When I had my first son 26 years ago, I didn’t know a lot of things about babies or teaching them to swim! But one thing I did have was a love of water and 21 years of swimming, many of them competitively – under my belt. I also didn’t realise what a journey I was about to start, as it soon became apparent that my beautiful son had ‘special needs’ which included epilepsy, autism and severe learning difficulties.
Realising that my son was different from other babies, made it even more important that we do something ‘normal’ and to that end, I discovered a ‘normal’ world in the swimming pool, and we found a beautiful way of bonding as any other parent and baby can do, learning a really important skill – swimming.
My son, Russell, was a wonderful pupil and took to swimming like a duck to water – we started off in the bath – together, breast feeding and chilling out together, learning to float on his back and doing his first submersions. We soon graduated to our local pool, where as a very proud mum, I saw him at the tender age of 9 months, swim 7 metres on his back across the baby pool!
I have since gone onto have 3 other children, and with each one I have developed more techniques and gained more experience in furthering my enjoyment of teaching babies to swim, and to develop the methods which I have fine tuned prior to setting up my business in 1998.
One of my aims is to safeguard as many babies and children as possible against the dangers of drowning, and by promoting water safety in every way possible throughout my methods and also through those of my teachers who are all qualified life-savers and attend regular life-guard training sessions every 6 weeks. We have been told over the years by at least 3 parents that my methods have ‘saved their children’s lives’ through their children not panicking when they found they had fallen into a pond in their grandparents back garden.
Teaching babies to swim from a young age has many proven health benefits including advanced motor development, social skills and intelligence. Research has also shown that ‘swimming babies’ crawled late but walked early – having developed excellent muscle control. Taking babies swimming from birth is excellent for baby’s health and development and will greatly help to avoid fear of water in later life. Skin to skin contact between baby and parent also helps to strengthen this very important bond which also happens when taking your baby swimming.
Having said all of the above – teaching my babies to swim has been one of the most rewarding times of my life. The rewards have been tangible and obvious – at times frustrating, but mostly great fun sharing my love of swimming with my children knowing that I have given them a really important life-saving skill.
My passion for teaching my own children has given me the passion I now have for teaching others and for training my Teachers to carry on this work. If you would like any further information please visit our website and feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.