My son is 4.5 years old and he just recently started to swim. It’s pure joy watching him feel the freedom of holding your breath and going under water. Totally doing something that you really shouldn’t be able to do…To live, even if briefly, under water.
But his love for water came in waves…I’ll be honest, he didn’t always like it. No actually he was afraid of it for a bit there. He used to love it when he was younger, and then we moved to Hawaii. How ironic, right? (he used to have a fear of sand too when he was itty bitty back in California…THANK GOD that didn’t last long!) Perhaps he realized that we were completely surrounded by the great vast ocean and just how much more water there was within 5000 miles of us, than land. I don’t know. But he was scared and just not that into it.
We were a bit scared ourselves when this new found fear came about. We do live in Hawaii after all. And the ocean and water in general is at the core of your very existence. You live at the beach year round. And my husband surfs…and of course a surfing Dad wants his kids to surf…especially his son. So hubby was not so stoked when this distrust of water came over Cameron.
Well, it seems just like everything else in life thus far, Cameron, on his own time, has decided to like water and give swimming a chance. Yes, he’s holding his breathe, kicking, moving his arms and going from point A to point B, in the water! He enjoys “falling” (its more like throwing himself ) off the boogie board at the beach and pretending he’s a submarine, all under water. It’s so incredible!
And a tad bittersweet. I am so proud of my boy but can’t believe he’s growing up and can swim! This all happened over this past month of school vacation.
So how’d we do it?
- Grandma came for a visit and took Cam to the baby pool at her hotel every single day for a week.
- Daddy and Mommy kept it up and took Cam to the local pool and beach non-stop
- We took him to a local pirate pool and for some reason, when you are a pirate and fighting imaginary bad guys, falling in the water face first is no longer scary, you hold your breathe and voila! You can swim!
I think consistency is key – don’t do a swim class only in the summer and forget about it. Keep your kids in the water year round. Even in colder climates, maybe you can find an indoor pool. Or use the bathtub to practice bubbles and kicking.
Something else I really wanted to touch on is beach safety – teach your kids beach safety. Especially if living around the ocean or planning trips to the beach. Beach swimming is quite different than pool swimming. Yes the basic idea of holding your breath and moving your limbs is the same but the ocean is by far more erratic and unpredictable than even that one kid that keeps jumping on you in the pool (don’t cha hate that kid?!)
So my TWO rules for BEACH SAFETY to start with…
- Never turn your back on the ocean. The wave WILL topple you whether you are looking or not, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but if you are looking, you have time to brace yourself or get away
- Watch before jumping in – take time to see where the waves break (so you aren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time), see any currents that don’t look safe and anything that could pose a threat to your child’s safety, such as submerged rocks. You may not see them at first glance. Check out the water a good 10 minutes and make it a game with your kids, perhaps counting the waves as they come in or predicting when the next one wil roll in.
For more swimming fun, check out today’s momversation below. yours truly was again a guest panelist (and feel free to go leave comments at momversation saying you want me to be a regular! (if you want me to be a regular, that is ) ).