Last week Avi, Tucker, and Apollo participated in FREE swimming lessons.
Safety Around Water at the YMCA
Our local YMCA is giving free Safety Around Water lessons to kids ages 5-11. The best part? My three were the only ones signed up during their slot, so the teacher was able to work with each one of them individually.
Do you see Apollo, in the pool? with a complete stranger? A year ago he had so much anxiety he wouldn’t get off of my lap if we were in public and he was scared of our floor. I can not believe how much progress he has made in the last year.
Safe in the Water
I am happy to say that Avi and Tucker are both now considered safe in the water. This is a huge relief to me because I love to take my kids swimming. Neither one have had formal lessons, but could swim a bit. Having a week of lessons with an instructor has been great.
Tucker has learned to float confidently (and safely) on his back. He work on the breast stroke, freestyle and even the butterfly. He made huge progress!
Apollo Loved the Challenge of Swimming Lessons
Apollo worked so hard for his instructor. Just look at him listening intently and practicing his breathing and blowing bubbles. This is a far cry from the kid he was last year.
I didn’t say anything to his instructor about his health challenges. I was poolside for every lesson, so it didn’t seem necessary. He exerted himself and was breathing hard from his work. His instructor kept trying to get him to stop and rest because he was so out of breath but he didn’t want to rest.
[He is given clearance by his doctors to self-regulate and push himself as hard as he wants. This isn’t a safety issue, it’s just part of his unique airway.]
Avi made progress as well. She struggles with anxiety and following directions, so this was a challenge for her. I am happy to say she is a better swimmer and floater after her lessons.
It was so amazing to see Apollo stick his entire face in the water and swim (he is swimming a bit without the pool noodle, but I didn’t take my camera on the last day).
It was actually kind of funny; kind of sad. His instructor said on day two, “we are going to work on regulating that breathing!” I got a private chuckle out of that…yeah, you and all of his doctors too.
And on a more serious note, it was interesting to observe and see that he did have trouble coordinating his breathing…it made me think about how he has made his biggest strides in eating once he was in regular speech therapy in school. He was also breathing much harder than he usually does. He no longer gets completely out of breath from playing, so it was interesting to see how short of breath he got swimming.
I was able to sign Apollo up for another week of free Safety in Water classes, this time in an indoor pool. After that, I will likely sign him up for more formal (paid) lessons. He loved the swimming lessons and it will be a huge relief to me when my youngest child can swim.
Have your kids taken swimming lessons? I took them at the YMCA when I was about six…after my older brother (who didn’t know how to swim) jumped in the deep end of a pool at Disneyland and was rescued by a teenage girl. After we got home, my parents signed us all up.
Safe Water and Swimming Resources for Kids
Safety Around Water by the YMCA
The Ultimate Guide to Swimming Safety for Kids on the Mom Loves Best website.
How to Stay Safe When Swimming: Tips for Beaches, Pools, Hot Tubs, and More
My mum used to tell me the story of how she learnt how to swim. She was 12 on a camping holiday with some friends, her friends dad couldn’t believe she was 12 and couldn’t swim (as Aussies who have endless beaches, pools, rivers etc it was a bit odd) so he said don’t worry I know a sure fire way to learn to swim. And promptly picked her up and threw her in the river.
My brother and I were both total water babies, there’s a family famous photo of me at 18months running down a pier trying to get to the water. Because I especially (older brother not so much) was such an adventurous kid and a water lover my parents had me in lessons from about age 4 which is something I am very thankful for. My best friend is just now learning to swim as her 1 yr old is also having lessons and she wants to be as safe and prepared as possible.
Could Apollo becoming short of breath more just because of the difference in muscle/body use needed for swimming? Even lessons compared to slashing in a pool is very different and while it doesn’t feel high impact it takes a lot of effort, especially from muscles not used as frequently.
Well that sounds terrifying, but more than one person has that story…Yes, I think Apollo was exerting himself much more with new/different muscles. Like, he is easily able to manage running/climbing/playing right now, but the swimming is more challenging, which makes it a great choice for him right now!
So awesome that Apollo loves the lessons and is learning when he can push himself.
I was a reluctant swimmer, who finally took lessons at 12yo so that I could at least be safe in the water. I made sure my 2 kids took lessons and are confident swimmers.
Yes, it’s very excited to see him challenge himself. He is coming of out his I’m-just-trying-to-survive shell and learning new things.
All the kids have had lessons of some sort. My oldest learned from me and my husband. I was swimming as soon as I could walk and my husband was a competitive swimmer. We didn’t pay for lessons until our boys because one was overly anxious and would cling and panic(but is fine with the instructor??) and the other wants to do like his big brother. My stepdaughter was in lessons starting from a few months old in water babies.
My mom’s father tossed her in to learn how to swim then the navy gave her good form in swimming. She taught me at 2 because she was pregnant with my brother and the only cool place in all of Virginia was the pool lol
They taught my brother when he slipped away in a split second and jumped off the diving board at 3 in just a little ring floaty and landed legs up, head down!
My own dad never learned to swim beyond a doggy paddle and was panicky if he couldn’t touch. He said he never wanted us to be handicapped like that. I’m so grateful he did because we were fish and now we are raising little fish.
Our town pool is closed this year, and of course this was the year I’d planned to do lessons with my oldest three. 🙁 There’s not enough funding to fix the pool, and I have no idea if/when it will ever reopen. My husband did swim team in HS and is a good swimmer, but finding a place to teach the kids is a challenge. The Y is 45 minutes away and costs over $700/year to join, so that’s not an option either. I watched one of my sisters fall into a pool and sink to the bottom when she was 2. I’m really nervous about my kids around water, and I hope we find a doable way to teach them to swim soon.
I have some lung damage/scarring from Reactive Airway Disease when I was younger (I think they call it something different now), and I get super breathless when I swim or (try to) run.
Great to hear how well Apollo did! He’s really growing!