to have lessons on their own when they are three years old. In preparation for this I took Ethan in the months leading up to his third birthday to the lessons where the parent goes in with the child. He would spend the whole of the lesson diving underwater and clearly had water confidence! The teacher wasn’t too impressed as she was trying to teach them to swim on top of the water! At five years old he is still having swimming lessons (he stopped for around nine months when he had grommets in his ears) and is doing really well. He has just got his 25 metres badge for swimming the whole length of the pool on his back! Proud mama moment!
Last week I decided on the spur of the moment to enrol Noah for swimming lessons although he was a week off his 3rd birthday (and without the initiation of lessons with me before) as they are the same time as Ethan’s lessons. He was very excited about it and I was confident he would be fine especially as there were only two others in the class. He got in the pool and looked to be doing well with his very patient teacher, Josh, and the other two children. After about 10 minutes he turned up by my side..”don’t like it mummy” he said “Noah wants to go home, don’t like it”. I was quite surprised as he is a real water baby and I had never had this issue with Ethan but, when Noah makes his mind up he is usually quite determined! Anyway, after a little coaxing (and I have to say a little flirting from the 3 year old girl in his class!) he was back in the pool doing really well.
I hope they both continue to enjoy the water and learn to swim confidently so we can all have relax and make some special memories of water fun!
This post is for the BritMums Joy of Swimming Competition, sponsored by British Gas, as part of the British Gas Free Swims for Britain programme. Visit British Gas now to swim for free. The offer is valid until 30th August 2012.