Just Dad and the little guy, time to teach him how to swim. What could go wrong? After almost 2 terms I can tell you a lot can go wrong, but both of us have come out the other side better then before.
Living on the coastline in a part of the world where summers are hot and dry learning to swim is a necessity. Not only is it a good skill to have, its great to keep active, and it also helps to cool off on a hot day. However to enjoy all the benefits, one must get through the trials of swimming lessons first.
Let me describe the situation, Wednesdays Dad has the day off to spend with the Son, Mum and Dad agree its time to start swimming lessons, and it would be a good opportunity for Dad and Son to Bond. Sounds good so far?
Trial #1: Preparation
As with any outing with a toddler, you can never pack too much. Always pack extra nappies/wipes/anything else required for a change, along with this make sure you have multiple sets of clothes. Towels are important, yes that’s plural. Snacks are also important (afterwards only, no one wants a sick toddler in the pool), swimming uses a lot of energy.
Also don’t forget about yourself, toddler swimming lessons means you are in the pool too, you need a towel, you need a change of clothes, and a snack is nice too. Always good to remember this is about them not you, so avoid the budgie smugglers, and if you’re rocking the dadbod, a rash shirt won’t go astray.
Trial #2: The Lessons
Now the fun begins, every lesson is a new adventure. Sometimes they will be happy and laughing, others they will be crying, or refusing to get back in the pool. A note for beginners, this is pretty normal, and you can guarantee every other parent in the pool has had the same experience. Don’t be ashamed by it or embarrassed, just do your best, there is always next week.
If your not sure of the songs and the activities don’t worry, they are exactly the same every week. apparently humans of all sizes learn through repetition, it only took me 2 weeks. Hot tip though, try to avoid swallowing pool water (that goes for Dad and Son), usually tears will follow and it can be hard to settle. On that note, focus on reassuring your toddler as one crying toddler can quickly multiply and the next thing you know every toddler is crying. I learnt that the hard way.
Trial #3: Afterwards
Just because your not cold doesn’t mean toddler isn’t. Focus on getting them dried and dressed first. Then they can relax (did someone say snack?), while you attempt to get dressed – don’t forget to bring your change of clothes, its embarrassing to get halfway changed then realise you forgot them. I say attempt because take too long and whoops they fell over in a puddle – remember that extra change of clothes! Don’t worry if this takes awhile at first and your the last parent left, you will get quicker as time goes on (repetition?)
Preparation – Check! This is second nature now, given our lessons are in the morning, our bag is always packed the night before when our head is clear and we are not rushing.
Lessons – Check! Yes the songs are stuck in my head but they are in my sons too, the familar sounds help reassure him and he is finally feeling comfortable in the pool.
Afterwards – Check! Well I am still the slowest, but have avoided having to get dried and dressed multiple times for a few weeks now.
While this may seem like I dread our weekly lesson, its quite the opposite. We both enjoy it now, I can see the benefits, and no matter how bad the lesson might go, I know everyone else has had the same and next week will be another lesson. Learn what you can from my experiences, but most of all enjoy them!