One hundred swimming lessons. One hundred, and still she could not comfortably put her head under water let alone swim. Lessons at the local rec center just did not do the job for us. When we tried one more time last summer, our boy was pulled under water by a teenage instructor with no warning whatsoever. He was afraid of the pool for the rest of the summer months.
I had known about survival swimming for at least a year. A friend told me about it, and she was very positive. I watched videos online and did the math on cost and time investment. How would we be able to afford this? How were we going to find the time to drive back and forth to another town, every single day? But first and foremost, how was this not going to traumatize my kids?
We hardly ever let our babies cry. We practice extended breastfeeding, co-sleep with our babies and carry them in all sorts of carriers. Our parenting style turned out to be what some call attachment parenting. Not that we planned to parent like this, it sort of happened.
This is where my hesitation to start survival swimming came from. The kids are pretty much forced to swim? They cry? They even scream? How is my heart going to handle that? And how are the children ever going to love the water?
But after another summer of failed ‘regular’ lessons we made up our mind. We were not in the position to ignore the importance of swimming, or to postpone proper lessons for whatever reason. With three kids we now were outnumbered, and we had already experienced that two of them were adventurous enough to get in trouble sooner or later. Also, the argument that children can handle 10 minutes of crying made a lot of sense to me. Partly because it made me realize I too can handle 10 minutes of crying children.
From crying to confidence
That first day, all of us went to Longmont. We were determined to be successful, and to be honest, time flew by. There was screaming indeed, but there also was our oldest daughter who learned more in her first lesson at Swim Float Swim than she had accomplished in one hundred rec center classes. Our son, who tends to be rather stubborn and who we feared would scream through six weeks of lessons, surprisingly told his instructor on day three that he did not need to cry. And although the youngest, who was learning to turn over onto her back and float at ten months old, was somewhat challenging, she accomplished this pretty easily as well.
Of course we did bribe the kids with ice cream, a trip to the dollar store and what all not, but hey you have to do what you have to do. In the second week there was no need for such things.
The kids were learning safety skills, tested with diapers, boots and even with a snow suit on to be safe if they would accidently take a plunge. But most importantly, I could see their confidence grow every day and it was showing way beyond the swimming pool.
We are so happy that our kids learned to swim so well at Swim Float Swim in Longmont, Colorado! Now that we are traveling, we swim as much as we can fit in. This way the children keep up their skills and even improve. Besides the hugely important element of safety, one of the best things is how happy they are in the water. Happy, comfortable AND capable.
Geplaatst door Earth Nomads op Maandag 19 februari 2018
Fast-forwarding a bit, today we have three happy swimmers. The youngest one went through another series of intense private lessons after she started walking, and could really learn to swim beyond just floating. It is pretty awesome to see a baby be capable and swim herself to safety. To be honest, these skills don’t last if you don’t practice. The older two are good swimmers and improving as we keep at it. The little one gains more confidence because we keep swimming, but I am sure she would lose her skills if we would not get her in the water regularly. When they are so small, their body changes rapidly and their brains are easily overwritten. Therefore we have taken it upon ourselves to consistently take them to lessons when we are in Colorado, and practice on our own when we are traveling. So far it is working out well. We have reached the point where our kids want to swim every day, and we have to deal with a crying toddler when it is time to leave. That kind of unhappiness is manageable.