AS someone with fond memories of family holidays entered around the swimming pool I kind of take it for granted that children learn to swim at a young age. I can remember jumping into the water, splashing around on lilos and generally having a good time.
As I got a bit older, swimming became more than just fun and I joined a local club, making my way up through the ranks to the top lane within a few months. I learned to dive off the starting blocks, mastered butterfly stroke and competed regularly. I was a late starter to the club, not joining until I was 14, but believe my rapid progression was down to my confidence in the water, which I gained at a young age.
So I was shocked recently to find out that 49 per cent of parents don’t actually teach their children to swim. Research by Baby Swimming Shop also shows that almost half of children can’t swim a length of the swimming pool by the time they leave primary school at the age of 11 – this is quite worrying as not only is swimming a great family activity, but it could prove to be a life-saving skill. The reasons given ranged from not having time, to the cost of lessons, body confidence, and even a lack of clean changing facilities, which is a worry in itself!
The majority of parents who do teach their children to swim, said they start lessons before their little one’s first birthday – and this is where we fit in. I was so keen to sign Santi up, and he was 12 weeks old when we first took to the water together. It might have been a rocky start, but now his favourite thing to do as a family is go swimming. He’s already quite confident in the water and we had to buy him arm bands to give him more freedom as he refuses to be held.
I have to admit though, it has been trickier to get to the pool with Ezra (poor second baby) … fitting in lessons between nursery drop-offs and pick-ups, or arranging extra childcare for Santi has made it difficult. I do hope we manage to work around this as I’d love for him to have the same love of swimming as Santi.
We’ve had such a positive experience of swimming with Santi that when we were delighted to be approached by Baby Swimming Shop to take part in an ebook encouraging parents to swim with their children. Along with some other parent bloggers, we’ve shared our stories and tips for people wanting to take to the water with their youngsters. There are also some great tips from swimming instructors to help parents who maybe aren’t that confident themselves.
So have a little look and see if you pick up any tips to make your first trip to the pool less stressful!