Well, our brand ambassadorship has come to a close and to say I am a little sad about that is an understatement. I am the first to admit that my attitude towards baby swimming hasn’t been the most positive in the past. When I had Jake, I thought people were crazy to pay out for a newborn to go swimming, for making the time and effort to go to a class when they were so sleep deprived and for getting their babies to swim under the water, all I could think was ‘how will this benefit them?!‘
There have been a lot of times in my life where I’ve had to eat my words so I am used to it by now but since learning what a Turtle Tots class has to offer my baby I will not only sit here and say I was wrong but I also admit that I feel very guilty for not enrolling my first born all those years ago.
As you will have read from my first post, William took to the lessons like a fish to water (or should that be turtle?!) He surprised me so much because we had only taken him swimming once before and it was all a little overwhelming for him. But I guess that is the main problem with large, public pools and this is where our swimming lessons differ. Hook pool is private. The water is beautifully warm, the setting is quiet and relaxed and everybody there is in the same boat. You are provided with a safe environment for your baby to learn in and with a friendly teacher who they grow to adore. When you get this spot on, you just watch your baby develop their skills so quickly.
Since my last update, William has come on leaps and bounds. We had a break over the summer holidays which meant that we really missed our time in the pool but you would never have known when he got back in! He slid straight back into the routine and after 4 more weeks of lessons you could tell that he knew what was coming next.
So what can he now do?
William can wait until he is safely brought into the pool. He understands that he is to sit on the float with the teacher until I can lift him in. He completely understands the phrase ‘hold on’ and will grasp the side of the pool with both hands.
William will now quite happily come to me under the water and there are no tears afterwards. He attempts to blow bubbles in the water to copy me and his favourite activity is to chase the fish and grab it (mostly because it is so nice to chew on!)
He is happy to go to the teacher and will allow her to demonstrate a move with him, sometimes it’s hard to get him back!
He also adores looking at his friends in the pool and playing with them. They are all starting to recognise one another and it definitely helps with their water confidence.
How is it all taught?
The use of phrases are very important in all of the lessons and act as cues to the babies. For instance, we will say ready, steady, splash and then splash our baby into the water from the side. William anticipates this and gets quite excited at the splash part! We also always ask the baby to do something and of course if they don’t seem like they want to that day that is absolutely fine. For example, they are asked if they want to join you under the water. A willing baby will let go of the teacher and come to you. We have been encouraged to use certain phrases at home in the bath too, like ready, William’s face getting wet, then Mummy’s face or even Jake’s face:
The course is tailored to the baby’s age and development. Each week we use repetition, fun, songs, games and plenty of kisses and cuddles to reassure them. When they see that you are happy in the water, they mirror that behaviour. At no point do we make a fuss if they dunk their heads in accidentally, we don’t apologise for splashing, we use positive words and body language and the teacher praises them during all of the activities.
Benefits for both of us
Not only has it been good for William, it has also been good for me. Swimming each week gives me something to look forward to. When I’ve had little sleep or feel a bit low, swimming will always make me feel so much better and I think we overlook ourselves far too much when we become parents. Activities that improve both of your moods are great to find and swimming has certainly done that for me. It has also provided routine for William which he really needed as so much revolves around his older brother, especially now that we have the daily school run. This is time just for him and time just with Mummy.
Well, it is safe to say that we love it and as he has come on so, not only have I signed him up for the next term I have also enrolled his big brother who has already completed 4 weeks in an introductory class. Two very happy turtle tots in the family now!
If you are wondering what a class looks like and what goes on in that half an hour (quite a lot!) You can have a sneak peek into one with my latest YouTube video. For more information on classes in your area please visit www.turtletots.com
*We received a term of swimming lessons in exchange for blog posts and social media coverage of Turtle Tots lessons. All opinions remain honest and my own.
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