I still cannot believe that we were lucky enough to be picked as this year’s Brand Ambassadors for Turtle Tots and I am very proud that we get to represent them. We have now completed three weeks of lessons so I thought I would let you have a peek at what we have been doing, what William is learning and our general thoughts of Turtle Tots swimming.
Our lessons are held in Hook, Hampshire with the Surrey and North Hants franchise. The pool is privately owned and even though my satnav didn’t like finding me the road to get in, it was easy enough to work out which turning I needed and once I glanced over at the gorgeous little barn I knew the pool must have been inside. After a quick nosey through the window, I could see I was right and couldn’t believe this hidden gem was only a short drive from my home!
With free on-site parking, two changing rooms, disabled facilities and a 10-metre pool heated to over 32°C it is perfect for baby and child swimming.
I was greeted by one of the admin team members, Jacqui, who welcomed us both, explained how the lesson would go, what facilities they had etc and then handed me the most wonderful bag of Turtle Tots Goodies including a towel, NeoNappy, BabyWarma and a backpack.
Once we were changed and William was kitted out in his fantastic new gear, we headed to the pool to meet our teacher, Viktoria and to finally see the lovely pool.
To enter the pool, William was placed on a large float whilst the teacher held him which means parents can get in easily and their babies can then be safely lifted in afterwards. The lesson started with a welcome and an explanation about how we would be learning by using song and movement plus incorporating lots of interaction and cuddles with our babies.
William loves the water and immediately took to the activities which included holding him in front of me and bringing him in towards me and back away, rocking him in the water from side to side, moving in circles with the other parent and being lifted out of the water to song. (oh, in some of the pictures you will notice he has removed his body warmer, this is because the water is just that beautifully heated that he actually became too hot. Rare problem, I know!)
Unfortunately, babies will be babies and tiredness and teething will always be issues but Viktoria was amazing and completely understood when he needed to stop for a cuddle, a bit of reassurance and even told me I could go ahead and breastfeed if need be. I loved how relaxed it all felt and that there was no pressure to make your baby ‘perform’ or be happy at all times. But she had one trick up her sleeve which worked a treat!… The watering can:
The main goal we are working towards is to get our babies to go under the water which means that each week we will be adding keywords and actions in order to improve their confidence. This week we were shown how to blow bubbles in the water as we guided our babies around on their fronts…
We were also shown how to pop water on their heads by using ourselves first, using cues and repeating it three times. Saying Mummy, ready, go and putting water onto my head and face and then William, ready, go and doing it to him shows him that I am ok to have it done and will make him understand what is coming by recognising the words.
The session ended with getting the babies to relax on their backs in the water– it is great for smaller babies but when you have a stubborn baby like mine who is determined to sit up at all times you can have a battle on your hands! However, with a little help from a mirror and then a float to allow me to lay back and swim too, it started to work…
It was just so lovely to have that time with William. As a second child I have been so aware of him being dragged to pre-school and back, to Jake’s clubs and being in and out of the car bless him, so it was just a nice chilled time for me and him to have some special one on one time.
This week I was greeted by Rachel, the franchise owner and after having chatted to her via email it was nice to finally meet her in real life. I was then presented with my very own brand ambassador gym bag which really made me feel like one of the team! Oh and 2 little turtles who I (quite rightly) named Tina and Timmy!
The lesson ran the same as the first week because routine is key, isn’t it? William needs to learn that the pool is safe and happy and what each cue means. The only difference for this week was adding jumping our babies in the water from the side of the pool. Again, words are used to let them know what is going to happen and with a ready, steady, splash we lean them towards us and bring them down into the water:
Plenty of reassurance, repetition and of course a song (Humpty Dumpty) all builds up his confidence. He was so much happier this week with his teeth bothering him a little less and he certainly loves our teacher, Viktoria.
Viktoria explained that this week we were taking another step towards our babies getting ready for going under the water… only thing was, this week was my turn to go under! So, we ran our lesson all the same to begin with in order to stick to the same routine and then we were shown how to go under and reappear so our babies watched and understood we were going but then came back. Peek-a-boo with water.
We again did our ready, William, go and our jumping in from the side as well as encouraging them to kick and move in the water as we guided them around.
William was yet again being bothered by his teething but a bath toy to chew on came to the rescue which meant he could focus on me again as his chewing needs were sorted out. Oh and the watering can is definitely his favourite toy, I am sure he looks for it now!!
We even had more success with getting William to relax onto his back this week and the session ended with all of us feeling very chilled out– I could have easily done a few lengths myself after that, it’s just such a lovely pool.
Thoughts so far…
Well, you can probably gather that I am loving it. I love swimming anyway and always used to take Jake each week when he was a baby so it is nice to get that back again. Viktoria is a warm and understanding teacher who clearly adores the babies and they completely trust her, William will happily go to her for a swim. The pool is perfect, it is clean warm and I love the fact our lessons are only on, in public pool you would most probably have normal swimmers in there too. I just cannot wait to see how he gets on, how he will learn to go under the water and progress with his swimming.
If you would like to find out more about Turtle Tots lessons and what is available in your area please check out their website.
*We are brand ambassadors for Turtle Tots and are receiving lessons in exchange for blog posts and updates. All opinions remain my own and honest as always.
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