The last few times that we took Nate swimming, he had a bit of a meltdown and was very clingy, which is surprising because we did Waterbabies lessons with him, so anyway we thought we would try something else to help increase his confidence. We decided to the try our new local swimming pool at Wolverton, because they were running a “Toddler Splash” session, which sounded like fun.
Being a new pool the facilities were lovely, clean and modern. There were plenty of changing rooms, and even several giant family changing rooms with a baby change station. The lockers come in varying sizes including some as big as a wardrobe – no seriously! This is a nice step up from my other local pool (Middleton) where you can’t even fit your purse in their lockers.
The most impressive part of the facilities however is the baby pool. It is completely separate from the big pool, a few degrees warmer and has steps leading down, with rails to hold onto. There is a snake running along the side that sprays out water, some buckets and tumblers that intermittently spray or drop water. At one end of the pool, outside of the water are pirate themed games, all in all a lovely pool for little ones.
The toddler splash session included the addition of inflatables, balls and floats – this is what won it over for Nate – he is ball mad (well what male isn’t!) So for the first time in a while he was actually smiling and laughing in the pool, and slowly edging his way down the steps. The distraction of the toys was a good one, so I can definitely recommend that if your child/pre-schooler/toddler is having confidence issues with swimming/water. I will be looking into the toddler swimming lessons in a few months and will report back on them.
In thinking about helping him I did some research and found the following that may be helpful. Toddler swimming tips:
- Look for specific toddler and parent sessions at your local pool, as they are more likely to be fun sessions
- At this age swimming is for fun and confidence building rather than learning
- Singing songs and nursery rhymes can help, particularly ones that incorporate spinning or jumping
- Water safety is important, one method you could teach: sit down, put your hands on the side, turn over and wiggle in, hold onto the side
- Show him that it is fun and relaxing, children learn from modelling their parents, and if you feel relaxed they will pick up on that
- Let your toddler lead the way, even if it means just following them around the sides of the pool
- Laugh and smile at them every time they get their face wet as if it is the best thing in the world
If anyone lives in or near the Milton Keynes area, they run these toddler splash sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, Saturday mornings, and two mornings in the week. As well as many other sessions, including fun swims for older children and swim classes. Current pricing is £3.60 per adult and under 4s are free.