Tuesday, October 8, 2013

deep wa-wa

A month after swimming pool season has officially ended, and Mason still asks to "go deep wa-wa" nearly every day. I need to find a good indoor pool nearby to keep him pacified and interested in the water. I don't want to lose the comfort he's developed in the water this summer!

As a former lifeguard who's given plenty of swimming lessons, I am trying to get Mason as comfortable in the water as early in his life as possible. I remember several parents faithfully paying me each week when their children were too scared to even dip a toe in the water let alone get their faces wet. These kids were obviously not ready for lessons.

Brad and I began taking Mason underwater last July, when he was about nine months old. We made it a ritual to submerge ourselves as a family at least once during every visit to the pool. Initially shocked, Mason never coughed or cried. This past summer, we maintained the ritual, also believing it important that Mason see his parents go underwater regularly. This summer's been fun as I've pulled out some of my old pool tricks to keep Mason entertained (hand stands, flips under water, front dives, back dives, etc.) while also demonstrating that I am not afraid of the water. I can certainly tell that it's been 20 years since I used to do these (and other) tricks regularly!

In addition to dunking Mason, this summer we also tried to teach him to blow bubbles. He hasn't mastered bubble blowing, but near the end of the summer, he would put his face in the water when asked. (We'd say, "Mommy's turn, Daddy's turn, May's turn!") Daily pool exposure during our week at the beach was a real turning point. He began the week jumping into the water only if holding tightly to our fingers. By the end of the week, he was running, jumping, and plummeting underwater all on own.

I'm determined to do as much as I can to help Mason learn to swim before I pay someone else to do it. When did your child begin swimming lessons/learn to swim? What's been your experience?


Amy- Taylors East said...

We kind of did the same thing. We did a couple parent-infant classes when Maevy was real little (where they mostly worked on floating), and then did a couple sessions of swim lessons each spring before summer time. This last summer we were more hard core and she did 2 swim lesson sessions where she went every week day for 2 weeks at a time. She was really ready to swim, and at the end of the 2nd sessions, she was swimming (at 4 yrs old). I think you are on the right track. Lots of exposure is great!

KatiePerk said...

You make a great point about seeing the whole family in the water! We attempted the bubble blowing all summer, but still haven't quite gotten it down yet! She starts laughing and it cracks me up!

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

Love it! I was a life guard and swim instructor, too! Lucas took a few months of lessons when he was 3, but what really worked for him was when I taught him to float on his back and convinced him that the water would hold him up. Nathaniel is a little fish on his own. He became so brave this summer that he was even jumping into the diving well! Of course, the con of him being fearless if that he scares me!

Heather N. said...

Grant learned how to swim this summer! He turned 4 in June. He learned a lot quicker than the older two - probably because he's in the water a lot more than they were at that age. Yay for getting Mason in the water early and often! I have adult friends who don't know how to swim and aren't comfortable with their kids in or near the water. I hate it for them! :(