Here are several videos we took today. If you don't have time - or patience - to watch them all, just watch the first and last videos. (Since this is a family blog, grandparents, etc read this and will want to see all four I'm sure! Friends, no pressure!) The first is just a cool angle because it's under water. The last one is the one where Lilleigh turns on her own in the water! Pretty neat!
Commentary on video 4: Even though it appears that the instructor turned Lil, actually Lilleigh turned on her own, as Kristina was reaching for her. Pretty cool!
"How did you teach Lilleigh to swim?" you ask. Here's what we've been doing...
- Comfortable in the water. We sing lots of songs in the water. Songs that do not involve babies getting dunked. We sing The Wheels on the Bus, The Hokey Pokey, and several others. Really any kids song works I think.
- Holding their breath. We taught Lilleigh to hold her breath by counting "1... 2... 3" On the count of 3, I would blow in her face and put her under water. The blowing usually makes babies take a breath in because they're startled. (This wasn't really the case with Lil though.) Over time, the babies learn that "1... 2... 3" is their signal to hold their breath, and you no longer have to blow in their face when putting them under. For us, this looked like me sitting Lilleigh on the edge of the pool, singing a little song (usually Humpty Dumpty - fitting right?) and then at the "fall" part, counting and blowing in her face, as I bring her into the water. When under water, I bring her towards me, so it's like she's swimming in the water. I am holding onto her the whole time.
- Kicking. We practiced this by putting Lilleigh tummy down in the water, with her head up out of the water, on my shoulder. I'd walk backwards, so that she would be "swimming" forwards. As we moved, I'd say "kick, kick, kick" and move her legs with my hands. To move her legs, I'd have my hands on her knees, or just above on her thighs, and move them in the kicking motion. You can see her kicking in these videos. It's not that she can "swim," like most of us can, but she appears to be swimming because I gave her a push, and she's kicking also.
- Turning in the water. I described how we start out at on the edge of the pool, bring Lil into the water, and have her "swim" towards me as I hold her. This is the same thing, except after a few seconds of her being face down, I gracefully turn her so that she is floating on the water, still supported by me. Overtime, she has learned to do this on her own, as you saw in the video. The idea behind this is that if Lilleigh were ever to fall in the water, she'd know how to turn onto her back to get air - and also to float, which we'll talk about next.
- Floating. We are still working on the floating. But basically we just practice with the babies on their backs and the moms supporting their shoulders a lot. Depending on your child and their age, you may have to give them more support. Overtime though Lilleigh has become more comfortable in the water. Today I was only supporting her head as she floated! And of course, for this, like everything else, we sing songs as we do this.
Please do NOT take this blog post as a professional how-to on swimming lessons. I am NOT a professional swim instructor. This is merely what we have been doing with Lilleigh, and it has been working for us.