It’s time for a little update on how Violet is getting along with her swimming lessons! If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know Violet is a TOTAL water baby. Although she loves bath time, water sensory play and her paddling pool – it’s clear to see her favourite time of the week is her Sunday afternoon Water Babies class, she is just in her element! She is now on Chapter 5 and doing really well, but today I’m going to be writing a little update on how she got on through chapters 3 & 4.
(If this is the first in my Waterbabies series that you’ve read, make sure you go back and read our Chapter 1 (getting started!) post, Chapter 2 review and our behind the scenes at our underwater photo shoot post & video first!)
So, for Chapter Three I was in the early stages of pregnancy and the thought of wrangling into my swimsuit in the hottest changing room ever filled me with vomitous dread, so at this point V took over going into the pool with Violet for her lessons. I was bumped down to sitting on the sidelines, which at first I felt sad about as I loved the lessons as much as Violet, but actually sitting poolside gives you a different perspective on the lesson and it’s lovely to be able to watch all the little ones reactions and the pool is small and intimate enough to feel like you are included too, as Violet would always give me a little wave and smile as she went past too.
As with all the Water babies chapters, it’s progressive learning that builds upon what your little one can already do and is familiar with. As it’s a gentle progression, if the babies are not sure in the water or start to cry, they are never pushed into doing something new and given lots of positive encouragement along the way which is really reassuring. Each lesson builds upon and adds new skills as you go along. Chapter 3 brought in some new songs, activities and equipment too!
Some of the new skills to be introduced in Chapter 3 were the addition of ‘Tiger Arms’ – this gets little ones arms moving in a ‘front crawl’ motion as well as shouting a big tiger ‘ROAR’ which Violet loves and does at home too. This also gives them the first sticker for the Chapter in their Water babies story book, which Violet certainly understood a lot more this time round and is always a nice touch to flick through the book and talk about the lessons back at home too.
Chapter 3 seemed to become so much more interactive, with the little ones interacting not just with their parent but each other too, holding out mirrors for each other and copying what each other do in the water.
Water Babies classes are not just about songs and fun in the water, but each lesson builds upon safety skills too. Chapter 3 saw the introduction of a mat in the water, which the little ones all had fun sitting on the mat, singing ‘Wibble Wobble, Jelly on a plate‘ and splashing into the water. Safety skills also include learning to ‘Monkey Monkey’ which involves moving along the rail at the side of the pool to the left/right, which builds upon the skill to ‘Hold On’ that the little ones learn in Chapters 1 & 2.
Finally to qualify for their final sticker of the chapter, Violet did her first dive from the side of the pool too!
And here is the proud moment she got her Chapter 3 badge (which apparently is super tasty as well!)
Fast forward and we are on Chapter Four already – where did the time go?! I love looking back over Violet’s swimming photos as they are also a real milestone on how much she’s grown and changed. Suddenly from around Chapter 4 onwards Violet was no longer a baby but a fully fledged toddler! This term she’s really got to know the other babies in her class and counts them as friends, shouting a big ‘HIYA’ and a wave when she sees them!
Chapter 4 saw Violet learning even more independence in the water. The chapter starts off with a totally new warm up song, which is a round up of a few different skills they’ve learned by this point and an underwater dip too! Felt strange at first to start the lesson in a different way, but everyone soon got the hang of things.
One of the biggest skills they learn in Chapter 4 is the 1-2-3 swim, where Violet was actually given the chance to swim completely on her own without support! Sounds terrifying, but it’s just a short distance and she’s actually really good at it and has started to kick her legs independently, plus she does the cutest ‘high fives’ (usually just holding one finger up) with her teacher Mel afterwards too.
Again, more fun songs and activities are thrown into the mix – songs like ‘Dingle Dangle Scarecrow’ (which is another way to get them on their backs) and ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’ on the mat, where they learn to fall backwards into the water too!
So, as you can see Violet is off to a flying start with learning to swim. I can’t believe for only 16 months old she is swimming for a short distance underwater independently, diving off the side of the pool and able to kick up to the surface and hold onto the rail on her own – such important skills I’m so pleased we’ve managed to teach her already. She also LOVES water, she is at her happiest in the bath with having her hair/face washed. The other day she slipped in the bath and dunked her head completely under the water – I went to grab her but she just popped up and laughed!
Violet is now mid-way through Chapter 5 and booked into Chapter 6 for the Autumn term too, so we are looking forward to seeing what new skills she’ll be learning then, plus she’ll be meeting her new teacher Toni, as lovely Mel is off on maternity leave too. Our Water Babies journey will also start all over again as we plan to start Chapter 1 with the new baby when she’s about 10-12 weeks too (like we did with Violet), I can’t wait! ?