We’ve been taking H swimming since she was a baby. She’s gained her Duckling 1, 2 and 3 badges as well as Stage 1, and is progressing well in her lessons.
Before Christmas I joined my local pool, and as she’s under five I can take her for free whenever I want, as long as it’s a weekend. So today we did just that.
She’s terrified of deep water. Anything she can’t touch the bottom in she panics, and we needed to get her to move on from it – to see it wasn’t that deep really and she can actually have good fun in it.
We swam for about twenty minutes, kicking up and down the pool before she announced she wanted Shaun and I to hold each end of a noodle/woggle so she could swim underneath it. This would mean we don’t hold on to her and she’s using no flotation devices.
And… she did just that. Swum on her front towards me, going completely underwater and doing crawl, reaching out for the side (she has goggles on), and swam on her back towards Shaun where he caught her before she reached the side, while going under the arch we’d created. She did this several times but was still worried about the water depth.
So I made up a new game. Telling H to hold her nose and take a deep breath, I was going to let her drop to the bottom of the water. When her feet touched the bottom she had to bend her knees to push herself up again, we called it ‘the rocket game’. Incredibly, that seemed to work! Within a minute or two she was demanding we do it ‘again’ to the point she wouldn’t do anything else. Afterwards she told me “the deep water isn’t so scary really mummy” which was nice to hear, very nice indeed.
She’ll still use a float until her confidence is there, but right now she’s doing me proud again, and she’s working it out on her own terms which is exactly the way our parenting seems to have gone – from doing Baby Led Weaning to how she learns at school. She wants to do the things she does and often tries beyond her comfort zone and I’m so proud of her for trying.
More often than not she’ll give up or find it too hard or just cry as “I’ve never done that before” (standing forwards in the shower – she prefers to face away from the water), but more and more she’s just getting on with it, and it’s making things so much easier, thank goodness.