My sister and I practically grew up in the water! We started swimming lessons before we could walk and I went all the way through the levels to get my lifeguard. I actually had to take "Jr Lifeguard" three times before I was old enough to take the regular lifeguard course. Although I don't think it's necessary for everyone to be that proficient and confident in the water, I do think it's a simple issue of common sense to at least have minimal swimming abilities for safety sake. Being able to swim or treadwater for a small amount of time could mean the difference between life and death in a water related accident, and I think it's incredibly important to teach our children not to be afraid of the water because fear will drown you faster than anything.
For that reason we've started taking the boy-o swimming. His first swimming trip was around 6 months old and he wasn't really sure what to think about it all. We've been a few times since then and he's gotten progressively more comfortable with it all.
We decided that we wanted to make swimming a regular thing though, and the best way to make that happen was to sign up for one of the tots and parents classes. So Hubby and the boy-o have swimming class on Saturday afternoons for the next several weeks at our local community center pool. It gives the two of them some time to bond and build trust and it's helping Peter become more familiar and comfortable in the water so that when he gets a little older he won't be scared of the water when it comes time to learn how to swim.
So, what happens at a tots swimming class anyway? Well, the parents bob the babies up and down in the water, lie them on their backs and float them around, lie them on their tummies (face out of the water) and float them around, they use noodles and flutter boards as floating devices, and of course, they get dunked! The boy-o was dunked for the first time on Saturday and although he didn't scream about it afterwards, he was definitely sulking and whining about it for a while. He's getting so much better though, and I'm so glad that we decided to sign him up early and get him used to the water while he's still young.