Monday, April 23, 2012

Water Safe

I've been taking Thomas and Josiah to swimming lessons twice weekly for the past month. The boys are always asking me to take them to our community pool, and I've always been afraid to do it: one set of eyes on three boys who can't swim...mmm, no. But there is a solution to that problem! I figured that if I could be reasonably confident in the boys' ability to not drown (or freak out and think they're drowning) in the minutes it would take me to get them out of the water, then taking them swimming could actually be a lot of fun.

So, swimming lessons.

We're working with WaterSafe Swim School. They have a very clear, very structured teaching plan that starts with survival skills. In other words, water safety starts with your toddler being ok if he falls in the pool. The first skill taught is how to float on your back. The second is how to roll over so that you're able to float on your back. After that is how to fall into the water ("Humpty Dumpty had a great FALL!") and then turn and float on your back. (See a pattern here?) :) Along the way they teach "eyes in" swimming, so that the child develops an ever increasing level of comfort with his face under water.

It is very, very different from your typical summer swimming lessons. I am incredibly impressed. Both Thomas and Josiah started out HATING it. They cried the whole time. They didn't want to put their faces in the water and I sat and watched and wondered if the trauma was worth it. Three weeks later, Thomas is enjoying every lesson.

He can "swim" (with some minor assistance) from one platform to another.

He can float on his back. He's learning how to roll from his stomach to back to stomach while swimming. The building blocks for being a strong swimmer are being carefully laid, and he's having a great time.

Josiah hasn't quite turned the corner yet; he talks excitedly about swimming lessons but cries when it is actually time to get in the water. His teacher is wonderful. She is gentle and kind and loving but doesn't let his tears get in the way of his learning.

Josiah can now float on his back unassisted,

and more importantly he can find his way into a back float from any position. See him roll?

Here is a video clip of Josiah doing "Humpty Dumpty". It is amazing to watch what he can do! And this mama is so relieved to know that if he ever needed to, Josiah knows how to "save himself" until someone can come get him.


Amber said...

Wow, that sounds great! We stopped doing summer swim lessons a few years ago because they are just a joke. Nothing more than a little pool time with a teenager who sort of tries to get them to do something, but if they don't do it or do it right, they still get the same amount of super effusive praise. And then there were the 8+ yo boys following their moms into the girls bathroom and changing room, and no one there was willing to say anything. Ugh! Modesty? What's that??

But your lessons sound great, I think it is great that everyone is willing to persist through the tears.

Christopher said...

That's pretty awesome Em! I'm glad for your kiddos! :)

sarah marie said...

I meant to comment on this a while ago when you posted it! This sounds so great... good for you and the kids for doing it. Next time we're all in northern CA, if we have a pool day at J&J's place, I bet Jonathan will be leaping into that pool without a second thought!