Building water confidence

July 6, 2015

We started POD swimming when she was just six months old. She took to it like a duck to water and for several months she loved it. She even seemed to enjoy being under the water. A break (literally in my case!) changed all that and it was quite a few months before we returned to the thalassotherapy pool.

A new course teacher believed POD would be fine to pick up where she left off despite the absence. But she developed ‘the fear’ in her first lesson. We persevered for a few weeks but POD was terrified even before she entered the pool. Once in she continued to cling to the POD Father like a limpet and her screams became more intense. We were told to persevere so we did but each week was the same.

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Rather than commit to a similar course, a while later we took POD to the local swimming pool. There was a toddler session on each week and although nervous at first, POD enjoyed it. It was like a play park in water complete with a pirate ship and flumes – the latter being a personal favourite with the POD Father.

Once she’d become used to the environment, we signed her up for swimming lessons at the same complex. POD did these on her own with a group of other children while we watched from the gallery above. They taught the children to swim using floats. She missed a three weeks when she had an accident at pre-school and cut her eyelid. She was thrilled to go back but found the other children had overtaken her. Although some were older and already water confident, all were jumping in the pool. From having fun, POD suddenly didn’t want to go any more – she was scared her head might go under the water. Although she did go a few more times, fear reared its head again and we didn’t want to force her to go.

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POD was convinced her head was going to go under the water when we holidayed in Greece with Mark Warner. Although we were always with her in the pool, we bought some armbands and, as a back-up, a rubber ring to keep her safe. Even with both on, she still believed she’d go under water. It took both of us letting go for her to realise she’d float.

As well as spending time with us in the pool, she attended Mini Club for a few hours each morning while we played tennis. This childcare option (for 3 to 5 year olds) is a mix of both indoor and outdoor activities such as sailing. The latter saw her wear a Konfidence jacket in the pool which she absolutely loved. The combination of these floatation aids made a huge difference to POD and there was a notable improvement in her water confidence.

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Last week we were in Corsica with Mark Warner. Her outdoor exploits with Mini Club saw her back in a Konfidence jacket and with us she donned the armbands and rubber ring she had in Greece. Personally I’ve never been a fan of rubber rings but POD has been loathe to go in the pool without it. Thankfully though she kept her armbands firmly in place.

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There was lots of fun to be had in the pool and POD had the most wonderful time with all the other children – providing she didn’t get splashed in the face! Many were much more confident than her in the water with several already swimming under the water.

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POD was happy just to float about and play with the toys in the pool. You could sense she wanted to be more involved but she refused to take off her rubber ring which made showing her how to swim quite hard.

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On the last day of the holiday there was much fooling around in the pool. POD was being pulled around by her rubber ring which she found highly entertaining and then other children asked to borrow it. Finally it was off! She knows she needs to kick her legs but up to this point, she’s not really known what to do with her arms. With no rubber ring in sight she was able to give it a go – with goggles obviously! The pool was especially shallow so she walked a fair amount but then something amazing happened.

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She swam from the middle of the pool to the side all on her own! I only caught the last 4 seconds as I was too busy watching but this is the best bit of video footage. Ever.

Given how terrified she once was, words cannot express how proud we are of her. She swam all by herself! Yes she was wearing armbands but she has to start somewhere and that expression is priceless!

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Linking up with #whatsthestory here on PODcast, #magicmoments and #LoudnProud

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Mama Owl

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  • Sara | mumturnedmom July 6, 2015 at 1:57 am

    How fabulous Charly! Swimming is such a big thing, and it’s so wonderful when they get it and start swimming independently. Look at that face, says it all, doesn’t it 🙂

  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill July 6, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Wow- you must be so proud of her! She persisted, despite setbacks and then she did it! Swimming is such an important life skill to have, I’m delighted that you caught the moment your daughter embarked upon her solo swimming abilities on camera!
    PS) I would love to feature this post in the next BritMums Video Round-up as it contains video. I am the Editor of this monthly round-up!

  • Coombemill July 6, 2015 at 8:44 am

    A real water babe now, wonderful photos of her and what a fab trip it looked.

  • All about a Mummy July 6, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Fantastic progress! Our second is much more reluctant of the water than our first who I’d actually like to have a bit more fear/respect of the water.

  • Susie Dove July 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Well done POD – now that she’s conquered her fear there will be no stopping her!

  • Sarah Bailey July 6, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Well done POD! I bet there will be no stopping her now. x

  • Sonia July 6, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Awww bless her! Love her expression in that last photo!!! Well done 🙂

  • Muslim Mummy July 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Aww so pleased she has got her confidence back. I keep thinking to take my youngest swimming!

  • Louise Fairweather July 6, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Oh how lovely. Middle man is starting to enjoy the water after a near drowning accident a couple of years ago on holiday – it is so lovely to watch x

  • The Mummy Diary July 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    It’s amazing how they transform from being scared to being so confident in such a short space of time, I took my two a few months back and my daughter who was like a limpet when we got there but was jumping in from the side after 45 minutes! POD looks like she’s having so much fun which is great, confidence in water is so important, now I must phone my local pool for the kids. Thank you for linking up to #magicmoments

  • Kerri-Ann July 6, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Such lovely pictures, I am so glad she is getting her confidence back. Have you tried the float suits or a swim fin? #MagicMoments x

  • Sarah Ebner July 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    So glad she got her confidence back – must have been pretty stressful for a while there. She looks so happy in these pics – lovely.

  • Jen aka Muminthemadhouse July 6, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    How wonderful. I think confidence is the key and it isn’t something that comes naturally for all kids. I am very lucky that my boys have been little fish since 3 weeks old and could both swim 25 meters before they turned three, however, I accept that was luck! It is such a great feeling when our children accomplish something. It just clicks with them and then there is no holding them back. The pictures and the video is ace.

  • Joanne July 6, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Charlie and Olive are water babies and live swimming and have weekly lessons. Megan on the other hand isn’t as interested and finds swimming a struggle, she can be fearful of “letting go” but I figure as long as she’s confident to be in water and feels safe it doesn’t really matter how well she swims. Well done POD she’s done really well x

  • Ninjacat July 6, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Wonderful !
    I wish I had that confidence

  • sam fernley July 6, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    That is brilliant! How proud you must be and how lovely POD’s smiley face is. My son loves the water at the moment, just paddling, but we have had a new leisure centre open so I’m hoping to try him swimming again.

  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure July 6, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    POD sounds so much like Dylan – if you push him when he isn’t ready it is like taking 5 steps backwards, and we are struggling with water confidence. You have given me hope that we will get there eventually, but he doesn’t like it when things are ‘too splashy’. I am going to persevere as we live too close to the sea not to teach him to swim

  • Mums do travel July 7, 2015 at 8:47 am

    That’s fantastic! You must be so proud of her!

  • Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One July 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I am so pleased for POD and for her Mummy. I know just how hard it can be to overcome the fear and she has done brilliantly. It’s a memory you will have forever now and I hope it gives her the confidence to try again. Does she have a woggle? Can really recommend one if she doesn’t. So pleased for you xx

  • Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer July 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    So proud to have witnessed this moment and she has come a very long way! These roads can often be bumpy and bearing in mind she’s still very young – it’s extra amazing :)) XX

  • Rachel July 7, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Amazing! I am sure you were so proud to see how far she has come, bless her x

  • Michelle Twin Mum July 7, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Ahh she does look like she was having lots of fun. It is heard when they get fearful, mine go through these stages too. Mich x

  • Kara July 8, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Oh bless her, she looks so proud of herself. Mine have always had lessons and Eliza is brilliant at swimming but she had a new teacher briefly when her normal one had car accident and she made her jump in the deep end – for the last two months she screams when she gets past a certain part in the pool even though she can swim. I am hoping we crack it soon as it is really frustrating especially as we know she can do it

  • Sarah MumofThree World July 9, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    That is amazing! No wonder you’re proud. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a newly-confident POD.
    (And that expression is priceless!)

  • Suzanne July 9, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Ah she looks chuffed to bits Charly and so she should be! This is such a milestone in any child’s life. Well done POD 🙂 x

  • VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood July 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Well done to Pod for overcoming her fears. Family poolside holidays have helped my little boy as well x

  • Sam July 9, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Oh bless her! It is such a proud moment when your child finally gets that confidence and love for the challenge of it all. X

  • Ojo Henley July 11, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Oh, well done POD! She looks so happy x

  • Mama OWL Blog | Jooleroo July 13, 2015 at 9:34 am

    So proud of POD, she is amazing! What a brave girl. Go, little fishy! Thank you for linking up with #loudnproud xx

  • mama syder July 13, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Oh bless her, great progress, bet you were beaming! x

  • Emma T July 17, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Gorgeous photo at the end – that smile and delight!

    Maybe that will be the confidence booster she needs to give it more of a go.

    N had a year of water wobbles with Water Babies. We stopped for a term after it just went on too long (he went from ambivalent as a baby, to liking it, then hating it as soon as he was standing and cruising out of the water – happens alot, although not usually for as long. Then went back, and last lesson of the term something clicked, and he loved it (then went through another moaning phase. Thankfully he then went back to enjoying the water but wanting to do things on his terms, so we were pretty much the only child in his class on graduation to not be able to do 10 metres without any swim aids.

    Now he’s in normal children’s swimming lessons at the same pool. He’s wearing a swim belt for the first time and that’s really helped give him confidence. He loves his lessons, joins in everything asked, and although I doubt very much that he can swim any distance without the belt on, it’s just great that he’s safe in the pool, can get in and out ok, can jump in, etc and I’m sure it won’t be long before he can swim without his aid. I just need to take him swimming over the summer break now!

  • Ickle Pickle July 17, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Aaww bless her – well done! I love your photos, especially the last one. Kaz x

  • Nayna Kanabar August 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Its great that she has ovecome her fear and doing so well.

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