It is coming up to a year since we started our swimming lessons with Turtle Tots so I thought I would give you a little update on how the boys have got on, how they have progressed and what they’ve been up to.
As you know, William started first as he was chosen to be a brand ambassador for Turtle Tots. We had a term of lessons in exchange for blog posts, a video and social shares and we loved it! He took to it with ease so I decided to carry on with lessons after our ambassadorship ended.
Since then he has just come on leaps and bounds. He adores the water and is always far too eager to get in– even if it isn’t quite time for his lesson! Once in he is completely at home in the water. He has no fear, he can confidently kick his legs and move his arms forward, he isn’t fazed by getting water in his face and he loves splashing!
Each term has a different set of swimming skills to learn but of course, they are learnt through song, fun, games and with toys. The teaching is so clever. For instance, this term we have been using the song ‘there were three in a bed and the little one said roll over, roll over’ to encourage the babies to happily turn from their fronts onto their backs. We use the song ‘wind the bobbin up’ to teach them how to use their arms in swimming. Instead of ‘wind the bobbin up’ we sing ‘pull the water back, pull the water back, pull, pull, splash, splash, splash’. After 9 weeks of lessons, William proved that he could do this himself now.
Certain aspects still remain as they did from his very first lesson. We always start with our warm-up song of ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ and we always encourage the babies to put their mouths in the water to try and blow bubbles as well as getting their faces wet. This all helps to keep their confidence there.
William can also happily go under the water either by doing peek a boo with me, by swimming from the teacher over to me and even through a hoop! Yes, he may splutter a bit afterwards but there’s never tears and he always comes up which is so reassuring especially with us going on holiday.
If I compare him to Jake at that age, they are worlds apart. Jake has also always loved water but he has also had a fear of it. He hated water in his eyes, on his face and his head. He has always been scared of sinking and has always needed buoyancy aids. I can see that Turtle Tots has had such a positive effect on William and it has actually made me really sad that I didn’t go down this route earlier on with Jake.
This is why we enrolled Jake on a course too. I needed him to learn, I needed him to be far more confident in the water and I wanted him to be safe in it for the future. However, as he hadn’t ever had lessons, we had to enrol him on a toddler course to begin with.
Jake wasn’t bothered by this and he loved the lessons. He learnt to go in without armbands, he learnt that panicking didn’t help the situation and he learnt the basics of pulling the water with his ‘tiger arms’ and that gentle kicks helped him to move forward.
This class was the perfect introductory course for him and I am so glad that we chose to take this step with him. Once he completed a couple of terms, he was ready to move on to a new swim club and to a class where he would be in the water on his own, without me!
I was nervous, I didn’t think he would go for it. No Mummy, no armbands and a deep pool. Yet, he surprised me. His confidence had clearly grown more than I had realised and he remembered all of the tips from his Turtle Tots classes plus he was so much more relaxed than I had ever seen him before.
He has since learnt to accept the water a little more, he is beginning to learn that he needs to be in control of the situation and that means using his body in certain ways to try and keep himself afloat. His progress has amazed me. To go from being petrified of being let go, to being able to float on his back with nobody holding him is just brilliant.
Turtle Tots gave him those first skills and I am so grateful to them. Considering they took on a child a who was a little older, one who was quite scared and also one who was a little testing at times in classes, they did a great job in providing him with the water confidence he needed to get going.
And now we can go off on our holiday and I won’t have to worry quite so much about the boys in the sea or the pool. I know that both of them are now very used to being in the water, I know they both have new skills that they can utilise and I know they will come on even further after 2 weeks in the sun.
For us, swimming lessons have been a valuable investment and I would recommend teaching children as young as possible if you can.
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