Recently I was lucky enough to be asked if Isla and I would like to take a swimming course with Anne Hawley of Swim Baby Swim. Well, I jumped at the chance because Isla really is a little water baby. She absolutely loves the pool and I knew that this was an opportunity too good to miss!
I will be reviewing the course as it goes on over 6 weeks and I'm so pleased to say that lesson 1 went brilliantly!
Anne Hawley is widely recognised as the pioneer and expert of infant swimming and has been in the profession since 1974. Her reputation and lifelong commitment to safely swimming infants has resulted in her distinct, innovative and unique method of swimming babies being copied all over the world.
Anne teaches at locations across London, Surrey and West Sussex. Our lesson took place in Chessington, Surrey which was the most convenient for us and the pool was within a hotel health club, so was really clean, with good facilities and quite a calm setting. The lessons are 30 minutes in length.
We got in the car on Sunday morning, slightly bleary eyed but looking forward to our new weekend activity. Once we were changed and in our cossies, we met Anne and started the lesson. We were in a small group with 3 other children. The exercises we did help to build confidence in the water and ultimately independence.
Isla had fun with the floats, body surfing up and down the pool. I also swam the length of the pool with Anne holding Isla on my back, which I think she found amusing, like I was her own personal dolphin. The kids were also encouraged to grip hold of the side on their own. Isla proved that she doesn't mind getting water all over her face, when it was sprinkled over her and finally the most nail biting part from my point of view was when she was submerged. It was Mummy that needed to be brave on that occasion. Anne talked us through what we were going to do. I was to lift Isla up in the air twice, smiling at her the whole time and then on the third lift bring her down just under the surface of the water. I was to then slowly bring her back out of the water. I did exactly as I was told until the part when I had to bring Isla back out of the water and I did what Anne said most parents do the first time they do the exercise, which was panic slightly and bring her out quick! She made a fuss for about 10 seconds and then as soon as she saw a toy in the water was completely fine again. I'm resolved that Mummy will do better next time.
Isla absolutely loved every minute of the lesson and so did I. We hadn't realised that Hubbie could join us in the pool too, so this Sunday he will be bringing his trunks and sharing in the experience. I'm a firm believer that learning to swim is imperative in childhood and from my conversation with Anne, if children are taught to swim from birth they can even be swimming at least 5 metres independently before their 1st birthday! Imagine that? A baby could be swimming before taking their first steps. My Dad took me for swimming lessons when I was a little girl and our plan is to do the same for our little ones.
I'll keep you updated on how our lessons go, I left the pool on Sunday feeling like we'd had a really great bonding session and couldn't wait to get to Isla's Nanny and Granddad's to tell them all about it. To be continued...
For more details on Anne Hawley and Swim Baby Swim, go to:
Isla and I are taking part in the lessons as a trial and they have been provided free of charge for the purposes of the review.