A run-through of our second toddler swimming lesson. For me the most interesting part was swimming up to the surface to hold onto the side of the pool. It was a busy lesson, quite a contrast to last week when we thought we may be the only ones attending.
There was a full class this morning, about 6 of us in all. During the baby swimming lessons we used to start off with 1. bouncing around, 2. splishing and splashing, followed by 3. 'name .. ready .. go .. ' and a face splash. We did roughly the same thing at the start of each lesson no matter which instructor was taking the class.
During these Toddler swimming lessons we start with 1. 'if you're happy and you know it' where the parents move in a big circle holding their toddler facing the centre where the instructor sings the song and makes the actions. The toddlers join in with the actions (clap your hands, wave your hands, splash your hands).
Following this comes 2. Swim with the instructor, here the parents are still in a circle holding their toddler facing the centre of the circle. Each baby is taken in turn by the instructor for a swim around the circle to meet all the other toddlers in the class. After this the instructor performs a '1 2 3 swim' to swim them back to you, and then gives them a high 5.
I know I'm repeating myself when I say that you can check back on our previous toddler or baby swimming articles on the site for more information. I have to keep giving that advice out, because this may be the first article you have found. So you may not know what a '1 2 3 swim' is for example. On the other hand I can't keep explaining techniques and routines that I've already covered in previous articles. That would be boring and repetitive for those who are following the articles in order.
We were each given a ball that we chased around for a while. Then one by one we did the following. The instructor sat on the side of the pool, we handed her the ball which she threw out quite far. We then passed our toddlers over to sit on her knee and said 'name ... ready ... splash ...' after which she launched the toddler into the pool. The parent retrieved their toddler and immediately got into side holding swim position, moving towards the ball. Before we reached the ball we said 'name ... ready ... go ...' and submerged our toddler under the water, bringing them back up to retrieve the ball.
We had done all the individual steps before, but never all together in one routine. We did the whole thing twice each. As is the norm now, all the toddlers managed this without and issues.
Next we did 3 humpty dumpties, the same as last week with widths of the pool in-between. After the first we did bouncing, after the second we did splishing and splashing, and after the third we did side holding swim position with a 'hold-on' at the end of the width.
The most memorable part of the lesson came next. We did almost a width in side holding swim position, but at about 2 meters or 6 feet away from the side of the pool we said 'name ... ready ... go ...' and submerged our babies moving them towards the side of the pool. When we reached the side of the pool (toddler still underwater) we flipped them from horizontal to vertical and then let go while repeating the command 'hold on'.
To be honest I couldn't see this working, but when I flipped Amélie to the vertical position and let go she put her arms above her head and floated up to the surface. Before I knew it she had one hand on the rail and was pulling herself up. She could have probably done the whole thing alone, but I took her other hand and put it on the rail for her.
I wouldn't rely on it but I'm pretty sure that if Amélie fell into a swimming pool by accident she would swim to the side and hold on. This is at under 14 months old, I wonder what she will be capable of by the time she is 18 months old?
It was time for the 'holiday swim' now and I misunderstood the instructions. We were told to set off from one end of the pool, take them under, and then swim right to the bottom with them. I was first to go and dived to the bottom of the pool with Amélie riding on my back. By bottom I mean the floor of the pool. The instructor had meant for us to swim to the other end of the pool! I'd taken 'bottom' to mean the floor of the pool rather than the other end of the pool.
So what we were supposed to do was 1 full length of swimming with our toddlers riding on our backs, briefly swimming underwater for a short spell at the beginning of the swim. Those of you who are familiar with the 'holiday swim' may wonder why the photo doesn't depict the correct form. This was taken after I'd mistakenly dived down to the very bottom of the pool, Amélie had let go of me and swum to the surface. I'd realised she'd fallen off so came up and turned around to retrieve her. I'd expected her to be deep in the water but as you can see she had managed to swim to the surface. The photo was taken an instant after I had turned around to get her, I'd not even had time to get my other hand to her.
The woggles came out next for a woggle swim and horsey horsey race. The picture shows this morning's woggle swim. The woggle is ideal because your toddler knows they are alone in the water with the woggle. This builds confidence and independence, and they get real feedback from their paddling and leg kicking.
This morning as we were waiting around after my botched 'holiday swim' Amélie was getting restless. I stuck my arm out straight and she put her arms over it, before I knew it we were doing an impromptu woggle swim using my arm as a woggle. I was only supporting her with that one arm and she was horizontal and kicking her legs just like the woggle swim. It's not something that we were taught to do but you may want to have a go anyway. Especially if you can't get hold of a woggle!
We finished up with the big float and did 3 'wibble wobble's with legs facing in and 3 'row row row your boat's with legs facing out. Followed by walking over and off the float. The picture is of Amélie as she just stepped off the float and is splashing down into the water. Not sure what's going on with my lobster claw hand though, perhaps a trick of the light!
At the end we did back floating and then the instructor gave all the kids a high 5. Amélie as per usual was bemused as we don't do that at home. Another week, another lesson, all being well we will post another article next Monday.