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Swimming – It’s time to learn!

by MayTM
Posted on 23 April 2014

My children were exposed to water play since they were 3 months old. However, it was not consistent and their approach to water is very minimal (despite having a pool in the comfort of our housing area).

Finally, with much coaxing from a family friend, my husband and I decided to enrol both my children, age 49 months and 21 months (then) in a swimming program. We actually hesitated because this program involves attending a ‘one to one’ 15 minutes lesson for a minimum of 4-5 times per week. That would be pretty taxing ferrying the children to and fro, not to mention the classes are in the afternoon. However, we realized that swimming is a very important skill that our children should learn.

At infancy, the benefits are steered more towards survival, understanding the importance of water (reducing the likeliness of wandering into dangerous situations), improving their overall development (mentally and physically) and building confidence. At adulthood, it is a great form of exercise that protects the joints and improve body tone which can be practiced until old age.

In the beginning (first 10-20 lessons), both our kids were not comfortable in the water. This is due to my elder child, Ryan being terrified of submerging his head under water although he enjoys water play. Since he is more vocal, he continually makes excuses, trying to ‘avoid’ lessons. Of course, these fell onto deaf ears.  Lessons went on despite all the whining and crying (don’t worry, we were not forcing him, just merely, encouraging…..hehehe).  He is very much trapped in his comfort zone. But his instructor was very consistent, guiding him with the right method and helping him overcome his fear of going underwater. Right after about 30 odd lessons, my son could swim! Actually, they don’t really learn how to swim in proper strokes. The technique is a sequence of swimming until they need air, rotating onto the back to float, then rolling back over to continue swimming. He could swim from the 4ft depth to the 10ft depth end and that is a distance of about 10 meters! I am one proud mummy smile

As for Alyssa, she did pretty well in the beginning;  she was comfortable enough to stay afloat with a buoyant jacket for quite a bit. Then even without a swimming aid she could stay afloat. There were some resistance at some point in the duration of the lessons and about the same time as Ryan, she too managed to swim in a similar sequence as Ryan. However, due to her age and motor development (of a 2 year old), she was not able to roll face down in the water.  Nevertheless, she is happy and confident being in the water and could stay afloat easily for 5-10 minutes.

By the end of an exhausting 1.5 months of intensive lessons, my children love the water. They pester us to go to the pool in the evenings especially the weekends and even on days that they have had their lessons! The confidence level they have gained is truly priceless. Although they know how and what to do in the water, they still need to be supervised. One should not leave a child swimming alone, regardless of whether they have attained the skill to swim. Besides a precious skill learnt, we bond even better with them; enjoying fun Sunday mornings by the pool.

Sharing here are some pictures of them in ‘action’!

Pic 1: Aly staying afloat (note she is so relaxed; she even crossed her feet!! But eventually she was taught to release the lock and learned to kick).

Pic 2: Balancing on the noodle float, ‘horsey ride’. Apparently,  it is not easy to balance on this at young age.

Pic 3: Aly just jumped and rolled on her back.

Pic 4: Ryan swimming.

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