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Bonding through swimming

Enrolling our baby fish in swimming lessons has always been something we knew we had to do to ensure his safety in and around water. He has been a water…

Enrolling our baby fish in swimming lessons has always been something we knew we had to do to ensure his safety in and around water. He has been a water baby since he was a little tadpole. When he became a lot more mobile, swimming lessons became more of an urgency for us.

It seemed like such a chore though, having to take time off of work, squeeze into my costume, get into the water come rain or shine, and still manage the household as if an additional hour had not been added to my schedule.

Last year with December and our beach holiday approaching I took the plunge, did my research and enrolled us in swimming lessons.

I did not realise the impact that those 30 minutes would have on us. All the “chores” of swimming were washed away during our first lesson. The chore has now become our weekly 30-minute bonding sessions where I can give my baby fish my undivided attention and just take the time to be in the moment. No distractions of cell phones, no time to think about work, and yes, the household is still running smoothly.

During those 30 minutes, it is just us (and a couple of other mommies or daddies trying to keep their kids alive, lol). It is a time that I know that my baby fish is learning a very important life skill. It is a time where we sing and play games in the water (and sing on repeat all the way home and all the next week until swimming again, lol). It is a time that forces my baby fish to face his fear of being in the “big water” and having the trust of knowing that mommy is right there with him every “dig and pull” of the way.

There is something so special about having an independent toddler “need” me again and being able to watch his confidence grow as the lesson goes by. These lessons have strengthened our bond by strengthening the trust and sense of security between us. They have taken me back to remembering how important skin to skin contact was with my new-born, and how much I loved it. They have improved how we communicate because I am now better at reading his cues.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be a stressful time where the fun fades and his fear kicks in resulting in him becoming very clingy. I just try to remind myself that this little fish has his days and that I need to stay calm and supportive, and by keeping it consistent and being his pillar of strength, I know that I am helping him develop a long-lasting love of water.

There is more…

Swim time not only builds your relationship with your child, but it also enhances, promotes and improves their visual and auditory skills, general muscle tone, respiratory function, coordination, space awareness, and bone density.

On a serious note, it is important to remember that swimming and being around water is not all fun and games, and water safety should never be taken for granted. Every child needs to know how to swim to survive in and around water. The latest statistics for drowning in South Africa shows a substantial increase, with over 600 cases reported and recorded each year. Keep in mind that a child can drown in even just 2,5cm of water.

Toddlers are the primary age group for drowning, and a lack of water knowledge often leads to a sense of fear when it comes to small children and water. Pools hold an almost magnetic attraction for children. Parents are encouraged to develop a love for water safely so that the child becomes more confident in the water and learns to respect the water. Water can be so much fun but also very dangerous. It only takes 30 seconds for a child to start losing consciousness, potentially resulting in brain damage or even death.

Water Safety points by Kate Wood:

(Owner – Little Fishes Swimming School and an incredible Baby Steps Mom)

  • Enrol your child in swimming lessons
    It is impossible to completely drown-proof an infant or toddler. However, the creation of water safety and awareness with infants/toddlers and their parents makes a profound impact when it comes to drowning prevention. Understanding how to avoid potential drown situations is far more effective in the fight against a child drowning.
  • Ensure constant supervision
    At a party, allocate a parent as a water safety person.
    Always make sure your child is being supervised by a CAPABLE adult while swimming.
  • Eliminate distractions
    Pack away your phone or computer if you’re supervising children swimming.
  • Be cautious around any body of water
    Baths, ponds, fountains, watering cans and even toilets (always put the lid down).
  • Enforce safety rules around the pool
    No running, pushing others underwater etc…
    Teach your child to call for help rather than attempt to assist someone else in the water.
  • Ensure the correct enclosure of home pools
    Fencing, pool nets or covers
  • Use a life jacket while in a boat
    Don’t allow inflatable toys or mattresses to be used instead of a life jacket.
  • If your pool has a cover, completely remove it before swimming
    This is very important. Your child may get stuck underneath.

So, if you are looking to kick start some bonding sessions or educate yourself and your very little people in the vital life skill of swimming, I would without a doubt recommend Baby Fishes. Baby Fishes is an extension of Little Fishes and has 33 years’ experience.

You can contact them on the details listed below:

Office: (084) 863 4051

Email: bedfordview@littlefishes.co.za

Website: www.littlefishes.co.za

Baby / Little Fishes Swimming School

  • Dedicated to providing the highest level of early water development
  • All instructors are qualified and register with Swimming South Africa every year.
  • Additionally, they all have current Level 1 First Aid Certification and are obliged to update their CPR qualifications and produce a Police Clearance Certificate annually.
  • Baby Fishes is sanctioned by Swim South Africa, which means that the highest level of teachings as well as facility offering is required.

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